October 2019 Solidarity Update
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Dear friend,

This month we share with you four important developments in the struggle for Justice and Accountability, an infographic about Guatemala's current state of siege, a victory from our partners organizing to protect Indigenous sacred sites in the Bay Area, a report-back on our delegation with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and an invitation to buy the NISGUA 2020 calendar and support our work!

Four updates on Justice and Accountability cases

Judge Claudette Dominguez to remain on CREOMPAZ Case, removed from Maya Ixil genocide case during Rios Montt government

On October 2, the First  High Risk Appellate Court announced its decision to reject the plaintiff's request for the removal of Judge Claudette Dominguez from the CREOMPAZ case. Plaintiffs previously presented six legal recourses against the judge, citing bias and partiality in her previous rulings. Following the October 2nd ruling, survivors and plaintiffs demanded that Judge Dominguez act in accordance with the law.
Read the open letter to Judge Claudette Dominguez from survivors of the CREOMPAZ case
On October 17, Judge Claudette Dominguez, known for right-wing ties and regressive decisions, was removed from the Maya Ixil genocide case against Luis Enriquez Mendoza García, chief of military operations under Rios Montt. The plaintiffs of the case successfully proved that Judge Dominguez has a record of bias and partiality and that her previous rulings have systematically benefitted former military members. While awaiting the final decision survivors of state terror and violence during the Internal Armed Conflict shared a press release.
A person holds out a microphone while another reads a statement surrounded by genocide survivors.

Victims of the Internal Armed Conflict supported AJR’s demand that an impartial judge be appointed to preside over the genocide case against former General Luis Enrique Mendoza. Photo credit: AJR

New evidence in Maya Achi sexual violence case

On October 4, Francisco Cuxum Alvarado admitted to law enforcement in the U.S., where he is currently detained for entering the country without authorization, that he was a member of the Rabinal Civil Defense Patrol. In Guatemala Cuxum Alvarado is accused of crimes against humanity and this admission would provide new evidence and potentially initiate a new chapter in this case

Ex-head of Military Operations under Romeo Lucas Garcia arrested in Maya Ixil genocide case

On October 24, Guatemalan authorities arrested retired Army Colonel César Octavio Noguera Argueta, head of military operations during the Romeo Lucas Garcia regime. Along with Noguera Argueta, it is expected that Benedicto Lucas García (Army Chief of Staff) and Manuel Callejas y Callejas (chief of Military Intelligence) will also be charged in this case.  According to the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR) this case involves at minimum 31 massacres in which 1,128 people were killed; the destruction of 23 villages; 97 selective killings; 117 deaths due to forced displacement; 26 cases of sexual assault; and 53 cases of enforced disappearances⁠—1421 victims in total.

State of Siege extended by Guatemalan Congress

An infographic shows where the state of siege is and the extractive projects most prevalent in each area.

Infographic credit: Festivales Solidarios

On October 10, the Guatemalan Congress approved Jimmy Morales’ proposal to extend the state of siege in six departments for another 30 days. Multiple violent evictions of Indigenous communities have already been reported since the state of siege was first declared in September and its impacts have been felt in other communities outside of the designated areas. For example, on October 19, armed military personnel arrived in Santa María Tzejá, in the municipality of Ixcán, Quiché. We stand alongside our partners in the Ixcán, and throughout Guatemala as they reject the state of siege and the militarization of Indigenous and campesinx communities.

Another victory in the struggle to protect the Chochenyo Ohlone Shellmound

This year, NISGUA commemorated Indigenous Peoples’ Day at the West Berkeley Shellmound, contributing our Shuumi Land tax to Sogorea Te, an urban Indigenous women-led land trust. We commit to making this an annual practice, in acknowledgement of our occupation of Indigenous land.

Additionally, we are thrilled to announce another victory in the struggle to protect this Ohlone sacred site. Thanks to the organizing of Save the West Berkeley Shellmound and other community activists, on October 21 the Alameda County Superior State Court ruled in favor of the City of Berkeley, which had previously rejected developer Blake Griggs Properties’ application to quickly develop the area by building a mixed-use housing complex. This comes after a series of failed attempts made by this developer to continue, in spite of Chochenyo Ohlone leaders, local social movements, and the City of Berkeley. As an organization committed to lifting up and standing in solidarity with Indigenous struggles in Guatemala and in the United States, we are honored to share this news!
A mural on concrete says:

A resistance mural at the sacred Chochenyo Ohlone Shellmound site.

Sisters in struggle: Indigenous Environmental Network leadership trip to Guatemala

NISGUA recently facilitated an intensive seven-day exchange with over 100 representatives of land defense, community organizing, and feminist groups in Guatemala, including ACODET, AFEDES, ADH, Copal AA La Esperanza, Mama Maquín, Asociación Pop N’oj, and more.
The trip was born out of the Indigenous Environmental Network’s (IEN) commitment to a global grassroots women’s movement and feminism aligned with Indigenous cosmovision, and will be the foundation of their future global organizing efforts. Their goal was to learn more about the Guatemala-specific context and to directly exchange with grassroots Indigenous organizations about shared struggles to defend life, culture, and Mother Earth. The trip began with a grounding in Indigenous feminisms and the historical memory of colonization and genocide, and moved into exchange with groups working at the intersections of environmental justice and Indigenous self-determination.  
Read the full blog here!
Seven women smile together, three in traditional Maya Q'eqchi' clothing. Bright green forest is behind them.
The delegation smiles with organizers from ACODET after their conversation about the struggle against the Xalalá Dam.

It's calendar season!

NISGUA's 2020 calendar, "Art as Resistance," showcases beautiful photos from Guatemala and the U.S.-Mexico border. Each month highlights an example of how art is resistance and resistance is art. Sales of this calendar directly support NISGUA's program work, building mutually beneficial ties between the people of the U.S. and Guatemala to strengthen the global movement for justice.
Are you interested in purchasing calendars as gifts for colleagues, friends, or family? Check out our bulk pricing options and contact calendars@nisgua.org or call us at 510-763-1403 to place your bulk order! 
Three sets of hands work together to weave a brightly colored traditional Maya fabric.

Photo credit: Gregory Rawrysz, Santiago Atitlan, Sololá, 2018

For nearly four decades, NISGUA has supported Guatemalans resisting U.S. imperialism, militarization, and extractivism, the same forces that often drive people from their homes. Please donate today to support our continued accompaniment, advocacy, and political education.
Sarasuadi Ochoa
Guatemala Accompaniment Project Coordinator
With the entire NISGUA team: Bridget, Claire, and Meredith

P.S. Interested in ways to get involved in NISGUA? Check out our Take Action page today!
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