PBI-Guatemala accompanies Marcelino Xol Cucul and Jorge Coc from the CCDA at a court hearing
On Friday June 14, the PBI – Guatemala Project accompanied Marcelino Xol Cucul and Jorge Coc from the Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA) at a court hearing in the city of Cobán.
PBI-Guatemala has explained, “The CCDA is a peasant organization that accompanies and advises communities, mostly indigenous, that fight for access to land and ownership to create dignified living conditions in the face of eviction and dispossession of their lands where these communities have lived for many generations.”
Cafe Justicia further explains that the CCDA “was founded in 1982 as an organization that works to defend the rights of workers on large coffee, sugar and cotton plantations, to recover lands taken from the Mayan communities over the past centuries, and to promote and recover Mayan culture and spirituality.”
Last year, Front Line Defenders noted that several members of CCDA, including Marcelino and Jorge, “have been detained and are facing criminalization processes, including long criminal procedures plagued with irregularities.”
Before the start of the hearing last week, Marcelino and Jorge were allegedly threatened by members of the Cooperativa Chilté.
Prensa Comunitaria has reported that the Chilté Cooperative was “formed by a group of businessmen from the region through paramilitaries.”
PBI-Guatemala explains, “There is a conflict of more than 10 years between the two communities.”
In June 2017, the Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative (IM-Defensoras) noted that members of the Chilté Cooperative had intimidated members of the CCDA over disputed land in the community of Choctún in Nuevo Centro.
PBI-Guatemala notes, “We express our concern for the safety of the two companions and their families.”
In the very short period of time between May 9 and June 8, 2018, five members of the CCDA and two members of CODECA (the Campesino Development Committee) were killed.
After those deaths, the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) reported, “CCDA and CODECA, represent the two campesino-Indigenous organizations that have most actively supported community struggles and most consistently challenged successive governments.”
It also noted, “Both groups have worked tirelessly … presenting legal injunctions against extractive projects, organizing regular highway blockades, supporting land occupations, and demanding the resignation of presidents in the wake of corruption scandals…”
PBI-Guatemala began accompanying the CCDA in July 2018.