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There has recently been exposed that there is a discredit and intimidation campaign against the Committee of Peasant Unity (CUC) in Guatemala. The CUC is a member of La Via Campesina International, which "has been historically rejected by the economic sector and the militaries during the years of war", Rafael Gonzales, leader of the organization, told Real World Radio.
The CUC is currently demanding land and rural development through a bill submitted before Congress. Gonzales said the military government of Otto Perez understands their bill as an agrarian reform, while they seek a reform on the use of land and on the forms to acquire land.
They have made remarks against the CUC by using "sectors that speak against it, including media operators, the press, etc."
There are arrest warrants against community leaders, besides the media campaign against them. Some of them have been killed. Gonzales believes this is not coincidental. There is an indigenous and peasant bloc opposing the installation of mining corporations and monoculture plantations. “They are against us because they want to bring the fight to the media, by means of threats, accusations, persecution”.
The CUC has filed a demand before the human rights attorney saying that the threats and libel are damaging the organization and the people feel intimidated. This is like going back to the times when the Army persecuted people in the 70s and 90s.
The leader concluded that “the international community and the people who are concerned about the human rights situation in countries like Guatemala should pay attention to the policies of these governments, because this is a military government, the president has blood in his hands, so we believe that unless there is international pressure they can do what they want and they are doing the opposite of what they promised in the campaign”.
Photo: Víctor Barro
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