PBI-Guatemala expresses concern about massive police presence in El Triunfo, Retalhuleu

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo by REDSAG.

On April 15, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted: “PBI accompanies 4 criminalized defenders in the region and we are worried about the massive police presence in one of their communities.”

This refers to the four members of the Retalhuleu Community Council (CCR) that has been experiencing criminalization since 2018 for their work denouncing the adverse impacts produced by sugar mills in the region.

The statement of concern from PBI-Guatemala follows a post from REDSAG that says: “In the face of the recent events of repression and intimidation of the El Triunfo community in Champerico, Retalhuleu, we protest.”

REDSAG has also tweeted: “We denounce the repression and intimidation experienced by the El Triunfo community in Champerico, Retalhuleu due to the resistance they have had due to the high charges for electricity. At least 200 riot police are found on the outskirts of the community.”

Prensa Comunitaria further explains: “Since last February, south Coast villagers denounced the suspension of electricity service that affected 18 communities. Some of the villages they have paid for also do not have the service.”

That article adds: “[Energuate] personnel arrived this morning accompanied by dozens of [riot police], in order to remove the poles from the central line that connects electric power to other villages …According to the Community, what the villagers are asking for is the nationalization of electricity, due to the poor service provided by companies such as Energuate.”

And FGER further notes: “This Thursday 15, rioters intimidate the village’s population of El Triunfo.” According to CODECA: “Again foreign company ENERGUATE, along with a riot contingent tries to enter the community, other communities are starting to mobilize themselves to state and business repression.”

The statement below says:

Given the recent events of repression against the El Triunfo Community in Champerico, Retalhuleu

We manifest

That we reject the excessive use of public security forces against indigenous communities to protect the interests of private companies and we publicly denounce the flagrant violation of human rights of women, children, youth and the elderly in the El Triunfo community in Champerico.

State institutions, far from ensuring the collective well-being, put the physical and emotional health of community members at risk by transferring anti-riot elements to communities that suffered the internal armed conflict.

We demand the immediate withdrawal of the public security forces from the El Triunfo community, which instead of guaranteeing respect for human rights, violate communities and Indigenous peoples.

We continue to watch this situation with concern.

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