PBI-Guatemala interviews Indigenous land defender Bernardo Caal Xol on the 2-year anniversary of his imprisonment

Published by Brent Patterson on

The Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project has posted, “On January 30, 2020, Q’eqchi’ leader Bernardo Caal Xol served two years in prison. In this video he comments about his situation and the right to consultation.”

That 4-minute video (in Spanish) can be seen here.

Tz’ikin reports, “The Community Assembly for the Defense of the Cahabón River and the immediate Freedom of Bernardo Caal Xol took place in the municipality of Santa María Cahabón in the morning hours of Saturday, February 1.”

“Around two hundred people from the communities that make up the Peaceful Resistance for the Defense of the Cahabón River were present to express their rejection of the hydroelectric projects that still continue in the area that ancestorically belongs to the Mayan people q’eqchi ‘of Chi k’ajb ‘om.”

That article highlights, “During the Assembly, an emotional letter was read that Bernardo Caal wrote from the prison in Cobán where he has already been 2 years of unjust prison, where among other things he mentions:

‘In these two years of prison torture, I thank with all my heart the accompaniment and solidarity of the national and international community. They have not abandoned me and they have denounced the criminalization towards the Q’eqchi ‘People and against me.’”

Land Rights Now adds, “The Cahabón River plays a spiritual role in the life of 195 Q’eqchies communities in the municipality of Santa María de Cahabón, in the department of Alta Verapáz.”

“Currently this river is exploited by seven hydroelectric projects that have left the destruction of primary forests and hills that are sacred to the inhabitants. As if that were not enough, the communities that today fight for the river, currently do not enjoy the benefits of electricity and are increasingly affected their access to water.”

PBI-Guatemala has accompanied the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón since July 2017.

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