Place: Marlin Mine, Nueva Esperanza, Guatemala
Recorded and translated by Lena Dorfschmidt and Justin Shenk
Original Language: Spanish
She says, “We feel sorry, it makes us sad, it gives us pain, because, look, this street, that is the way they have built […] to go and take the gold somewhere else, to get it from there and take it with them. […] The person that lives there in that house is the person that wanted to cut off my head. First of all because I defended my land. They all sold their land already. But for me, I will never sell my land, because my land serves me to feed my animals. See, my animals are all fine. Because I hold on to my land,Ó she says, “because I will never sell.”
“[…] I am a little sad, because I am not feeling very well. See how things are… It doesn’t look nice. That’s why I am always a little sad. Earlier it wasn’t like that. Why, I say, did the people sell their land? Why? The people want to come. […] So I am thinking, it was my grandfather who left me this land, so selling it – never. No way. And now the company didn’t even leave me my work. Because I don’t want to sell my land. They told me already, “Oh, why don’t you just die” […]. Because it is one person that keeps standing, and doesn’t want to sell her land. […] God, maybe people are saying [things], but God knows that I didn’t do any harm. I don’t want to sell my land, because, where should I go, if I leave my land, where should I go. Where should I go with all my animals. I am always a little sad… it is hard to get over there where I have land. It is hard. Tomorrow I will go. But it is hard to go with the [animals]. Even worse if I was to go far away, how should I do that with my animals? That is why I don’t want to sell my land. See, everyone has become my enemy now. People don’t want to see me here. I am thinking… You, I told him, the people are nearly providing for me [?]. That is what I eat. Oh see, people are giving me food, oh God… […] What should I eat? Maybe I won’t eat. How should I eat from this? You, I told him, would you please stop talking to me. If not…?! All my neighbors are my enemies, they don’t want me here. Oh, how sad, I… […] That is why I keep thinking about how those people came. Everything is ruined. A big problem her. I don’t know. Before it was calm. How sad. And now, people don’t want me here. Let them be, I say, I am fine. Yes… I always get a little sad. And whose fault is it? The same people that have sold their land. Oh, those people – how sad. But me, it puts me into trouble. Against me. Everyone says… everyone in my village is helping [the company]. Everyone is in favor of it, but I am not at all, it seems like I am not even from here. I heard once, they were talking, some neighbors, […] “Oh this lady, who knows where [she is from].” The people keep wondering about where I am from. I am from here […]. My land is here. This is my fight, one of my grandfathers left me that land, the land where I live. Selling it, “Never,” I said. That is my crime, I am not selling my land. See how I am. That is why I am thinking…
People are still there, see, that is one of my cousins. […] We are siblings and we are family. He wants to cut of my head with a machete. […] He has his machete there with his stick. It is true. And I didn’t even say anything. He wants to cut off my head, he just didn’t, because I had one of my daughters in my arms. Here, the machete, here he wanted to stab it in [points to her throat]. I got scared. Not even my husband treats me like that […]. These people are nothing to me. They want to kill me. I got scared right away. It was the second time. See how I am. See, all those problems.
Not only that. They are killing all the animals now. One of my cows died. One of my goats died. Even my dogs I am losing now, my dogs. With its own hand the company gave them poison, to my dogs. All my dogs are dying. Only two I have left. They are tied down now, but if they break free… oh God. They wont come back. That is why I am sad. My animals are dying already. See, one of my animals, just a few days ago, died.
A thousand I spent. A thousand fifty I spent… […]
One got ill […]. It was about to give birth. […] There came out the small goat. I sold its mother. […] The mother of the baby. It got ill. […] Many animals are dying now. […] That is what we are experiencing now. […] Well, not only that.
That is how we are here. We are always a little sad, we aren’t well. I am sad. All my animals… and those against us, problems with the animals. My animals are dying.
There is no good life anymore. Here we are struggling to have no more but… Why? Because of the mine. Many are dying. Many died now. […].
And the people are in favor [of the company]. As they are working there. That is why they don’t say anything. But I didn’t get into that, that is why it hurts a lot […] My animals are dying. [When] one of my dogs dies, it hurts a lot. Why? As if I had anything to do with that. […] Let them kill, let them kill. But how I am with my animals. The people [only] came to give us trouble. That is why I don’t agree. I am always a little sad, because… Just recently two of mine died. Or three. […] Well only one just barely survived. The other one is there. One, I sold. I got the babies to get out. Tiny. Five months when it died. Came out. But why?
If the company wasn’t here, the animals wouldn’t be ill. See, now all the chicken died. Just a few days of illness. Again the animals are dying. One wants them [to be fine], but.. why? Because of the mining.
And now that. But now, see. God… there is [not even] water. Earlier there was a well here. That is where we [got] the water, because there [was] a well. And now not anymore, [it is running out of water]. There is no water anymore. Where will we go to get water. Not only that. All those workers of the company, my water… because I have a house there, God, now I don’t have water. Not even […] for me, nor for my animals. […] The river, see there is a river. It passes by there. Where will my animals drink the water of the river, because up there they are putting the [senua?] in there. There is a pipe to get [water] just here. What will my animals drink? Nothing. Maybe we will all die, because of thirst, [also] the animals, because there is no water. That is what is happening here now.
Now, I don’t live here anymore. My house is abandoned now. I don’t live here anymore. Up there we have a water connection. […] But maybe [all] my life will be like this, as long as it might be, because some days there is water, on others there is none. Some days there is, some days there is none. Oh god, but from where will we get water. Where? There is nearly no clean water in the river now. And our wells are drying out. There is nothing anymore. And I am thinking… We are always a little sad here. Yes, that is it.
Well, so that is how it is. That is how we are. But now, the company promised to give us clean water, they said.
Doña Deodora is part of the community of Nueva Esperanza. And Nueva Esperanza has been considered below the precautionary measures. To say it like that, it is like the project in Siete Platos, they have it here, too. And the case of Doña Deodora is a little polemical.
So they promised already to provide us with clean water. What happens now is that the company’s workers just take it. They have just taken it. And for us, nothing. [In] San José the same, because there is a project in San José. So they say […] that the workers already took it. Not even water they leave us, because there was water over there. But now there is nothing anymore. They provided it already, they say. And they are making money, because the company has money to buy the spring. They say now they will charge a thousand, thousand, thousand, each of us. Every payer a thousand, thousand, thousand. They are making money. They are taking a thousand from the people. And we here in San JosŽ, we are nine. And they have taken five hundred from us already. Five hundred they have taken. Every payer. They didn’t leave us anything.
I went once. I went, because I know it, they say there are precautionary measures. I went once. […] There is a list. And for me, there is nothing, I am here and there is nothing. How I talked. “This water, why? The company made the damage,” I said. “No.” That is our fight, I said. And the company, how much will it pay. They promised already to give us clean water. And I, I don’t know. That is our fight. There is nothing, and they take away [from us].
Once, they say, some neighbors were talking. “Did you provide a water [connection] for that lady already?” “No, who knows where she is even from.” They are saying that I am not from here.
Only the company’s workers are taking the water. Up to seven, seven one person, seven water connections one took. And we are here without anything. So what will I be drinking? So anyways, I will have to drink the water cyanide. That is hard, here I am. Oh no, I said. And with my animals. Where will my animals drink water. Where will we drink water. I am thinking now, as they are working there. Only that now, my payers, my sons aren’t here. They wanted to come this week, but didn’t. In the afternoon there will be a meeting in the community. […] Within eight days he will come, so he will come the next week. And we will go. We will talk. If not, because here I am now. Imagine, there is a law against me. What is the motive, why don’t they want to leave me anything? Why? Why? I am not doing anything. Just because I didn’t sell my land, that is why they say, “We won’t give [her] this water, that is why she will leave her land. Maybe the people will leave.” But never. Selling my land, not possible. That is my word.
They haven’t considered her in the precautionary measures. Even though the company’s workers, some of them, have taken seven connections, or to say, seven water connections. Every connection […] is for one family. Workers have, one person, taken seven connections. And in return they haven’t provided any for her. And she [is one of] the people that sued the Interamerican Commission. And she hasn’t been considered [in the measures]. Or to say, it is totally absurd. […] And those that are not suing are those that are benefiting from the project. Is is an ugly thing.
That is how we are. That is why those people don’t want to provide water for us. They want me to die with my animals. That is why they don’t want to provide. That is why [they think] I will leave my land, because I don’t have water. They want me to go who knows where. I can’t go anywhere. Maybe there is a law for me, I say, because I can’t lose. Why? Why? Because of the company. Now [I am] not calm. Where do I go? There is no water, there is no water. Up there, there is water. I can go with my animals. But is it even clean?! – They are working up there! No, this water is not clean. When my animals go, maybe they will die.
That is how it happened in San José. Five [goats] died. See. They died. I was there, I was close. There where the water [is]. And they are not ashamed. Maybe it was the water. There is nothing.
They even built a mechanic well below the lake. It is hot [?] and with a pipe. Giving us water, maybe? That is how we are going to die drinking cyanide water. There is a well, but I am talking to the people and once I went to talk [with them]. Oh sir, I said, the company is putting cyanide into the water that is for us to drink. There is a pipe and they are pumping it. […] It is cyanid water. “That can’t be true”, he said. […] As he is working there. Well, yes, I saw it. They are taking water from there. Maybe he heard [what I said]. Because now they are not taking [any water from there] anymore. To there, he said, he went to get water. […] We have water, the owner takes it. And all Nueva Esperanza obeyed the company. See how the company is causing us problems. I should obey, the say. That is why they are taking away our water. Oh God, this summer is over. Here we are. […] Not even to wash hands, neither to wash the dishes, nor to wash the face a little. Where? This summer, how will we do? […] When it rains, we collect a little water, […] From that we live. A few days ago it was raining. Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn’t. […] They are up there, the workers, […] up there, it is them taking away [the water]. They don’t want to give us water. That is it. That is what we are thinking. That is how we are here. This is my word.