Denouncing Crackdown against Peaceful Protest in Guatemala

Grassroots International recently posted a piece focussing on the events in El Estor. It is a translation of a piece from ALBA Movimientos.

On Sunday, October 24, the president of Guatemala declared a state of siege in the municipality of El Estor after 20 days of a peaceful mobilization organized by Maya Q’eqchi’ communities. With that declaration, agents of the National Civil Police (PNC), the army, the navy and the air force were deployed, which dislodged the demonstration and unleashed a wave of persecution against the communities and the human rights defenders and journalists who accompanied their struggle.

Two years ago, Indigenous authorities and residents of El Estor managed to win an appeal before the Constitutional Court that, given that consultation with Indigenous Peoples was not carried out, ordered the suspension of the mining license of the Fénix mining project, which had been granted by the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) to Compañía Guatemalteca de Niquel, CGN-Pronico, a subsidiary of Solway Investment Group, based in Switzerland. The ruling was finalized by the judges a year later (June 2020). However, the government and the mining company did not comply with the ruling and promoted a so-called “pre-consultation” that excluded key players.

On October 4, the Maya Q’eqchi ‘Ancestral Council began a peaceful demonstration to demand that the communities be taken into account in the pre-consultation process on the Fénix mining project of the CGN. The mobilization of the communities in El Estor began on October 4 demanding that the public consultation be complied with, as established in Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), ratified by the Guatemalan state.

You can read the full piece, with links to the original Spanish post, here Denouncing Crackdown against Peaceful Protest in Guatemala

Grassroots International partner has Comité de Unidad Campesina/the Peasant Unity Committee (CUC) as partner. CUC is calling for international solidarity in demanding that the state of siege imposed by the government be lifted, the illegally detained community members be released, and that process of free, prior and informed consent be respected, in accordance with international law.

A short bio of CUC is also available on the Grassroots International:

CUC was created in 1978 and is the first national organization formed by peasants and Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala. CUC works in over 200 communities and six micro-regions of the country to defend the land, water and food rights of impoverished peasants in Guatemala, primarily in communities facing displacement or environmental damage by mining, dam, and industrial agriculture corporations.

CUC has also played a critical role in uniting movements across diverse sectors and organizations in Guatemala – including peasants, Indigenous Peoples, women and youth – to advance structural changes under the broader banner of social justice. CUC is also a member of the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations (CLOC) and La Via Campesina.

Categories: Accompaniment, Criminalisation, Environment, Evictions, Genocide, Guatemala, Human Rights, Impunity, Indigenous peoples, Justice, Land, Legal, Military, Mining, Poverty, Resource Extraction, Solidarity in Action, Solidarity in Action/Guatemala, Violence

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