PBI-Guatemala accompanies UVOC at acquittal hearing for criminalized Poqomchi’ community leader David Maxena Caal

Published by Brent Patterson on

On October 26, PBI-Guatemala posted:

“#PBI accompanies UVOC [Verapaz Union of Campesino Organizations] at the hearing of notification of the acquittal for David Maxena.”

On October 18, UVOC posted on Facebook:

#URGENT Community is declared acquitted of the charge of aggravated usurpation.

This is the Mayan Poqomchi, former political prisoner David Alejandro Maxena, accused and unjustly imprisoned for defending human rights and his fight for the recovery of his ancestral land.

This day a Single Judge of Sentencing of Coban Alta Verapaz, acquitted of the charge of aggravated usurpation, thus proving his innocence during the sentencing process, David Alejandro, unjustly imprisoned for 9 months, will now return to his family in the Chintun Tucuru community, after to suffer humiliations for a false judicial accusation before an oppressive and racist system.

We appreciate the solidarity of all individuals, organizations, collectives and groups, who were aware of our colleague.

#TheEarthisOurAncestralHeritage #FreedomforDavidMaxena #FreedomForPoliticalPrisoner


Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a former UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, has given the example of “usurpation” as when “Indigenous peoples become trespassers or illegal occupants of their own lands.”

The National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Honduras further notes that the charge of “usurpation” is “used to criminalize and prosecute actions of social protest” of organizations that defend human rights.

UVOC has also posted:

This type of accusation and criminalization is due to the strategy of landowners and transactional companies, who have dispossessed the territory of the Poqomchi and Qeqchi’ Mayan people.

The accusation and criminalization, against the Defender of Human Rights and Mother Earth, originated from Hidroelectica Santa Teresa and Agropecuaria Shintun S.A. municipality of San Miguel Tucuru.

Santa Teresa hydroelectric dam

In January 2017, Avispa Midia explained: “In the case of the Santa Teresa hydroelectric plant, it belongs to the company Agro Comercializadora del Polochic, SA (AGROPOLOCHIC), a member of the CM [Corporacion Multi Inversiones] consortium.”

That article adds: “EGI Guatemala was involved in the construction of the Santa Teresa hydroelectric plant, located in the Polochic region, in the municipality of Tucurú, which is owned by the Agropolochic company, a member of the CM group.”

It further notes that EGI Guatemala is the main subsidiary of ENEL in Guatemala, which owns the El Canada hydroelectric dam. That dam has been described as a “controversial carbon finance project”.

The Santa Teresa dam is situated on the Polochic River, which discharges 70 per cent of the total freshwater input to Lake Izabal.

PBI accompaniment

PBI-Guatemala accompanied UVOC multiple times during the court process for Maxena, including visiting him in prison in April.

UVOC has 367 affiliated communities (about 50,000 families); 98 per cent of which are Indigenous Maya Q’eqchi’, Poqomchi’ and Achi.”

PBI-Guatemala has been accompanying UVOC since 2005.

“9 months in prison unjustly
Acquittal judgment in favor of David Alejandro Maxena
Enough of the persecution and criminalization against human rights defenders!”


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