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Fallbeispiel Guatemala: der aktuelle Extraktivismus im Kontext vielfältiger Formen des Widerstands

Eva Kalny

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Schlüsselwörter: Bergbau, Guatemala, Neuer Extraktivismus, Widerstand, Indigene


Current extractivism in the context of multiple forms of resistance:
the case of Guatemala.


With few exceptions, the history of extractivism in Guatemala has been characterized by the violent exploitation of natural resources by a coalition of transnational companies and national oligarchies. Local communities and mining workers, on the other hand, have a long history of opposition  against extraction projects; they have opposed their effects on the  environment and the living conditions of surrounding communities, and  have been actively trying to improve miserable working conditions. They  have also been actively involved in some of the country’s most prominent demonstrations and marches. Since the end of the civil war, which  amounted in several cases to genocide against the indigenous  population,transnational mining companies have increased their activities  in Guatemala, and they are now applying new technologies which seriously harm the living conditions of indigenous communities. Community  members have developed new forms of resistance which include public  protests, international networking, and judicial procedures against the  companies at the national and international level. National and international laws also provide the framework within which indigenous  communities creatively develop new forms of customary law. The concept  of „new extractivism“, however, falls short in describing the relevant politics of the former social democratic president Álvaro Colom, and ignores the new forms of extractivism as well as the innovative strategies of resistance.

Keywords: mining, Guatemala, new extractivism, resistance, indigenous population