Friday, June 10, 2011

Guatemalan community leader assassinated by agrofuel corporation



From long-time activist and Central Vermont native Palmer Legare, who's been living and working in Guatemala for several years:
From: Palmer Legare <palmerlegare@yahoo.com>
Date: June 10, 2011 3:11:09 PM EDT
Subject: [vcpj] Q'eqchi' community spiritual leader_assassinated_by_agrofuel_corporation_solidarity_needed

Friends,
The world has lost a great leader. But Maria Che's vision and courage lives on in the thousands of people she inspired.
Onward,
-palmer

GSP Condemns the Assassination of Spiritual and Community Leader Maria Margarita Che Chub

The Guatemala Solidarity Project (GSP) joins the communities of the Committee of Peasant Unity (CUC) in denouncing the assassination of q'eqchi' peasant leader Maria Margarita Che Chub. This murder is another act of terrorism by biofuel companies working in close collaboration with the Guatemalan government and international banks.

Maria Che was a midwife, a spiritual leader, a nonviolent activist and a mother. She was murdered in front of her children the night of Saturday, June 4, by unknown men who came and fled quickly on a motorcycle. Che had organized and spoken out in favor of the land rights of q'eqchi' communities in the Polochic Valley, a large valley in northeastern Guatemala.

Che had helped organize thousands of people in the valley in negotiations with the government and a biofuel company which is attempting to steal tens of thousands of acres in the region. On March 14 of this year, a meeting was held in Guatemala City as part of these negotiations. The next day over a thousand police, soldiers and paramilitaries began a series of violent evictions in which hundreds of homes and thousands of acres of basic grains were destroyed, and thousands of people were left homeless. During the attacks, community leader Antonio Beb Ac was murdered, although the government shamefully claims he tripped and hit his head on a rock.

On May 21 members of the biofuel company's private security force attacked communities in the region with snipers and helicopters, dropping grenades from above and murdering community member Oscar Reyes while injuring several others.

These and other acts of terrorism are causing great suffering in the Polochic Valley, all to clear the land for the production of agrofuels to run cars in wealthier nations. But those who have worked with Maria Che have made it clear that her murder will not achieve its purpose of silencing the q'eqchi' peasant movement. As CUC has said, the fallen blood of our sisters and brothers will feed our resistance and struggle to defend our right to life and to recuperate the Mother Earth.

Take Action:

1. Donate funds to support families left homeless by these violent evictions. Make a check out to "UPAVIM Community Development Foundation" and send to UPAVIM, c/o Laurie Levinger, 28 McKenna Rd, Norwich, VT 05055
Write the word "evictions" in the notes/memo section of your check to ensure that the funds will go to communities which have been attacked. Write the words "q'eqchi' legal support" to help indigenous communities access legal counsel in their own language, a difficult but important struggle. Or leave the notes/memo section blank and we will work with the communities to prioritize funding. All funds will go to our partners in Guatemala, the GSP takes no cut for salaries or administrative fees.

2. Donate digital cameras. The GSP is working with communities to document human rights violations and we have an urgent need for quality digital cameras. If you can help, please email us at solidaridadguatemala@yahoo.com for more information

3. Participate in upcoming delegations, human rights observing and human rights accompaniment in the Polochic Valley. The GSP will be organizing delegations in July and August. For more information contact us at solidaridadguatemala@yahoo.com People with experience and interest in film making, publishing articles, fund raising, translation, website editing and/or human rights accompaniment are prioritized.

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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

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