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As Firm as a Tree

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Issue: 80 Section: Photo Essay Guatemala

October 19, 2011

As Firm as a Tree

Portraits of Diodora Henandez, a woman in resistance against Canadian mining

by James Rodríguez

A portrait of Diodora Hernandez, an anti-mining activist who is lucky to be alive after being attacked because of her stance against Vancouver-based Goldcorp Inc. Photo: James Rodriguez/www.mimundo.org

SAN MIGUEL IXTAHUACAN, GUATEMALA—On July 7, 2010, Diodora Hernandez, a staunch anti-mining activist, was shot point-blank in the right eye.

The incident took place outside her home in the small community of San Jose Nueva Esperanza, in the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, only a few metres from a fence that delimits Goldcorp’s Marlin Mine.

Hernandez, who lost her right eye as a result of the attack, lives with her daughter Maria and granddaughter Olga. One year after her miraculous recovery, Hernandez’s anti-mining stance and activism remains as steadfast as ever.

“They tried to kill me because I do not want to sell my plot of land,” she said while being interviewed on the local radio station, The Voice of the People.

“People around here do not think about the future or their children, but only on the present, the money they can get for the present.”

Diodora is now constantly trailed by security guards. “I will never sell my plot. This is where I was born, and I will die here. Even if I did sell it, where would I go?”
Cooking and looking after children are essential parts of Diodora's day, which now take place under the watchful eye of security guards.
“I am sad because most of my neighbors have sold out and left. But me, hmmm, don’t you worry, I will continue on with the struggle! I am firm as a tree. Standing I am, and standing I will remain.”

James Rodriguez is an independent documentary photographer based in Guatemala. He publishes at mimundo.org.

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It is so encouraging to read

It is so encouraging to read about someone making it against all odds, but it is even more encouraging to read about someone surviving against all odds. This is truly heart warming.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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