We, the Indigenous and ancestral authorities of the different Indigenous communities of Ixcán, Cobán, and Uspantán that make up the Association of Communities for the Development and Defense of the Land and Natural Resources (ACODET), are convened in the community La Libertad Xalarocjá, in the municipality of Cobán, department of Alta Verapáz, to celebrate our sixteenth regular assembly, as we have done year after year since the founding of our community organization.

The member communities of ACODET express our hope upon seeing that the current government is listening to the needs of the majority, and has opened spaces of dialogue with Indigenous authorities throughout the country. But at the same time, we express our concern about the political situation of our country, since the Pact of the Corrupt who control various institutions – chief among them the MP and the judicial system – do not permit our country to advance in the areas of democracy and development for the Indigenous communities that exist in any part of the country. The Pact of the Corrupt has plundered our country, has enriched itself at the cost of the Guatemalan people and has created laws in their own favor in order to achieve complete impunity for all their actions. Today they refuse to accept defeat and attempt to impede any action to benefit the Guatemalan population.

As communities located on the banks of big rivers which are threatened by the construction of hydroelectric dams, we see the need to review national energy policies. The extractivist neoliberal model has put the generation, transport, and distribution of electric energy in the hands of transnational companies, has left our communities without access to energy, and does not promote national development. The big companies only take advantage of the water in our rivers, and do not care that they leave us without water and that they cause environmental damage, tear our social fabric and produce extreme poverty in the communities of the area, just as is occurring now in Santa María Cahabón. 

Guatemala produces twice as much energy as it consumes: approximately 4,000 MW, compared to the national demand which is only 1,800 MW. The rest of the energy is sold to other countries, even though we don’t have electricity here. The construction of more dams will only create poverty, drought in our crops, dispossession of land, and community division. We call on the current government to review the causes of the current energy crisis in this country, bringing together different academic, governmental, and social figures and Indigenous peoples. We invite them to analyze: energy for what and for whom? And not only to concern themselves with attracting more private investment. We urge the Ministry of Energy and Mines to promote the generation of electricity through solar and wind power and other options; to remove the monopoly of electrical transportation and distribution from the hands of the transnational companies; to dedicate public funds to support municipal companies, cooperatives and associations (which have been more efficient than the big companies) and thereby strengthen their own projects of electricity generation and distribution. 

We are concerned that the development of the hydroelectric dam project Xalalá continues to be of interest to the INDE [National Electrification Institute] and continues to threaten the communities that live in the basins of the Copón and Chixoy Rivers, seeing that the project reappears in the 2020-2050 plan for expansion of electricity generation, which says that the Xalalá Dam will finish construction by 2032.

The Indigenous communities and authorities that form ACODET


  1. The deception, threats, and criminalization that the company Generadora Río del Jute S.A. has committed against the whole community of San Juan El Limonar, in the Zona Reina, Uspantán. All of the families of this community have been reported to the Special Prosecutor’s office against Usurpation Crimes. We also condemn the malicious actions of Mr. Roberto Asturias Peñas for falsely accusing and criminalizing community and municipal authorities, in order to intimidate and force the community to abandon the lands they have historically owned.
  2. The criminal persecution against Indigenous authorities, community leaders, and land defenders who have been silenced, violating their right to free expression of thought. We also denounce the criminalization of Indigenous authorities for exercising their functions as traditional authorities of Indigenous peoples who ensure community autonomy and the care of natural resources like water and territory. 
  3. The continuing violent dispossession of our Q’eqchi’ and Pocomchi’ siblings. Agrarian conflicts have historical causes and will not be resolved through the repression of communities that have lived for centuries on those lands. 
  4. We reject the use of the territory of Q’eqchi’ communities for the landing of planes by organized crime groups, as well as the incursion of the army without the knowledge of our authorities, which are actions that intimidate the population and remind us of the Internal Armed Conflict that took the lives of thousands of Guatemalans, especially of Indigenous campesino families. 


  1. That the Guatemalan government and national and international companies immediately cease all the threats and plundering of our common goods, especially the seizure, diversion and alteration of rivers and lakes. They are the veins of our Mother Earth and the source of all life on the planet.
  2. The immediate suspension of the threats of dispossession to the Q’eqchí’ community San Juan El Limonar, which would only favor the construction of the hydroelectric dam Río Jute, a project of the multinational company ENEL.
  3. The unrestricted respect of Indigenous Peoples’ right to consultation and consent. We remind the state of Guatemala that it must comply with its obligation to inform, consult and obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of the people before approving any legislative or administrative measure in any territory inhabited by Indigenous peoples, as established in ILO Convention 169.
  4. To the municipal governments of Cobán, Ixcán and Uspantán, we urge you to not be accomplices to the companies constructing hydroelectric dams, and to respect the results of the community consultations of good faith that have already been carried out.


The communities present in this assembly will continue to defend democracy in our country and to highlight the actions of the Pact of the Corrupt and its allies in favor of impunity and against the democratically elected government. 

We ratify our unyielding struggle to continue defending our territory and our rivers in the face of any threat, just as we have defended them against the hydroelectric project Xalalá for fifteen years already. 

We will keep struggling for the recognition of our historical right to land possession, just as we have in the communities of Los Copones, Ixcán, and in some communities in the Zona Reyna, Uspantán, exercising our constitutional rights as established in article 67 of the Political Constitution of the Republic and articles 13, 14, 15, and 16 of the second part of the ILO Convention 169. 

In view of all above, we make a call to all other peoples, grassroots movements and social organizations to stay vigilant of the situation that submerges our country day by day, and to never give up our struggle for a dignified life and an inclusive country. 

For the defense of life, natural resources and human rights, Association of Communities for the Development and Defense of the Land and Natural Resources (ACODET)

La Libertad Xalarokjá, Cobán, April 13th, 2024