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Security & Strategic Review - December 2021

GUATEMALA: Stage of siege declared over mining unrest

Human rights groups have recently condemned the excessive use of force against indigenous protesters and journalists in Guatemala’s El Estor municipality, Izabal department. The concerns follow President Alejandro Giammattei’s declaration on 23 October of a 30-day state of siege in El Estor, which allows for a military deployment and restricts constitutional guarantees. This followed protests staged by indigenous groups against the Fénix nickel mine, which, despite a constitutional court (CC) ruling suspending its operations last year, has continued to operate, according to these groups. The government’s response has subjected it to familiar complaints of criminalising public protest and protecting powerful mining interests.

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