Guatemala: ADH statement in solidarity with Barillas political prisoners and the people of Sipakapa


Statement translated by NISGUA

Date of publication: 
23 January 2014

On January 14, the people of Sipakapa joined together to take action in denouncing the granting of the Los Chocoyos mining exploration license to Goldcorp Inc. Earlier this month, the Sipakapa Maya Council, together with the Western People’s Council (CPO), filed a legal complaint against the Ministry of Energy and Mines for authorizing the license to the Canadian company. In the following statement, the Departmental Assembly of Huehuetenango (ADH) express their solidarity with the people of Sipakapa, as well as Saúl Méndez and Rogelio Veláquez, political prisoners and members of the resistance to the Cambalam hydro-electric project.

The Departmental Assembly of Huehuetenango, ADH Public Statement

17 January 2014

Huehuetenango – The people’s struggle in defense of territory, before the transnational attack and extractive model, reflect the aggressions and pillage that help to further the neoliberal model in the height of the 21st century.

In 2005, the community consultation in Sipakapa taught us a nonviolent form to defend our territory and life. The people of Sipakapa protested and demanded respect for their community decision. Today, once again, the people have organized and peacefully demanded respect for their consultation, expressing their dissatisfaction of the new invasion of their territory, as a result of the extended mining exploitation at the Marlin mine.

Neither the companies nor the current government understand that our territories are not for sale and they will be defended in different forms in the past, present and always, as the people of Sipakapa demonstrate.

Today, we also denounce the continued persecution and criminalization of our leaders carried out by transnational companies with the support of Otto Pérez Molina’s government. The case of Saúl Méndez and Rogelio Veláquez, members of the ADH and leaders of the resistance to the Spanish hydro-electric project Hidro Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz Barillas, is a clear example of such criminalization. Méndez and Velásquez are being persecuted through the Guatemalan legal system, such that the meaning of justice is corrupted. We, along with their families, affirm that this is a political persecution.

As the Departmental Assembly of Huehuetenango, we denounce nationally and internationally the open and obscene invasion of our territories by foreign companies, with the approval of the current government, as is demonstrated once again with the case of Sipakapa. We express our solidarity with the struggle and demands by the people of Sipakapa.

We express our solidarity with Saúl Méndez and Rogelio Veláquez, along with their families and communities, and we demand their freedom. We express our solidarity with the communities and organizations that defend their rights, life and Mother Earth.

We demand respect from Otto Pérez Molina’s government toward the community consultations, our community’s decisions, autonomy and self-determination.

We demand freedom for our political prisoners
For the autonomy and self-determination of our communities
The Departmental Assembly of Huehuetenango (ADH), member of the Western People’s Council (CPO)