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Several social and popular organizations are supporting the struggle of Daniel Pascual Hernandez, a member of the Peasant Unity Committee of Guatemala (CUC, part of CLOC-VC), in light of the criminal proceedings filed against him by a former military officer.
In addition to an international campaign in solidarity and demanding the protection of this Guatemalan indigenous leader and peasant, last Friday there was a press conference in the capital city of the country.
Former military officer Ricardo Mendez Ruiz of the "Foundation against Terrorism" filed a complaint against Pascual for defamation and slander due to statements by Pascual that were distorted.
Several organizations, among them, peasant groups, cooperatives, women, youth and student organizations, the civil society, academics and the Guatemalan Community Radios Movement expressed their support to Daniel Pascual, who has been denouncing inequalities and has been demanding the respect and enforcement of human rights and the rights of indigenous people.
The organizations state that in addition to the objective risks against Pascual and his family in light of a public accusation, the aim is also to silence human rights defenders, peasants and indigenous people in the context of increasing conflicts in Guatemala.
In statements to Cadena Radial FGER, Pascual made connections with the former military officer who filed the complaint and the physical assaults against a CUC delegation in January in San Juan Sacatepéquez.
About his plaintiff, Pascual said that he is member of a military family linked to State terrorism in Guatemala and highlighted that the Foundation against Terrorism has been behind harassment, hate and racist attitudes towards peasant organizations and leaders.
"Men, women, indigenous people, non indigenous people, rural and urban workers could be imprisoned for speaking their minds", said Pascual. He added that the aim is to delegitimize CUC´s and his work that dates back to the mobilizations for the enforcement of the 1996 peace agreements, agrarian development laws and community claims.
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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