Photo essay: Guatemala -- Indigenous, peasant and popular march arrives in Guatemala City

Text and photos by James Rodriguez, Guatemala City, Guatemala

March 27, 2012 --, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- After nine days and 212 kilometres, the Indigenous, Campesino and Popular March for the Defence of Mother Earth, against evictions, criminalisation and in favour of integrated rural development, arrived to the centre of the capital city. According to members of the Committee for Campesino Unity (CUC), it is estimated that about 15,000 people participated in the ninth and final day of the march.

Movement leaders issued a press statement, “Declaration of the March for Resistance and Dignity, in Defence of the Earth and Territory”, in which they made the following demands– reiterations of longstanding grievances of the Indigenous and campesinos in Guatemala.

  • Elimination of agrarian debt imposed by the state on farmers; a just redistribution of land, allowing farmers at least a terrain to provide subsistence crops.
  • Termination of forced relocations, in particular the ongoing problem in the Polochic Vally, Alta Verapaz, where hundreds of families were violently evicted from their homes to make way for African palm and sugar plantations in March of 2011.
  • End to persecution and criminalisation of Indigenous people fighting for their rights, including the eight Indigenous women of San Miguel Ixtahuacán who have orders for capture for speaking out against the Marlin Mine.
  • Cancellation of the concessions for mining, petroleum, hydroelectric projects and monoculture agriculture.
  • Approval of the bills in Congress benefiting poor and Indigenous communities, including Bill 4087, the Law for Community Media, that would legalise community radio.

Version en español aquí.