Friday, May 11, 2012

We are all Barillas - Statement of the Western Peoples' Council

Unofficial translation by NISGUA
Comunicado original en español

¡In Defense of Life, Territory, Mother Earth and the collective Rights of our Peoples!

No to the submission of the Guatemalan state to multinational companies.  Yes to life.

Our indigenous brothers and sisters around the world
And the national and international public

Our people have a long history of ongoing struggle to defend Mother Earth in the face of multinational companies that operate with the support of the Guatemalan state apparatus.  This situation in the country worsened on May 1 with the continuation of a plan of repression against community resistance.

Nine days have passed since the cowardly assassination of community leader Andrés Francisco Miguel and the attack on Pablo Antonio Pablo and Esteban Bernabé Gaspar, two others leaders who were injured. Security personnel from Hidro Santa Cruz Anonymous Society, in charge of the Cambalam I project, caused the attack.  Once again, institutions in charge of investigations to identify and prosecute the material and intellectual authors of this crime have failed to act quickly to comply with the Rule of Law.

This catalyzing incident led the government to decree a State of Siege and to reposition the Army and the National Civil Police Force to protect company interests as part of a pre-established plan.  Over the course of the past nine days, government forces have once again installed a state of terror, displacement and pillage in Q'anjob'al territory, as well as other communities and adjoining indigenous territories.  Communities have suffered numerous types of abuses.  Fundamental human rights, both individual and collective, have been curtailed and violated.

The establishment of a State of Siege only demonstrates the incapacity of state institutions to promote the participation of the [nation's] most marginalized communities in integral processes to guarantee their own well-being and uphold their basic rights.

We hold the military government of Otto Pérez Molina responsible for acting in complicity with the Hidro Santa Cruz, S.A., a company that has, in numerous ways, disrupted the harmony, peace and ways of community life.   The State of Siege, with raids, arrests and the sacking of family belongings, has once again forced [the population] to emigrate from their communities looking for refuge in other departments and in Mexico.  The brutal actions carried out recently exceed those employed during the armed conflict, while at the same time confirming their continuity.  Leaders have been detained despite the lack of evidence to incriminate them.  The Public Prosecutor's Office and the judges should release [these individuals] immediately, as two of our sisters have already been released.

The re-militarization of our indigenous territories constitutes a gross violation of international humanitarian laws ratified by the Guatemalan state and of the Peace Accords, which the president himself signed.

We, as indigenous peoples, along with broader social movements, have contributed to a proposed alternative model founded in the appropriate, equitable and responsible use of natural resources.  The proposal has continuously been refused in order to prioritize the voracity of the neoliberal model violently imposed upon us.

As the Western Peoples' Council:

1. We stand in solidarity with our brother ANDRÉS FRANCISCO MIGUEL and we demand that the state and the company compensate his family.  The blood he shed in Poza Verde will not remain in impunity.  His story feeds and strengthens our fight for the construction of a new dawn for our peoples.

2. We stand in solidarity with our wounded brothers Pablo Antonio Pablo, Esteban Bernabé Gaspar, the 15 people arbitrarily detained and the families who have had to flee and seek refuge locally and internationally.

3. We call upon our brothers and sisters of the municipality of Barillas to maintain their unity and conviction in the struggle for the defense of our territories as a legacy of our grandfathers and grandmothers.

4. We demand respect for life, an end to the pillaging of our Mother Earth, the cancellation of the State of Siege, and an official declaration that the mining law is unconstitutional.

5. We denounce the deputies of the Congress of the Republic who ratified the State of Siege as accomplices in the violation of constitutional order.

6. We request that the Constitutional Court reestablish sua sponte the constitutional order in Santa Cruz Barillas that was violated by the State of Siege.

7. We call for unity and the permanent defense of our territories, because history has demonstrated that what happens today in Barillas, will happen tomorrow across the nation.

Hero and martyr in our peoples' struggle in defense of Mother Earth.

Chnab’jul, Huehuetenango, May 9, 2012

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