URGENT: Thousands of Guatemalan Police Attack, Burn Down Indigenous Villages
November 1, 2017
The GSP calls for solidarity as thousands of police are currently attacking indigenous Q’eqchi’ communities in Guatemala. Please take whatever action you can (suggestions below)
We are working with our partners on the ground and will be sending out further details in the coming days. Yesterday, over 1,000 police attacked the community Chaab’il Ch’och’ in Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala, in what the government is calling a “legal eviction.” Homes were burned and people are missing.
This morning the community La Cumbre Sa’kuxha in Tactic, Alta Verapaz was attacked by police who also attempted to arrest community leaders. As of the moment it appears that community leaders were able to escape. However, all homes in the community were destroyed. Indigenous and peasant leaders are currently attempting to negotiate a return tomorrow to harvest their corn in order to at least temporarily hold off starvation.
It appears that the government is planning to attack dozens of q’eqchi’ communities in the coming days. We will be coordinating with our partners in Guatemala in the coming hours and days and sending out updates about this horrifying situation. Please take action in solidarity with these communities in any way that you can. Some suggestions:
1) Contact the Guatemala Embassy in Washington, DC. Because their military is armed and trained by the US and the resources they steal from indigenous communities are primarily sold in the US, the Guatemalan elite are concerned about their public image in the US and have occasionally responded to public pressure. Contact Yanira Gutierrez at Ygutierrez@guatemala-embassy.org or 202-745-4953 (If you call please ask to speak with consular Yanira Gutierrez)
“Dear Consular Gutierrez,
I am contacting you to call for an immediate end to attacks against indigenous q’eqchi’ communities in Guatemala. I know that on October 31 police attacked and burned down the q’eqchi’ village Chaab’il Ch’och’ in Livingston, Izabal and on November 1 police “evicted” and destroyed homes in the community La Cumbre Sa’kuxha in Tactic, Alta Verapaz. I understand that the government is threatening to destroy dozens of q’eqchi’ communities in the coming days. These violent evictions are a clear violation of Guatemalan and international law. I ask you to make every effort to let the authorities know that the world is watching and that they must end this racist violence immediately. Please let me know any more information you have about this. I will continue to monitor the situation.
2) Donate to the GSP. We are a volunteer-run organization and all donations go to our partners. Donations are tax-deductible in the US. There is an URGENT need for medical and related support resulting from government attacks.
3) Join our urgent action email list to receive updates and participate in ongoing actions. To join our urgent action list email email@example.com with “Add to urgent action list” in the subject line, and we will let you know of important actions to take immediately after emergencies such as the arrest of a community leader or an attack on a community.