Criminalized Maya Q’eqchi’ defenders in court over land taken for military base in Guatemala

Published by Brent Patterson on

“This land is ours”

On September 8, CasoCreompaz tweeted:

“Announcement. Today begins the Trial against 21 companions of the community of #Chicoyogüito criminalized for demanding the return of their territory in a peaceful demonstration. #Chicoyogüito Is Ours.”

Background

The Indigenous Q’eqchi’ community of Chicoyogüito was violently displaced on July 28, 1968, from their ancestral lands so that an army base – then known as Military Zone 21 – could be established in the department of Alta Verapaz.

After the displacement of the community, the military base became a clandestine centre for illegal detention, torture, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearance, and rape committed from 1978 to 1990.

At least 565 Indigenous people were disappeared at that base. The bodies identified are of Mayan Achí, Q’eqchi’, Pomochí, Ixil, and Kiché peoples.

The military base is considered the largest clandestine cemetery in Latin America.

The military base that displaced his community was rebranded in 2004 as Creompaz, a training base for UN peacekeepers funded by Canada and other countries.

Dawn Paley has written: “Regardless of the mass graves at the base, military and police training continues there, supported by countries like the US and Canada.” The support from Canada has included a CAD$250,000 grant in 2009 and the purchase of specialized equipment in 2014 for a training program at Creompaz.

On July 15, 2021, Olivia and Domingo,  members of AVECHAV, highlighted on a PBI-Canada webinar: “We know Canada has provided a lot of support for [the Creompaz peacekeeping base on our land]. But where is the peace that they say they are creating?”

On September 15, 2021, Domingo also presented to Seb Bonet’s 4th year students at the University of Victoria about the situation for this community.

PBI-Guatemala has accompanied the Chicoyogüito Neighborhood Association of Alta Verapaz (AVECHAV) since 2015.

We continue to follow this situation.

Categories: News Updates

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