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25 October 2011 | |

From Guatemala to Rome

Testimony on Guatemala’s peasant massacre before FAO’s Committee on Food Security

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The case of the eviction of peasant-indigenous communities in Valle del Polochic, Guatemala was presented before the Committee on Food Security as an example of massive human rights violations linked with the struggle for land and against the property of large estates in Mesoamerica.

Gustavo Pernilla Cachín of Guillermo Toriello Foundation explained government and civil society representatives the characteristics of this massacre that ended up in the killing of two community leaders to favour a land owner family.

Real World Radio reported in March that over 800 Mayan indigenous and peasant families that were occupying an unproductive plot of land were violently evicted by the military, the police and by mercenaries at the request of the owner.

Valle del Polochic is located in Alta Verapaz department, to the north of Guatemala. The eviction, even though previously announced, led to the provocation of peasant families through civil groups who, with the protection of public forces, entered the land destroying the populations and assaulting community leaders.

The expansion of agrofuels from sugar cane and others have increased the pressure on peasant and indigenous peoples who have been producing food in those parts of the country.

“This has changed the use of the soil, of rivers and native forests”, said Gustavo Pernilla Cachín.

“The violent eviction throws thousands of people from several communities into food insecurity” he insisted urging Alvaro Colom’s administration to comply with the demands of providing precautionary measures to protect the people affected.

Photo: Annelies Schorpion / Vía Campesina Europe

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