Rigoberto Juarez Mateo, a long-time Indigenous community activist from Santa Eulalia, Guatemala was arbitrarily arrested on March 24, 2015 in Guatemala City, while he was denouncing human rights violations against himself and his community. Rigoberto Juarez is a representative of the Pluri-national Government of the Q’anjob’al, Chuj, Akateka, Popti and Mestizo peoples, of Huehuetenango.
Saul Mendez with his family at a peaceful demonstration in Barillas in 2013.
Two Q’anjobal Maya community leaders who were imprisoned in Guatemala for the past two years, have finally been declared innocent and released. A regional criminal court in Guatemala found the two men to be absolved of all charges on October 28, 2015.
In April 2015, Cecilia Mérida, the partner of an environmental defender who was arrested and falsely charged and imprisoned in Guatemala testified at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.
On February 26th, 2015, three community leaders who oppose the building of a hydroelectric dam in Santa Cruz Barillas, Guatemala, were arrested under what community members insist are false charges.
The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, will hear the situation of Indigenous Maya communities living in Santa Cruz Barillas as they fight the Spanish company Hidralia Energy and its exploitative practices.
Traditional Mayan authorities from Huehuetenango, Guatemala traveled to Spain in early July on a tour to raise awareness about the systematic human rights abuses experienced by their peoples at the hands of Spanish companies including Hydro Santa Cruz, a hydroelectric company operating in Santa Cruz Barillas, Guatemala. The Plurinational Government of the Q’anjob’al, Chuj, Akateka, and Popti’ and Mestizo peoples of Huehuetenango, including a representative of the community of Santa Cruz Barillas, and Santa Eulalia, visited Madrid and Barcelona on their tour.
Over the last two weeks of May, residents of Santa Cruz Barillas, Guatemala have been surprised on three separate occasions by military presence in their communities. The area has been under high surveillance ever since a state of martial law was declared in the month of May 2012 and community members active against a hydro-electric dam were named “terrorists and drug traffickers” by the Perez Molina administration.
Eight Indigenous communities in northern Huehuetenango have joined together to defend their traditional territories against transnational projects.
On the morning of September 28, 2013, a military helicopter hovered over the Q’anjobal community of Santa Cruz Barillas, Huehuetenango. Mynor Lopez, a community leader in the resistance against the Hidro Santa Cruz hydroelectric project was captured and taken into custody by the police.