In Guatemala, state violence is on trial but repression continues

“In Guatemala, the trial against former General Efraín Ríos Montt, who terrorized the country during his brief dictatorship in the early 1980s, continues. The general has been accused of killing hundreds of indigenous Guatemalans, and he is being tried on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Yet, even as the country seeks justice for some of those murdered during Guatemala’s decades-long genocide against the indigenous Mayans, repression and violence continues — particularly against indigenous communities that are trying to stop resource extraction and environmental degradation.

For years, the Q’anjob’al community has been organizing in Santa Cruz Barillas, a region in western Guatemala, to defend its territory against a hydroelectric dam project. In spite of repression, harassment, detentions and a 17-day stretch of martial law imposed on the neighborhood, the community continues fighting to stop a Spanish transnational company from profiting off the region’s river.

In recent months, the organizers have made significant gains, particularly in the campaign against political repression. On January 9, organizers who had been imprisoned for almost a year were released. Meanwhile, the community is building ties with Guatemala’s other anti-extractive movements, and under the slogan “We Are All Barillas,” the struggle has gained international attention.”

You can read more of this article by Marta Molina in Waging Nonviolence here.

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Categories: Human Rights, Violence

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