On the 17th anniversary of the Departmental Assembly of the Peoples of Huehuetenango – ADH, we share the statement they made in the framework of their celebration and their meeting with the peoples in struggle for the Defense of Territory in El Río San Juan de Aguacatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
Long live the peoples who defend our Mother Earth and our Mother Water!
Long live the ADH!
For more years of struggle for life!
POLITICAL STATEMENT OF THE PEOPLES OF HUEHUETENANGO:
Exchange of ancestral knowledge with the peoples of Huehuetenango and the department of Retalhuleu; we seated to critically review the context of our COSMO that we live in and we have concluded that it suffers from many problems and threats from extractive companies at the national and international level. and we have concluded that it suffers from many problems and threats from extractive companies at a national and international level.
For this reason, the organized peoples, structured and agglutinated within the ADH, ASSEMBLY OF THE PEOPLES OF HUEHUETENANGO IN DEFENSE OF THE TERRITORY AND FOR THE AUTONOMY AND FREE DETERMINATION OF THE PEOPLES and the alliances of struggle that have been shouting loudly their resounding rejection of extractive, mining, hydroelectric and monoculture companies which generate irreparable damage to our territory.
Transnational companies have been publicly offering us “community development” as an excuse to exploit and steal our natural resources; but in reality, they are only seeking wealth for themselves and generating poverty for the people; but to achieve their goals of accumulation of wealth, they are destroying and exterminating our Mother Earth, Mother Water and the life of living beings. It is the cause that at this moment we are in permanent session, exchanging ancestral knowledge in defense of the territory, but on the other hand we are reviewing the situation, and we find that there is capacity and power, to support new strategies to follow up on the protection of the territory and all our COSMO.
After a thorough review, we are also celebrating with shouts of joy the arrival of 17 years of the formation and constitution of our sacred and glorious Organization -ADH- that has been growing and becoming a real defender of our COSMO. Our conviction says that, without gold you can live, but without water the living beings that inhabit the heart of COSMO die.
ADH, during its 17 years of struggle, in each region the peoples have been celebrating the statement of freedom from mining and hydroelectric dams, as well as rejecting the multiple violations of human rights caused by transnational corporations.
Thanks to the great strength of the 29 municipalities already consulted, where the peoples determined their resounding rejection of extractive and monoculture companies, we contribute to the strengthening of the true autonomy of our Indigenous Peoples, as well as the determination and protection of municipal autonomy. The 4 Municipal Agreements in protection of Mother Water, which have the purpose of protecting and sustainably manage this precious natural resource and to prevent large companies of neoliberal capital with their accomplices corrupt state powers in Guatemala; that the only thing that interests them is to destroy life, the peace of our people, stealing all the wealth contained in our COSMO.
The People executed all the political and legal steps at a national level to denounce the natural and social damages caused by the hydroelectric dams in the northern zone of Huehuetenango; ADH took a qualitative and quantitative leap to address their demand directly to the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and Central American Bank, with the support and accompaniment of the international organization; only in this way the banks withdrew their financial support to the extractive companies and have withdrawn definitively, having pending the procedure of reparation of the environmental impact.
Our strategic plans are not only focused against extractive companies, we also cover the issues of food sovereignty, global warming, but fundamentally the policy of extermination of native seeds, in exchange for the expansion of transgenic seeds by the famous Bayer-Monsanto demonstrating our support for the initiative 6086 ̈Law of Biodiversity and Ancestral Knowledge.
The abuses committed by agroindustry in the territories of the South Coast, monopolizing water, land and other resources for the production of sugar plantations, oil palm, banana, melon, rubber and other products. These violate our right to access to water, food and a healthy environment.
The contamination generated by agro-industrial production in the South Coast region, which has caused an increase in respiratory, skin and eye diseases, kidney problems and others, causes economically losses in the harvest of the local families in the South Coast such as sesame, fruit trees and vegetables such as tomatoes, and the losses are not assumed by the companies that cause the damage.
Everything that has been achieved has not been easy, the corrupt state along with its repressive apparatus, military forces of the army, PNC anti-riot substations, paramilitary and private security forces of transnational companies; increased and applied multiple criminalization against our struggle, organizing simultaneous repression mainly states of siege in Barillas in the period of Otto Perez Molina, in San Mateo Ixtatán, in Huehuetenango and Colotenango. Rubén Herrera along with 9 other leaders were political prisoners of the corrupt state, for defending mother earth and for his dedication in the struggle he is remembered today, tomorrow and always.
We recognize and appreciate the support and accompaniment by the international community, to find good strategies for the benefit of our people and the territory. We also call on the international community to approach our peoples to remain their political, legal and moral support in favor of the resistance in defense of the territory. Since extractive licenses persist that at any moment reactivate it and for us as ADH, they are a clear threat to our lives and COSMO.
A clear example of this, is the plan of eviction in the Kumatz community of Barillas on July 19th of this year. ADH, pronounces and strongly condemns this kind of criminalization, its policy and laws always in favor of large landowners who only took advantage of stealing community lands in the phase of the internal armed conflict and now focus on intimidating, expropriate property using a repressive policy with support from the powers of the state exterminating our people; they have spent millions of our taxes, for the “strengthening of the PNC”; but it is only for the benefit of the companies, with the purpose of repressing and criminalizing the defenders of the territory.
The Environmental Crimes Prosecutor’s Office of the Public Ministry to investigate the complaints filed by the communities regarding the abuses and human rights violations committed by agroindustry on the South Coast.
We demand that the petition of the Community of Pajales Sector Sis, San Andrés Villa Seca, Retalhuleu for the reconstruction of the gabions that maintain the course of the Sis River, which has been diverted by the El Pilar sugar mill for the transfer of its industrial waste, be resolved.
We demand that the State regulate through a water law the use and access to water, guaranteeing as a priority the human right to water.
We call on social organizations and the general population of the country to join forces in the defense of the territory with strategic actions at the national level. The corrupt system, state powers and transnational corporations have prepared a plan to exterminate our community assets, therefore, it is up to our people to defend our COSMO, to the ultimate consequences, if possible.
The organizations that are part of the ADH, combatively and loudly ratify that we are committed to continue defending and advancing our struggle in defense of the territory, as demanded by the new generations; despite the challenges; the people every day are pronounced in saying that here they were born and here they will die defending the territory that belongs to them.
THE POWER IS NOT IN THE GOVERNMENT, THE POWER IS WITH THE PEOPLE.
WITHOUT GOLD WE LIVE!!!!
WITHOUT WATER WE DIE!!!!!
Kind regards the board of -ADH-.
At San Juan River, Aguacatán on July 26, 2,023.