Urgent: Indigenous Guatemalan Organizers and Family Attacked in Home, then in Hospital
September 6, 2016
The GSP is calling for solidarity with renowned q’eqchi’ activist and organizer Esteban Hermelindo Cux after masked men attacked him and his family in their home in Panzos, Guatemala on September 2. Esteban and several family members were injured, there home was vandalized and windows were shattered by rocks and bullets. Community leader Fredy Qib also received significant facial wounds and is recuperating in the hospital.
Members of the criminal gang later attempted to assault Qib in the hospital, and have threatened to return and kill Cux and members of his family. They are armed with assault rifles and grenades and are an immediate threat to the lives of Cux, Qib, their family members, and others in the area associated with the Committee of Peasant Unity.
The GSP has worked closely with Cux for many years. He can be seen speaking on multiple occasions during our 2011 video about the US-backed State of Siege in the Panzos region:
The first community in which Cux is speaking in the video was later attacked and burned down by hundreds of Guatemalan soldiers. It is probable that this week’s attempt against Cux’s life is a continuation of systematic repression against indigenous peoples in Guatemala.
This is not the first time that Cux’s life has been threatened. His passionate, committed defense of indigenous and environmental justice has made him an enemy of national and international elite who are pillaging indigenous lands in Guatemala. Yet this attack on him and his family shocks and sickens us.
The Guatemalan government has refused to take the case seriously and/or are supporting the attacks. We ask for immediate international solidarity to demand the arrest of those responsible, and protection for Cux and Qib. Please contact your nearest Guatemalan Embassy or Consulate. If you will be in Guatemala and are interested in joining us in direct solidarity with Cux and other indigenous leaders, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Please also consider making a donation through our website. We are a volunteer-run organization and all donations go directly to our partners to be used for medical costs resulting from attacks, access to clean water, support for political prisoners and other efforts prioritized by our partners.
Sample message to the Embassy of Guatemala in Washington, DC:
My name is _______________ and I am contacting you with great concern for the immediate safety of Esteban Hermelindo Cux and Fredy Qib of Panzos, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. They are indigenous leaders who were attacked and injured on September 2 and continue to receive death threats. It is believed the assailants have assault rifles, grenades and other weapons and are planning another attack, yet it appears the Guatemalan government has not taken action to protect the lives of Cux and Qib. These two men are organizing nonviolently to protect indigenous people and the environment, and I hope the Guatemalan government is not on the side of the thugs who attacked them. I call on the Guatemalan government to take immediate action to arrest those responsible for these attacks, as well as to protect the lives of Cux and Qib. I will continue to monitor the situation.