Yesterday, Guatemalan National Civil Police and the Guatemalan army attempted to evict 93 Maya Q’eqchí families. Below, we are sharing a statement from our partner the Comité de Unidad Campesina (Peasant Unity Committee, CUC).
Attempted eviction in Chinebal, El Estor Izabal
July 21, 2021
Around 8:00 in the morning on July 21, 2021, a contingent of the armed forces of the National Civil Police and the Guatemalan Army, made up of 115 Civil National Police (PNC) patrols and 9 Army trucks, surrounded the Chinebal community, in El Estor Izabal, with the intention of evicting 93 Maya Q’eqchí families from said community. Faced with the threat of eviction from the community, the Human Rights Ombudsman (PDH) was present and entered the community together with the Public Ministry (MP), managing to establish a dialogue between the parties to prevent the eviction of families.
The Community of Chinebal has lived for more than 80 years in this territory, when neither roads nor highways existed, much less attention from the State. They have built their own development, ensuring the food security of their community, taking care of the forests, mountains and rivers. They have generated sources of employment and have fought, during all these years before the corresponding authorities, for the recognition of their lands. However; the racist government of Alejandro Giammattei threatens, intimidates and tries to evict this and other communities from their territories, burn their homes and belongings, as well as the destruction of their crops, responding to the interests of the oil palm company Naturaceites that has requested the eviction of these families, even though they are settled, is a territory, since the 1940s.
We denounced that while the eviction attempt was being carried out, around 10:30 in the morning, members of the PNC and the Army in attack formation and with threats demanded that the community destroy their own homes, otherwise they would use force to evict.
At the negotiation table, it was agreed to postpone today’s eviction by the Judge of the Court of Peace, Estor Izabal. With this, the PNC, Army and MP forces were withdrawn from the perimeter of the community, but they left a message threatening the eviction of the families of the Chinebal community.
From the Campesino Unity Committee (CUC), we denounce these violent acts against the Mayan Q’eqchi ‘families of the Chinebal community, and we demand the Giammattei government to cease its repressive policies against the communities and their families.
The country is immersed in a situation of health crisis derived from the mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic by this government, evicting 93 families from the Palestina Chinebal community places them in a high degree of vulnerability to the situation.
To the international community and the different bodies such as the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), we request that the Q’eqchí communities of the North of the country be constantly accompanied, in the face of the multiple threats and evictions that the Guatemalan government carries out against of this population.
Clear Head, Solidarity Heart and Combative Fist of the Farm Workers
Committee of Peasant Unity (CUC). Member of Waqib´ Kej, The Social and Popular Assembly, CLOC-VIA Campesina, ALBAMOVIMIENTOS and the International Assembly of the Iximulew Peoples