Deep international outrage at the violent aggression against indigenous leaders and communicators in Totonicapán, Guatemala
Yesterday, September 22, Andrea Ixchiú, Lucía Ixchiú, Gabriela Ixchiú and Carlos Cano, members of the movement Festivales Solidarios, were violently attacked verbally and physically by members of illegal logging gangs. This aggression took place while our sisters from Festivales Solidarios were making a documentary about the situation in the Pacotom Communal Forest in the Alto de Totonicapán area.
During the aforementioned audiovisual recording activity in the communal forest, the members of Festivales Solidarios noticed the presence of a group of 3 illegal loggers, a fact that they reported to CONAP (National Council of Protected Areas) of Guatemala, who responded to the call and detained the red handed loggers. Upon their return, the members of Festivales Solidarios were intercepted by a pick-up truck, from which two people armed with machetes came down and threatened CONAP employees to release the detainees. The members of Festivales Solidarios recorded the events with their cell phones and cameras and were threatened and physically assaulted. The group of loggers were forcibly released and fled the site.
In a statement from Festivales Solidarios they reiterate that their members were indeed beaten and that they are safe and have filed the corresponding reports. We join the call to the authorities of the 48 cantons of Totonicapán, to the PCN and the MP, to take action on this incident perpetrated in the communal forest of Totonicapán. In the same manner, we want to call on the international community to accompany the defenders of communal, indigenous, Afro-descendant, and campesino territories, who from their task of telling the collective truth, exercising their right to communicate, and defending the dignity of life, have their physical integrity compromised. We reiterate our solidarity with the Independent and Community Media, which have been systematically affected by the repression against freedom of expression and information.
Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Cine and
Comunicación de los Pueblos Indígenas (CLACPI).