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Update from a visit with Yoli Oqueli, anti-mining activist gunned down June 13th

by Emilie SmithAlexandra Pedersen

Update from a visit with Yoli Oqueli, anti-mining activist gunned down June 13th

This letter is an update from friends after the June 13th shooting of Yoli Oqueli, an activist organizing against Vancouver-based Radius Gold Inc. Español Abajo.

June 23, 2012

Dear Friends,

Today we able to pay a brief visit to Yoli in Guatemala City.  She is in recovery still, but stable, though experiencing quite a bit of pain.  She suffered a single bullet wound entry in her back, and the bullet is still lodged near her spine, and between a kidney and a lung.   A decision was made by doctors not to operate, and to see how her body reacts.

This has, of course, been a terribly difficult experience, and she is continuing to struggle, with the physical, emotional and spiritual aftermath.  However, she describes herself as a fighter.  “Ever since I was a girl, when kids picked on other kids, I stood up for them,” she says.  She is determined to continue supporting the struggle for the land and water in her community of San José del Golfo, and says that above all the movement must remain peaceful:   no machetes, no rocks, no violence.   At the same time, she said, the people must act with determination, and wisdom.  “We are gentle but not stupid.”

Yoli said how grateful she was, for all of the attention, love and prayers that have been directed towards her in these days of trial.  She said, that no matter what, the struggle must continue.

“It’s not like it was in the 1980s or 1990s,” she said.  “Now we know our rights, and we are going to fight for them.”

Emilie Smith  and  Alexandra Pedersen

ACTUALIZACIÓN, SITUACIÓN YOLI OQUELI

23 junio 2012

Querido-as Amigo-as,

Hoy tuvimos la oportunidad de ir a visitar brevemente a Yoli en la ciudad de Guatemala.  Se está recuperando, está estable, pero experimentando bastante dolor.  Sufrió una herida de bala, entró por su espalda, y la bala está aun cerca de su columna, entre un riñón y un pulmón.  Una decisión fue tomada por los doctores no operarla, y ver cómo reacciona su cuerpo.

Por supuesto, ha sido una experiencia sumamente difícil, y sigue luchando con los efectos físicos, emocionales y espirituales.  Sin embargo, ella misma dice que es una luchadora.  “Desde que fui niña, cuando miraba que unos niños molestaban a otros, siempre me metía,” dice ella.  Está con la convicción a seguir apoyando la lucha por la tierra y el agua en su comunidad de San José del Golfo, y dice que el movimiento tiene que mantener su compromiso con la paz:  no machetes, no piedras, no violencia.  Al mismo tiempo, dijo, la gente tiene que actuar con determinación y sabiduría.  “Somos mansos, no mensos,” dijo.

Yoli dijo que estaba muy agradecida por toda la atención, amor y oraciones que la han venido en estas días de prueba.  Dijo, que venga lo que venga, la lucha tiene que seguir.
 
“No es como en los ochenta, los noventa,” dijo.  “Ahora conocemos nuestros derechos, y vamos a luchar por ellos.”

Emilie Smith y Alexandra Pedersen

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