No more evictions! Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala in defense of nature, lands and territories

Note: Evictions of community farmers from UC Berkeley land, peasants thrown off of their land all over the world for agrofuel feedstock production, deforestation, forest “protection,” large-scale hydroelectric projects, etc.  It’s time for the end of neoliberalism, private property and unsustainable ecological abuses.

GJEP is preparing for the Rio+20 Earth Summit where business-as-usual will be greenwashed with a giant paintbrush called The Green[d] Economy.  We will be covering this nonsense-fest from June 20-22 as well as the alternative Peoples’ Summit that is also happening in Rio from the 15th to the 23rd of June–where organizations, social movements and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations will come together to build real solutions to the myriad crises we face.

–The GJEP Team

Guatemala/Netherlands 11 May 2012. Extractive industries, renewable energy infrastructure and agribusiness stand behind the violent land grabbing and mass evictions in Guatemala. Carbon Trade Watch denounces this in the report No More Evictions! (http://www.carbontradewatch.org/articles/no-more-evictions-indigenous-peoples-in-guatemala-in-defence-of-nature-lands-and-territories.html).

In response to protests against the construction of a hydroelectric dam the government of Guatemala on May 1st declared a “state of emergency” in Santa Cruz Barillas, effectively suspending most of the fundamental rights of local residents, including the right to community consultations. [1] Communities in San José del Golfo blockaded the entrance of machinery into the gold and silver mine El Tambor [2] and four oil fields in the Petén area are under bid. [3] Meanwhile, the Polochic valley continues to be covered by sugar cane, African palm and rubber plantations, proposed hydroelectric projects and mining concessions. [4]

Lazar Konforti, author of the report, denounces: “In a case, pick-up trucks filled with private mining security and police forcibly evicted the Lote Ocho community, razing their homes with chainsaws. Eleven women from Lote Ocho report that they were gang raped by groups of up to 12 men as they tried to defend their homes. Due to police participation in the raid, the women fear making an official complaint to the authorities. Impunity and violence are severe problems in Guatemala.”

Emerging and ongoing land struggles came to the national attention last March with the Indigenous and peasants march in defence of water and Mother Earth, when several thousand people marched 214-kilometre into the capital to demand a solution to some of the most pressing problems. The March also condemned the violent persecutions and the criminalization of dissent and social movements.

Joanna Cabello, researcher from Carbon Trade Watch affirms: “Hydroelectric dams are popping up throughout the region under the false pretence that renewable energy equals sustainability. Carbon markets are allowing corporations to further profit from these large-scale dams while legitimizing environmentally destructive practices at the expense of local communities.”

 

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Filed under Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Rio+20

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