|We demand liberty for our leaders; they have not committed crimes
Departmental Assembly of Huehuetenango Communiqué in Solidarity with the Civil Society Movement of Santa Cruz Barillas
Today, March 4, 2014, we attended two hearings in which the cases would be presented of six leaders from Santa Cruz Barillas who are persecuted by Guatemalan injustice and Hidro Santa Cruz. We accompany the men and women who have dedicated themselves to their cause, our cause. The hearings were suspended, but that doesn’t mean that our presence or our voice is not useful. Saúl Méndez, Rogelio Velásquez, Adalberto “Don Tello” Villatoro, Francisco “Chico Palas” Juan, Arturo Pablo and Diego Marcos are each accused of different crimes by the Spanish company Hidro Cruz. The orchestrated “legal” cases form part of a strategy of criminalization in order to undermine the defense of territory.
The persecution, criminalization and repression carried out by Otto Pérez Molina’s military government and the Guatemalan state aim to minimize or put an end to the opposition to the implementation of mining exploitation projects, like in the cases of the resistances at San José del Golfo, San Rafael las Flores or in other cases of natural resources like water in hydroelectric projects like Cambalan I and Cambalan II in Santa Cruz Barillas.
We, as indigenous peoples, have never understood the Guatemala justice system because it is blind, mute and deaf when it deals with defending our rights. The historic aggression that is once again emphasized by the Guatemalan state against the Chuj, Q’anjob’al, Akateko and Mestizo people in northern Huehuetenango is no more than the continued utilization of all the institutional resources that political actors have at their reach to continue with the pillaging and plundering of our territories. Our history, our territory and our lives are in danger and that is why we respond pacifically at the outrageous concept that to national and foreign companies we are objects.
We, the people, have not called the companies to our territories, nor have we needed the state, because it has always abandoned us, what we want is to live in peace and continue constructing our own path toward the good life (el buen vivir).
This government, like others, will not stop us; the struggle of Barrillas and its leaders is everyone’s struggle. No to criminalization; yes to the liberation of our political prisoners.
Departmental Assembly of Huehuetenango
March 4, 2014