Open Vein of Guatemala – Goldcorp Canada Marlin Mine

Panaramic view of Goldcorps Marlin Mine

Panaramic view of Goldcorp Marlin Mine 1

View of Marlin one

View of Goldcorp Marlin Mine curtesy of Canada

This is a special presentation brought to you by a special trip organized through Proyecto Linguistico Quetzaltenango.  The following videos represent a part of the story of the Guatemalan people of San Miguel Ixtuacan who were affected by the Marlin Mine in the area owned by a Canadian Company.  It is an eye-opening experience to the attrocities that are these peoples daily reality. Im not going to write much this post except for a little background information.  Id rather let the video speak for itself – and speak to you directly.  I hope these stories are as moving to you as they are to me, and a special thanks for all of you that supported this trip and made this possible.  I only hope that things that we learned that day and moved you in that moment, move you to make some kind of action against such globalization.  With voices united a lot more can be possible.


Although, mining has historically been limited in Guatemala due to the long civil war.  Canada and Canadian owned INCO moved quickly to get their foot in the door during the worst parts of the civil war in the 80s (I described their involvement in my first post).  With the Peace Accords of 1996 came sweeping changes for privitization of land and relaxed mining and environmental regulations that swept away the hopes of the revolution for land distribution, poverty alleviation, and social programs.  The changes strongly encouraged exploitative mining industries in the country by slashing the royalties paid by foreign companies from 6% to 1% of their profits.  The latest information coming from Guatemala’s Ministry of Energy and Mining states that in 2007, there were 322 permits given for mineral mining concentrated in the mountainous areas of four departments in Guatemala.  Places where the majority of the people are poor, indigenous, with the least amount of access to formal education, health care, or other fundamental basic rights enshrined by the UN, this is where the majority of the resistance has been gaining strength and where social protests have reached national attention.  Now it is time to increase that attention internationally,  because what is happening in Guatemala, is an attrocity to human rights and just a glimpse of the reality of what is happening throughout Latin America in the name of Free Trade.  A blatant disregard for life, and the wilful contamination of water resources, expropriation of land, and direct threats and assasinations to key leaders of resistance.  Unfortunately Canadian companies represent 80% of land concessions made for mining operations in Guatemala currently.  As well, due to a favourable mining laws, lax environmental organizations, overseas money laundering schemes, and perhaps a more favourable international reputation than, lets say… the US, upwards of 70-75% of multinational mining companies are now registered in Canada through the stock exchanges of Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Please read a summary provided by McGill Research Group Investigating Canadian Mining in Latin America.  Their description of what is happening in Guatemala is very well researched, factual, and briefly summarized.  Please take a look before heading into the videos.  It will be very helpful, if you have no background understanding of such mining issues.

Marlin Mine Description of Goldcorp Inc activities


The first two videos are being given at the sites of the Marlin Mine with our guide from the organization ADISMI



The third video is an empassioned talk with a Guatemalan woman who was attacked as a result of community politics and her battle to protect her land from the Company.


Thanks for the excellent translation services of the students, paticularly Lena.  As well, excuse some of the faulty camera skills I have.  I am no expert.


For more information on Canadian International mining activities in Guatemala or throughout Latin America, check out McGill Research Group Investigating Canadian Mining in Latin America and check out COUNTRY PROFILES

 McGill Research Group of Canadian Mining in Latin America


For more Information on Canadas violations of human rights due to mining in Guatemala, check out Rights Action, and if you are compelled to, please get involved or at least sign a petition.

Rights Action – Guatemala

The harsh reality is that if you are a Canadian, unaware of the reality of mining in your country or overseas and its harsh tactics of reppression, violence, threats to life and the environment, you are contributing to these international companies directly solely by being associated with a Canadian bank (even if it is a credit union).  Your money finds its way into investments that directly aid companies like Goldcorp.  This is especially true if you are the owner of mutual funds, have some money being paid into your Pension.  Your Pensions invest heavily in these companies.  For more information on this reality, read about the Money Thread, and learn how to stop it!

The Money Thread – The Blue Planet Project

The Music of Resistance

Heres a video of my favourite hip hop and spoken word artist Ian Kamau.  It is a reminder that many of us although from different class systems, can often feel powerless, either due to economic poverty or a poverty of spirit.  It seems fitting in a situation like this, where when people learn about the reality of the situation, feel powerless to do anything.  This felt like the self-fulfilling prophecy of my upbringing.  Hopefully it provides some inspiration your way, that something can be done.  If you like his work, be sure to check out his spoken word work also.  I believe some of his albums are available on bandcamp for almost nothing.

Ana Tijoux shows the impact of the Shock Doctrine to push through privatization during a perceived crisis usually accompanied by state violence.  This seems very fitting for Guatemala where the current government is trying to push through privatization of water, electricity, and health care.  A Very well done video.  Inspirational to the student protests of Chile.  This is what we need too!

For those unfamiliar with the concept of the Shock doctrine.  This short video by Naomi Klein illustrates clearly the use of state terror on a national and global scale to push through neo-liberalization and free trade programs. Here is a quick 5 minute video that summarizes her ideas.

Here is a movie about the Marlin Mine called “El Oro o la vida”  It provides some excellent background on the issue of gold mining, with emphasis on this case as well.  It is in spanish with english subtitles.

And finally, a poem I wrote.  A small part of my thoughts and reflections that I wanted to share with you all.


Inside the creation of a mother

A memory game – and life that was lost becomes the consequence of memory loss.

The powerful imagery of classism repeats itself

A lesson of memory and memory lost

One overcomes the “other” by consequently being

From outside the lines drawn upon them


Their bodies being the canvas for the colonizer

Painted in vibrant colours, yet reduced to simplicity

A beauty of nature that naturally couldn’t actualize itself

War needed to remake what couldn’t be done “naturally”


Sometimes scars were scored across their chests

Eyes branded, hair scalped for cultural currency

demarcating the reconstruction of a pliable mold

What couldn’t be accepted would naturally then become sold


Eyes rebranded the colour blue initiating another interpretation of identity

People stripped of their clothing, invaded through holy water

Sins committed in the noblest of principles

To brighten or lighten the canvas – purify the body

Like water cleansed with chemical civility


Flushing the complex chaotic intrecate interconnected rivers

Oceans and skies from their relationships of community, clan and nation

Thousands of years of memory protected through birthright

A mother’s sacred ability to recreate life – the birthplace of

human ingenuity, human creativity – suddenly the site of war


The umbilical cord of life’s sacred balance cut off

the bodies will no longer produce – though they can be

Remolded, Blued, Lightened

Perfected, Blond, Delicate

Dependent, Fragile, Complascent


Consumerism molds over the scars, the wounds

That continue to bleed, the screams cry out as

the body of history’s fragile mask  cracks

under the whip of violence – the art

reflecting the thoughts of a civilization lost!


A state of feeling distraught overcomes me

Overwhelmed simultaneously by fear and guilt

Guilt of not helping enough

And fear of not being able to control



Pain and sorrow dropped in torrential downpours

That now seep into the leaves and bark of trees

The water clings to every leaf

Almost like a desire to grow, flourish, be nourished

Love – a desire to absorb and give more life

Unleashing some kind of unconscious energy

A knowledge bred in the womb

The genealogy of beauty, of love!


My deepest seated fears remain that I can’t give all that’s required

I can give all my money away to become destitute

But if humankind requires a profound love beyond the material

There is so much more beyond I – a collective ability to go beyond

Beyond Nationhood and individual identity, go beyond borders and

Chains of Isolation, Expropriation, Dislocation, Discrimination

Where collective eyes regain the knowledge of their roots

That sees freedom from inside a space larger than where we began




2 thoughts on “Open Vein of Guatemala – Goldcorp Canada Marlin Mine

  1. wow, Sol, such heart-wrenching, complex yet delicate compassion and thoughts in your creative piece. The videos are wonderful in helping the ignorant moi understand the deep-rooted issue of mining and exploitation. This was weird, but I somehow could not get onto the rights action website. It kept saying connection problem although I can browse other websites and I’m writing to you perfectly fine. I’ll try the website again later.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you like it Vanice, and glad you didnt find it too depressing. I was worried It might be too overwhelming. Glad you got a chance to listen to the stories. Yes, unfortunately with our country´s current free trade agreements, many of these agreements leave us in the dark about the negative consequences and our own country’s dirty hands. I can send you another link directly for the Rights Action website and hopefully that will work. Not currently aware of any Japanese censorship. What you are experiencing sounds like a mainland China problem.


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