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Harassment by the judicial system, the media and paramilitary forces of communities resisting a cement plant and highway, also exerted on Daniel Pascual of the Peasant Unity Committee (Via Campesina) in Guatemala under Otto Perez Molina was recently denounced at international level in a press conference.
In Guatemala, the "Twelve Communities in Resistance" of San Juan Sacatepequez, Guatemala department, have carried out community consultations (May 13, 2007), peaceful marches (2009 and 2014), petitions of consultation under the Constitutional Court (January 2010), meetings with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples (2010), requests to meet with the President of the Republic (2013), among other resistance actions against the building of the regional highway that will go through the territories they inhabit.
The response by the State, the companies and stakeholders has been to criminalize, persecute, imprison, kidnap and murder community leaders, militarization, unfair sentences (150-year long), defamation and false accusations, states of emergency and payment of high sums in bails, intimidation, and the involvement of paramilitary groups.
The most extreme act of violence took place on September 19, the massacre in the Los Pajoques Community, San Juan Sacatepequez municipality, which resulted in the death of 8 people and 11 people injured. The official and business version is that the violence was started by the communities defending their territory, without mentioning that it is precisely the presence and projects of the cement company, in addition to the imposition, neglect and oppression of the government, which has given way to the high levels of conflict which did not exist before Cementos Progreso arrived in San Juan Sacatepequez.
This is added to accusations through false information against Daniel Pascual, leader of Via Campesina Guatemala and the Peasant Unity Committee, organization that has joined the resistance process against the cement company and the building of the highway.
On October 13 precisely, there was a press conference in the Guatemalan capital where the persisted criminalization of the organization was denounced at international level and protection measures of the integrity of their leaders were demanded.
La oposición a la minería debe entenderse como la lucha por los derechos que esa actividad no respeta, pues “cada derecho que se le otorga a una empresa, es un derecho que se le resta a una comunidad”, asegura el coordinador del Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina (OCMAL), César Padilla.
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