PBI-Guatemala accompanies Retalhuleu water defenders criminalized by sugar mills at court hearing

Published by Brent Patterson on

On April 25, PBI-Guatemala posted:

“PBI accompanies the members of the Council of Communities of Retalhuleu in an intermediate stage hearing. This criminalization process for defending access to water began more than 4 years ago and has seen 14 suspensions of hearings in progress. Sugar mills monopolize water through the extraction and diversion of rivers to irrigate their monocultures, leaving the surrounding communities without water.”

Sugarcane production uses large amounts of water. To get that water, sugar mills divert rivers and drill wells. This impacts the availability of water for local communities. The production methods can also result in the pollution of water.

Organizing against this has resulted in the criminalization of these water protectors.

Notably, Canada is the largest importer of Guatemalan sugar. That sugar arrives in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal and is found in food and beverage products.

Recent PBI webinar

On March 13, Abelino Salvador Mejía Cancino from the Council of Communities of Retalhuleu (CCR) joined a Peace Brigades International-Canada organized webinar on Defending the right to water from harm by the sugar industry in Guatemala.

The webinar was hosted by PBI-Canada Board member Marianna Tzabiras and also featured Kerstin Reemtsma from PBI-Guatemala.

You can watch the Facebook video of that webinar (mostly in Spanish) by clicking here.

To hear the audio for Abelino’s introductory comments in English (a 14-minute audio file from the Zoom webinar), please click below.


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