PBI-Guatemala visits Maya Q’eqchi river defender Bernardo Caal Xol in Cobán prison

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo from previous PBI-Guatemala visit with Caal Xol in prison. 

In its most recently monthly information package, PBI-Guatemala notes that it visited Maya Q’eqchi river defender Bernardo Caal Xol in prison.

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 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.

PBI-Guatemala reports: “With regard to the Peaceful Resistance, Cahabón, we continue to monitor the situation of its members and to pay close attention to the situation of criminalized defender Bernardo Caal Xol, who we visited at the preventive center in Cobán and spoke with him about the current status of his case.”

PBI-Guatemala adds: “We are currently following up on his health, as he had to be transferred to the Regional Hospital of Cobán due to medical complications halfway through the month. According to Barnardo, these complications are a consequence of the criminalization and imprisonment process he has been suffering for the last three years.”

In one of Caal Xol’s recent letters from prison, he wrote: “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.”

To read the monthly information packages from PBI-Guatemala, please click here.

PBI-Guatemala has accompanied the Resistance since July 2017.


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