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Campaign Update – Guatemala: Sign Petition to Free Ruben Herrera

Another community leader from Santa Cruz Barillas, Huehuetenango has been captured by the Police and incarcerated in Guatemala City as a result of his outspoken opposition to the Spanish company Hidro Santa Cruz’s construction of a hydroelectric dam in the Q’anjob’al Mayan community. Rubén Herrera was captured on March 15th in the city of Huehuetenango, and charged with kidnapping, terrorism, coercion, arson, among many other crimes.

“The detention of Rubén Herrera is part of a strategy of persecution and terror conducted by the Spanish company Hidro Santa Cruz in alliance with the Guatemalan government, investors, and Spanish authorities to make sure that no one publicly opposes the construction of their hydroelectric project, ‘Cambalam’,” denounced the Western People’s Council or CPO.  Read their full release in Spanish, here.

The community calls on organizations and individuals nationally and internationally to sign onto a petition to free Rubén Herrera, along with the following demands:

  • Respect for our municipal and traditional authorities, since they are our legal and legitimate representatives in conformity with Convention 169 of the ILO.
  • That the decisions of our community consultations be respected, as stipulated by the UN representatives in Guatemala.
  • An end to the militarization of our territory as a means to intimidate our people.
  • The immediate withdrawal of the company Hidro Santa Cruz from our territory
  • The release and liberty of our political prisoners who have been illegally detained
  • That all charges against our community leaders be dropped and arrest warrants revoked.
  • An end to the threats, pressure, coercion and bribes towards community members to sign in approval of the company.
  • Immediate compensation to affected individuals

More than 20 community leaders remain threatened with or currently have criminal charges against them brought by the company.

To sign the petition, please send an email with your name, location, and (optionally) organization to
Use the subject line: “Firmo la petición para liberar a Ruben Herrera"

Learn more about our campaign to stop a dam on the sacred Q'am B'alam river in Santa Cruz Barillas: