PBI-Guatemala accompanied Maya Q’eqchi defender Bernardo Caal Xol writes from prison about dams and dispossession
Bernardo Caal Xol is a leader of the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón, a collective of 38 Maya Q’eqchi communities in Guatemala.
The resistance was formed to oppose the construction of the Oxec and Renace dams on the Cahabón River and its tributaries in the department of Alta Verapaz.
In November 2018, Caal Xol was sentenced to seven years and four months by a court on allegations that lack objective evidence. Amnesty International has declared that Caal Xol is a prisoner of conscience who has been wrongfully imprisoned.
On December 6, Caal Xol posted: “And where do they carry the electrical energy produced by the rivers of Alta Verapaz?”
In a series of tweets, he adds:
“The department of Alta Verapaz inhabited by the Q’eqchi ‘people; its rivers sequestered and piped to make hydroelectric power plants work. However, Q’eqchi’ communities do not have electricity, remain in darkness, they continue to use the famous ‘candle’.
And then, where is the electrical energy taken? This is called: dispossession, exclusion, discrimination and racism.
Recently, the company ‘Cobra’ of Florentino Pérez, president of the Real Madrid Club, Spain, built several hydroelectric plants on the Cahabón river, carrying the sacred Cahabón river in a tunnel for his torture and murder.
In the vicinity where the ecocide was committed, by Florentino, with the passage of tropical storms ETA and IOTA, it left large floods because the rainwater no longer found its underground passage that has had it for thousands of years.
These days some analysts speak of the crisis of the State, for the native peoples, the State has always kept us in poverty and crisis in the face of the dispossession of our natural resources.
Bernardo Caal Xol
1039 days of prison torture for invoking ILO Convention 169 prior consultation before imposition of hydroelectric projects in Q’eqchi ‘territory.“
His handwritten letter can also be read in full on Facebook here.
To read a timeline of the struggle against the Oxec and Renace dams and the criminalization of Bernardo Caal Xol, please click here.
PBI-Guatemala has accompanied the Resistance since July 2017.