Land Grabs, the Latest Form of Genocide in Guatemala

Leonor Hurtado of the Institute for Food and Development Policy – Food First writes about the genocide being carried out in Guatemala with land and food as the means.

“In today’s Guatemala, land and resource control is increasingly in the hands of a small oligarchy of powerful families allied with agri-food companies. At the center of this power are fourteen families who control the country’s sugarcane-producing companies (AZAZGUA); five companies controlling the national production of ethanol; eight families that control the production of palm oil (GREPALMA); and members of the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, and Financial Associations (CACIF).

“Together these powerbrokers are accumulating land and wealth with the support of investment from international institutions such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE). The convergence of multiple global crises—finance, energy, food and environment—has directed corporate investment into land-based resources such as agrofuels, minerals, pasture and food. The situation in Guatemala is extremely violent, part of a global trend where agrarian, financial and industrial interests are grabbing control of peasant lands and resources.

“Can land grabs be considered genocide? In many ways, land grabbing is a new form of genocide. Ricardo Falla’s study ‘What Do You Mean There Was No Genocide?’ analyzes the definition of genocide and its characteristics. According to Falla, of the five acts that define genocide, two were most prominent in Guatemala: ‘the massacre of the members of a group,’ and ‘the intentional subjection of a group to living conditions which will lead to their total or partial physical destruction.'”

You can read the full article here on the Americas Program website.

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Categories: Environment, Genocide, Land

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