This land is Mayan

“Indigenous communities in Guatemala, pushed off the land so biofuels can be cultivated, are struggling to survive – and it’s our fault”.

On the 15th March 2011, 800 families from 14 communities in Guatemala’s Polochic Valley were forcibly evicted from their lands in order to install the Chabil Utzaj sugar plantation.

As Aidan Gillen writes in the Irish Times, ‘For “forcibly” think: no time to gather belongings, terrified children, crops destroyed, houses burnt, one man – Antonio Beb Ac – killed. There have been two more related deaths since – Oscar Reyes, the following May when he returned to the site to collect maize, and Maria Margarita Che Chub, a community leader, who was assassinated the following month.’

‘More than two years after the eviction, all they want is land to live on and to grow simple food. “The land belongs to my ancestors and it was taken away by these businessmen and big landowners,” Juana says. “We had everything we needed to survive. We grew maize, beans and chilli. We only grew what we needed to survive.”’

Guatemala is largely a beautiful lush country with an abundance of crops, but now people are dying of malnutrition here.

He travelled to Guatemala for Irish agency, Trocaire, and you can read the article and see the accompanying video in the Irish Times here. You can also see this previous post from GSN.

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Categories: Indigenous peoples, Land

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