Tag Archives: q’eqchi’

Indigenous community under attack in Guatemala

Note: Click here for more information on the eviction of Monte Verde Sarstun.

–The GJEP Team

February 20, 2013.  Source: Guatemala Solidarity Project

The Guatemala Solidarity Project strongly condemns the Guatemalan government’s attack against the community of Monte Verde Sarstun in Livingston, Guatemala.  We condemn the United States government’s continued support of repression in Guatemala.  We call on solidarity from the international community during this time of great sadness.

At least four indigenous leaders have been “arrested” and the government has destroyed the community’s homes and subsistence crops.  We are extremely concerned for the fate of the leaders who have been arrested, as well as for the survival of the peasants whose crops were destroyed.  In some of our other partner communities we have seen starvation and severe malnutrition after such government attacks. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression

Guatemala-Canada: Clashing world views at a cross roads

By Grahame Russell, December 19, 2012.  Source: Upside Down World

rightsaction_maya1“Avatar” overlaps with a “John Grisham” novel in the Mayan Qeqchi plaintiffs versus Hudbay Minerals lawsuits

Recently, I had a front row seat to the colliding of world visions and realities in the heart and center of Canada’s financial district in downtown Toronto.

From November 23-30, five Mayan Qeqchi [Kek’Chi] people came to Toronto to pursue justice and remedy for violations and harms they suffered due to the nickel mining interests of Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals.  They were here to respond to questions during cross-examinations by lawyers from Hudbay Minerals’ law firm Fasken Martineau.


Lawsuit #1 – Angelica Choc, wife of Adolfo Ich, a community leader, teacher and father who was the victim of a targeted killing in September 2009 carried out by private security guards hired by Hudbay’s subsidiary CGN (Guatemalan Nickel Company).

Lawsuit #2 – Rosa Elbira and Margarita Caal, representing eleven women from the remote village of Lote 8 who were gang-raped by company security guards, soldiers and police, during an illegal, violent eviction of their community in January 2007, that included the whole-scale burning and destruction of 100 small homes.

Lawsuit # 3 – German Chub, a young man and father who was shot by mining company security guards and left paralyzed on the same say as the killing of Adolfo Ich.

Accompanying them was Maria Cuc, sister of Angelica Choc and their brother Ramiro Choc, a political prisoner jailed unjustly in Guatemala on trumped up charges since 2008.
Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Mining, Political Repression, Women

Guatemalan villagers make long journey to Canada in search of justice

Note: Read more about the Q’eqchi’ struggle for justice as previously reported on Climate Connections.  You can also listen to the audio here.  For more information and updates, or to donate to their legal fund, check out chocversushudbay.com

-The GJEP Team

December 3, 2012.  Source: Public Radio International

Rosa Elbira.  Photo:chocversushudbay.com

Rosa Elbira. Photo:chocversushudbay.com

A group of rural Guatemalans want justice for what they say are the misdeeds of a Canadian mining company. Fearing they won’t get it in their own country, they’ve traveled to Toronto to try and get it.

A small group of Guatemalans from remote villages has made a long trek to Toronto in search of justice.

Five of them are suing a Canadian mining company.

They all claim Hudbay Minerals is liable for violence that left one man dead, another in a wheelchair and a group of women victims of gang rapes. The company denies it is to blame.
Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Mining, Political Repression

Canadian mining on trial: Guatemalan delegation traveling to Canada to challenge corporate impunity

 Note:  The human rights abuses caused by Canadian mining companies in Latin America and in Canada are unacceptable.  Canada and Canadian-owned companies have a horrific track record for respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.  From Hydro Quebec’s continuing land grabs on Innu territory in northeastern Quebec to the Albertan Tar Sands and the Pacific Trails Pipeline on Wet’suwet’en land, Canada is waging a full-on assault on indigenous cultures.  And that war is also being waged abroad, as is the case in Guatemala.  Hudbay Minerals must be brought to justice for the crimes it has committed against the Q’eqchi’ people.

-The GJEP Team

By Dawn Paley, November 21, 2012.  Source: Dominion

Angelica and German on the porch of Angelica’s house. Photo: Ricardo Hubb

EL ESTOR, GUATEMALA—The rain won’t let up. It muddies the ground and pounds the corrugated metal roof of Angelica Choc’s house on the edge of the Guatemalan town of El Estor, enveloping the small gathering on the porch in a curtain of water. If it wasn’t for the violence surrounding a proposed nickel mine near the community, the evening’s gathering would likely have included her husband, Adolfo Ich. Maybe, at the end of the gathering, Ich would have taken out his guitar and begun an impromptu sing-a-long.

But there’s no celebration here. Instead, Choc sits on a plastic chair, sipping sweet coffee, talking through the logistics of an upcoming trip to Toronto with her sister-in-law, Maria Cuc Choc and their friend German Chub. All three are worried about how German, who is paralyzed from the waist down, will manage on the flight. What if he has to go to the bathroom on the plane, they wonder. They discuss what kind of clothes they might need for the cold. There are another two women accompanying them on the trip, and none of them own suitcases. The conversation slips back and forth between Spanish and Q’eqchi’, punctuated by laughter.

On the wall near the front door of Choc’s small wooden house is a simple altar in memory of her late husband. Two framed photos of Ich hang on the wall, his gaze straight and serious. His guitar hangs on the wall, gathering dust. A longtime Q’eqchi’ activist involved in various land struggles, Ich was murdered in September 2009 by private security guards in the employ of Hudbay Minerals.

“We’re going to travel [to Canada] because we want to demand justice,” Choc told The Dominion. “I have faith and hope that we’ll be successful. That’s what we want.” Choc, Chub, Cuc, and two others will travel to Canada for cross-examination by Hudbay’s legal team during the last week in November.
Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Mining

Guatemala: Entire Q’eqchi’ Community Destroyed by Guatemalan Government, Biofuel Corporation

October 28, 2011
The Guatemala Solidarity Project strongly and urgently condemns the October 26 attack against the community Paraná in Panzos, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.  The attack was carried out by Guatemalan police along with private security and was directly overseen by wealthy biofuels investor Carlos Widmann, brother in law of ex-President Oscar Berger.  All houses in the community were destroyed in the attack.
Please view our recent video interview with a community leader in Paraná at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu9Tk0Z3oyo
The GSP also released a 2-page report in late September titled Terror and Starvation in Guatemala’s Polochic Valley.  It can be found at http://guatemalasolidarityproject.org/terrorinpolochic.htm
GSP collaborators Tristan Call and Katy Savage published a more in depth piece about increasing government repression and the food crisis in Guatemala.  It can be found at http://upsidedownworld.org/main/guatemala-archives-33/3162-food-crisis-in-the-polochic-exacerbates-as-government-repression-continues
Families displaced from Paraná are now in a difficult struggle to survive and are in need of immediate solidarity.  The GSP is working with Paraná and other organizations to help provide emergency support, including food, clothes and medicine.  To find out more please visit www.guatemalasolidarityproject.org or make a check out to “UPAVIM Community Development Foundation” and send to UPAVIM, c/o Amanda Legare, PO Box 63, Marshfield, VT 05658 Write the word “Parana” in the notes/memo section and 100% of funds will go to support the community.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean

Alert: Q’eqchi’ Leaders Massacred in Guatemala

Sign petition and take action below!

Cross-posted from the Guatemala Solidarity Project

Thousands of q’eqchi’ peasants near Livingston, Guatemala had been anticipating February 14, 2011 as a possible day of joy and celebration. Instead it became a day of unbearable grief after the bodies of three missing leaders affiliated with Encuentro Campesino (Peasant Encounter) were found floating in a lake near Livingston, covered with bullet wounds.

Encuentro Campesino is a peasant and indigenous rights organization which political prisoner Ramiro Choc helped form. February 14 was the first day that Choc became eligible for release from prison, and the three were expected to participate in activities to pressure for his freedom.

Despite their young age, all three had already earned reputations for their commitment, creativity, intellect and compassion.

Sebastian Xuc, approximately 30 years old, was a “basico” or middle school teacher at the community Quebrada Seca where all three were from. “He was a lover,” friends were overheard saying. “You didn’t have to ask him for help three times, you didn’t have to ask him for help two times, you just told him you needed something and he was there to help you right away.” In addition to his role as a teacher, Sebastian was helping move forward community controlled development which would bring much needed resources to families in Quebrada Seca. The majority of q’eqchi’ children suffer from chronic malnutrition, but the Unites States and Guatemalan government continue to violently oppose community controlled decision making. This includes through continued training of Guatemalan military at the US Army School of the Americas (soaw.org) as well as the ongoing State of Siege in Alta Verapaz. Sebastian left five children.

Catalina Mu Maas was only 23 years old, but she had already become a respected community leader. “She was very proactive from an early age. She was an amazing person,” said a friend. Catalina was the first woman from Quebrada Seca to graduate from high school. She was also the first woman to become a spiritual guide for Ak’ Tenamit, a large local organization working to promote harmony between q’eqchi’ and western culture. She was an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and women’s participation in decision making.

Alberto Coc, 26 years old, may have been the main target of the attack. Alberto was well known for his leadership in the community and with Encuentro Campesino. He was a spiritual guide and took a more active leadership role in Encuentro Campesino after the February 14, 2008 arrest of Ramiro Choc. Alberto left three children, one just several months old.

The three young leaders were trained in part by Choc, who helped them focus their intellect and passion. The three, as well as another young peasant from a nearby community, were last seen on Saturday boarding a canoe to return home from the University where they were advancing their education in addition to their numerous other responsibilities.

When they didn’t arrive at home, search parties were sent out. Alberto and several other Encuentro Campesino leaders had recently received death threats and communities feared the worst.

On Sunday their boat was found, full of blood and bullet holes. The Guatemalan navy refused to join the search, saying that their primary work in the area was to protect tourism.

On Monday the bodies were found. Each had been shot multiple times, including at least once in the face from close range. On Tuesday the body of a fourth q’eqchi’ peasant youth, Amilcar Choc, was found.

It is not certain who carried out the massacre, but hundreds of q’eqchi’ communities have been violently attacked in recent years by police, military and paramilitary soldiers. There have already been significant errors in the “investigation” into the massacre, which GSP and Encuentro Campesino will expose at a later date.

The attack was an attempt to silence and terrorize peasants in the region, and in particular Encuentro Campesino. But because of their courageous commitment, and because of starvation in their communities, Encuentro Campesino will not be silenced.

The GSP stands with Encuentro Campesino in their struggle for their legitimate rights. We will be collecting funds in support of this struggle, and in support of the children of the fallen comrades. The GSP will take no cut of donations and our volunteers will work with Encuentro Campesino to make sure they are having the desired impact. We will also be posting updates on the situation, including suggested actions to take in solidarity with the communities.

* To sign the petition to free Ramiro Choc, which includes background info and a video about him, visit http://www.change.org/petitions/free_qeqchi_leader_and_political_prisoner_ramiro_choc

* For info on the ongoing fast in support of Choc, visit http://guatemalasolidarityproject.org/fastforramiro.htm

To donate, write a check to “UPAVIM Community Development Foundation” and send to UPAVIM, c/o Laurie Levinger, 28 McKenna Rd, Norwich, VT 05055. Write the words “Encuentro Campesino” in the notes/memo section of the check to guarantee the funds will go to this and none of our other efforts. Write the words “Quebrada Seca Children” to have the funds go to support the children of the fallen comrades.

You can also send support via paypal, although they take approximately three percent of donations. Visit http://upavim.pursuantgroup.net/english/donate.htm You will see the paypal link, and you must write “GSP” or either of the abovementioned funds to guarantee the destination of the donation.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Indigenous Peoples