26939Action Needed: Q’eqchi Commun ity Surrounded as “Land Owner s” Steal Harvests, Murder Chi ldren and Beat Peasant Leaders
- Nov 11 4:44 AM
Action Needed: Q’eqchi Community Surrounded as “Land Owners” Steal Harvests, Murder Children and Beat Peasant Leaders
November 10, 2013 Guatemala Solidarity Project Update
The GSP strongly denounces the continued attacks against the indigenous q’eqchi community Saquimo Setana. In many of these attacks homes have been burned down, residents have been assaulted and community leaders have been arrested on fraudulent charges. The attacks most commonly occur between September and November when the community is harvesting the cardamom which it depends on for survival. The harvest has routinely been stolen, and part of the forest surrounding the community has been clearcut.
The corrupt Guatemalan government has supported the attacks, often by participating directly in them and also by arresting community leaders. In prison they have faced beatings, denial of food and denial of medicine. They have been told that this treatment will continue unless they sign false confessions implementing community and national peasant leaders in invented crimes. We call for the immediate release of our friends and courageous leaders Pablo Sacrab, Crisanto Cuc Xol, and Sebastian Choc.
The violence and repression has had an extremely harmful impact on children in the community. The school’s elementary teacher has told us that his students have difficulty concentrating because they are constantly worried about another attack. The burning of houses and theft of harvests have made it difficult for parents to provide their children with appropriate nutrition.
Saquimo Setana has joined with the Committee of Peasant Unity and local communities to demand justice. One such community is Xalaha Canguinic, located a short walk from Saquimo. Just two days ago, on November 8, Xalaha Canguinic was attacked. 30 houses were burned down, and peasant leader Carlos Isaias Guitz Pop and four others were injured. Guitz was shot in his left chest and was last known to be in critical condition.
Please visit our website guatemalasolidarityproject.org to read the entire alert. Please take the following actions:
1. Sign our new petition calling for justice for Saquimo Setana. The petition is located at http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Justice_for_Qeqchi_Peasant_Community_Saquimo_Setana/?copy
2. Call Edgar Villanueva at the Gutemalan Embassy in the United States at 202 745 4953 or 202 745 3873 and request an end to the attacks against Xalaha Canguinic, security for those injured, and the immediate arrest of wealthy criminal Leonel Ponce and those responsible for the attack.
3. Support our partners through a contribution to the Guatemala Solidarity Project. We are a volunteer run organization and all funds go to our partners in Guatemala. The best way to donate is to send a check to our fiscal sponsor, “UPAVIM Community Development Foundation” to UPAVIM, PO Box 63, Marshfield, VT 05658. Please write “GSP” in the notes/memo section of the check. Or donate online by visiting our website.