| Graham Hunt
In a press conference carried out in Guatemala City on July 12, 2011, community leaders presented the following:
PUBLIC DECLARATION OF THE MAM AND KICHE’ PEOPLES OF
THE DEPARTMENT OF QUETZALTENANGO, GUATEMALA
The municipalities of the Mam territory of Quetzaltenango: Huitán, Cajolá, San Miguel Siguilá San Juan Ostuncalco, San Martín Sacatepéquez and Concepción Chiquirichapa; members of the Maya Mam Council of Guatemala (Consejo Maya Mam de Guatemala), the Mam High Council of Guatemala (Consejo Mayor Mam de Guatemala), and the Kiche’ People of the municipality of Olintepeque, are members of the Council of Peoples of the West (Consejo de Pueblos de Occidente CPO). To the national and international public opinion, we manifest:
As a practice of our values and a fundamental respect towards our Peoples, we have carried out good faith community referenda in our municipalities, in which we have manifested our resounding rejection of the mining exploration and exploitation, hydroelectric plants and other megaprojects intended for our territories. These projects constitute a new form of invasion like that which took place 518 years ago.
The false “Development” that successive governments present to us, in complicity with national and international companies, is nothing more than a clear form of dispossession of our natural resources which takes advantage of our impoverished condition and the lack of information of our peoples; it turns us on one another and divides our brothers.
We have come to confirm our decision and political position, our right to self-determination with regards to our territories as indigenous peoples; we ratify that community referenda constitute an ancestral principle of participation and decision-making, in accordance with our customs and traditions, recognized by national laws and international conventions.
To the Guatemalan government, we demand respect for the will of our peoples as expressed in our community referenda.
We demand that this government and those that are to come implement a new economic model, in harmony with the natural environment and which respects our cosmovision and the legitimate demands of original Peoples.
We demand that the Constitutional court grant a definitive injunction halting the attempt by the government and some irresponsible sectors to regulate community referenda, which represents to us a clear attempt to disqualify the decision of 57 municipalities that have carried out their own community referenda , as well as to confuse and restrict the spirit of referenda and the rights associated with their carrying out.
We call on the Guatemalan People in general and the international community to join with us and, in solidarity, to assert our legitimate rights and to construct a new model of life in which all may live well.
IN DEFENSE OF OUR MOTHER EARTH
MAYA MAM COUNCIL AND KICHE’ PEOPLE OF QUETZALTENANGO
B’eljuj B’e, Kab’lajuj B’e
Tnam te Paxil July 9, 2011