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Defensora – October 8th, 2014

2014/2015 Season Premiere

Defensora poster_Victoria  jpg version 1

Co-presented with the Victoria Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC).

If you want to register your mining company in a country that has the least amount of encouragement or regulations for acting responsibly and cooperatively towards the peoples and the ecology near your mine, pick Canada!

“Defensora” is a documentary about Mayan Q’eqchi resistance against mining in Guatemala.  Set along the shores of Lake Izabal, this is a timely film that provides candid insights into the brave struggles of the men and women in El Estor, Guatemala who, faced with the violence, intimidation, poor health and forced evictions that Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals has brought about in their home and ancestral lands, have now brought their battle for justice to the Canadian courts.

After the film there will be an opportunity to have a discussion and ask questions hosted by 3 members of MJAC.  Kay Gimbel is on the executive of the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers Union, representing about 500 ships officers across the province.  He travelled to Guatemala earlier this year with a mining justice delegation led by Rights Action.  Kay visited several mining sites including the mining impacted community of El Estor and met many of the people who are depicted in this film.  Janet Gray is an active member of MJAC and KAIROS.  She has organized film and discussion events and other social justice projects and she participated actively in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Janet has also visited Guatemala and will bring first hand experience to the current tensions involved with mining companies there.  Heather Tufts is a social justice activist, citizen journalist and independent researcher.  She is an active member of MJAC and has organized many events and programs.  As an educator Heather believes in the “learning and research for change” model and has engaged with grassroots movements and indigenous communities for many years.

Now that we in B.C. have had a glimpse of the irresponsibility of mining companies and the blind eyes of the government towards them with the Mt. Polley tailings pond spill, this precedent-setting court case is all the more relevant to us in Canada.  So far there have been no murders and rapes such as happened in El Estor, but the killing of an ecosystem is surely also a criminal act.


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