THE ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITIES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT, DEFENSE OF THE LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES ACODET, IN ITS FIFTEENTH ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY BEFORE THE PUBLIC OPINION, WE DECLARE:
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, Defense of Land and Natural Resources -ACODET, gathered in the Community of Copal AA La Esperanza of the municipality of Cobán department of Alta Verapaz in the celebration of our fifteenth Ordinary Assembly with the objective of presenting the annual report corresponding to the year 2022 and also the presentation and approval of the POA 2023, election and swearing in of the new board of directors 2023-2025, strengthening more and more the struggles that we carry the communities to care for, protect and defend our territory in the face of threats from business interests and the government of Guatemala in wanting to implement megaprojects in our territory.
- The member communities of ACODET express our concern about the new plans of companies and government for the current authorizations for the installation of power plants granted by the Ministry of Energy and Mines in the current government of Alejandro Giamattei to build hydroelectric plants in the territory of the Maya ‘Quechí People without the free, prior and informed consent of the affected communities.
- The Xalalá hydroelectric project continues to be a development interest for INDE and the government of Guatemala and a new threat to the communities that live in the Copón and Chixoy river basins, since this project reappears in the report published in the expansion plan for the generation of energy 2020-2050 in which it mentions that the Xalalá dam ends its construction by the year 2032.
- We denounce the various human rights violations against the community of San Juan el Limonar in the municipality of Uspantán, who are being criminalized by the generating entity rio del jute S.A. through the Special Prosecutor’s Office against the crime of usurpation, as well as the violation of the right to education of children, which is being violated since 2021 when MINEDUC in conspiracy with the entity described above closed the school, leaving children without access to education.
- We denounce the criminal prosecution against the indigenous authorities who have been criminalized for exercising their functions as traditional authorities of the indigenous peoples who watch over community harmony and natural resources such as water, territory, among others. This is a way to silence the voices of the communities that have fought against the dispossession and plundering of natural resources.
- The communities of ACODET are concerned about the actions of the current government and the corrupt pact that has totally co-opted the institutions of justice in Guatemala, including the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Justice and especially the concern generated by the actions of the Magistrates of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in favoring candidates accused of corruption and refusing to register political parties composed of human rights defenders, thus violating the right to participation, reflecting a setback to human rights and democracy in the country.
- We reject the incursion of the army in the communities of ACODET, in communities of the Copones region, as these actions intimidate the communities and recall the era of the Internal Armed Conflict that killed thousands of Guatemalans, especially indigenous peasant families, actions that have remained unpunished by the justice system in Guatemala.
- We reject the actions of some political parties that are generating at all costs divisions in the communities, counting leaders, politicizing social programs and handing out royalties. We believe that these actions are a mockery to the families of the communities since they do not help to solve the problems of the high cost of the basic food basket and the only thing they achieve is to manipulate the conscience of the families, making them believe that this will solve the problem without letting them know that the real intentions are to get to power.
- We demand that the Human Rights Ombudsperson’s Office speak out against the different human rights violations that are occurring in the country, especially against indigenous peoples, and that it not be influenced by the Pact of Corruption that controls the political and economic power in the country.
FOR THE AFOREMENTIONED REASONS WE DEMAND:
We demand that the Government of Guatemala and national and international companies immediately cease all threats to plunder our common goods, the kidnapping, diversion and alteration of the Chixoy, Copón and Cuatro Chorros Rivers for the construction of hydroelectric dams mentioned above, since in Guatemala there is no need to build more hydroelectric dams because in the country 4,068 MW are produced and the national demand is only 1,749 MW and the rest of the energy goes to countries like EI Salvador, Mexico, USA and Canada. The construction of more dams in the country only generates poverty, divisionism, disruption of community harmony, drought in crops, land dispossession, among others.
To the State of Guatemala, that before approving legislative or administrative measures in any territory inhabited by indigenous peoples, it must first comply with its obligation to inform, consult and obtain the free, prior and informed consent of the peoples, as established in Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
To the deputies of the Congress of the Republic, we demand that they no longer continue approving more millionaire loans since these resources do not benefit Guatemalan families and are destined for political campaigns, to stay in power and only enrich the few families that make up the Pact of Corruption.
To the municipal governments of Cobán, Ixcán and Uspantán we demand that they not be accomplices of the hydroelectric construction companies, as this only generates environmental damage, breaks the social fabric of the community and produces poverty in the communities of the area of incidence.
We demand that the Public Ministry investigate the Pact of Corruption that has plundered our country and enriched themselves at the expense of the Guatemalan people and that has made laws in their favor to leave in total impunity all their acts committed against the rule of law.
WE REAFFIRM OUR COMMITMENT:
The communities present in this Assembly ratify our unwavering struggle to continue defending our territories and our rivers against any threat, as we have done against the Xalalá hydroelectric project during these fifteen years.
We continue to fight for the recognition of our right of historical possession of the land, as we have been doing in the communities of Los Copones, Ixcan and in some communities of the micro Region X in the Reyna Uspantán zone in the exercise of our constitutional rights established in article 67 of the Political Constitution of the Republic and articles 13, 14, 15 and 16 of Convention 169 in its part II, Lands.
In view of the above, we call on other peoples, grassroots movements and social organizations to remain vigilant of the situation that day by day submerges our country and not to give up in 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, Defense of Land and Natural Resources – ACODET. March 31, 2023.
WATER, LAND AND ENERGY ARE NOT COMMODITIES.