On the 28th July, 1968, the community of Chicoyogüito, in Alta Verapaz, was evicted from its lands in order to instal the former Military Zone 21 (ZM 21), which became a detention centre, as well as a site for massacres during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict. It currently serves as a training base for UN peace-keepers, known as CREOMPAZ.
For the Q’eqchi’, Achi and Poqomchi’ peoples, the installation of the ZM 21 meant a scorched earth, an uprooting, kidnappings, tortures, forced disappearances and the death of thousands who dreamed of a different country, and for which they were considered to be internal enemies by the State.
Members of the community of Chicoyogüito were also victims of the forced disappearance that took place in the military zone.
On the 9th June, this year, 21 people from the community of Chicoyogüito were arrested during a peaceful and legal demonstration which was taking place to ask for the return of their ancestral lands that had been taken from them in 1968.
The demonstrators were attacked and struck by members of the national police (PNC) and those arrested were denied assistance to attend to their wounds.
Those arrested have had their rights violated in the denial of being seen by a magistrate in a timely manner. The date for the first hearing was over a week later, on the 18th June, when 18 were released on bail and the remaining 3 kept in detention. The next hearing is due to be heard on the 12th July next.
You can read more about the community of Chicoyogüito, and their struggle in the following links.
In English, on CAFOD’s website here, “This land gives us life”: Defending land in Guatemala.
PBI Canada have been featuring the hearing here, PBI-Guatemala accompanies hearing for 21 Indigenous people arrested for seeking the return of their lands from a military base.
In Spanish, on Pensamientos Para Una Nueva Guatemala, Chicoyogüito: 50 años de desalojo y despojo.
On La Cuerda here, Chicoyogüito: 51 años sin respuesta, and most recently here, 21 capturados en Chicoyogüito: “No estaban invadiendo, estaban haciendo una marcha pacífica”.
Marielos Monzón wrote in Prensa Libre about the struggle here, La lucha de Chicoyogüito.
Caso CREOMPAZ are also following the struggle and you can follow that on their fb page, here Caso CREOMPAZ fb
The Coordinación Genocidio Nunca Más, a grouping of national NGOs, released a statement, in Spanish, which you can read, courtesy of the Defenders Project here, Exigimos Libertad Inmediata De 21 Detenidos De La Comunidad De Chicoyogüito.
Categories: Accompaniment, Corruption, Criminalisation, Environment, Evictions, Genocide, Guatemala, Human Rights, Impunity, Indigenous peoples, Justice, Land, Legal, Migration, Military, Poverty, Resource Extraction, Solidarity in Action, Solidarity in Action/Guatemala, Violence