The Death Machine

from Radio Mundo Real

Translated from Spanish by Thomas Walker / Earth First! Newswire

Peasants in Guatemala cultivate "private" land.

Peasants in Guatemala cultivate “private” land.

In August of 2013, a hitman contracted by the company Hidro Santa Rita murdered two Mayan Quechan boys, eleven and thirteen years old respectively, from the Monte Olivo community in Coban, Guatemala, while aiming to kill David Chen, a community leader that is resisting the company’s project, which is connected to the United States company Duke Energy.  The terror did not stop there, and already in the end of 2013, Carlos Guitz Pop, a peasant of the area that is also resisting the project, was shot and left paraplegic.  We share the testimony of his brother Alvaro Guitz Pop, interviewed by Eric Hernandez of Ceiba-Amigos from Guatemalan Earth.

Carlos Isaías Guitz Pop took the hardest hit of his life.

Carlos Isaías Guitz Pop, 29 years old, native of Yaxcabnal near Aldeia Monte Olivo in the city of Coban, actually lives in his mother’s house.  Carlos Isaías dedicated himself to cultivate the earth that his father left, with the goal of supporting his mother and his siblings.

On November 8, 2013, the life of Carlos Isaías, his family, and all the families of the village changed drastically.  That day Carlos Isaías and his older brother, Julio Cesar Guitz Pop, left to work the earth just like any other day.  Unfortunately, they had to go through a farm, which had been sold to the Hidro Santa Rita Company, to do their job.

The Xalaha’ Cangunic farm is supposedly property of David Leonel Ponce Ramirez, located a few miles from Aldea Monte Olivo.  Some of the property has been sold to the Hidro Santa Rita, where they have planned construction of a hydroelectric plant.  This company has caused much pain and suffering for the families of Aldea Monte Olivo, as well as families of other communities and towns.

In the context of the need for survival and, most importantly, access to the land, a group of approximately twenty-five families that need to cultivate the land decided to expropriate and occupy the land that supposedly belonged to Ponce Ramirez.  Unfortunately, knowing the history of the country of Guatemala in terms property, land, and dispossession suffered by the Mayan people, David Leonel Ponce Ramirez and his two sons decided to evict the family without a warrant.

They arrived, accompanied by armed security guards, where the families had been constructing badges for their kids, with the intention of finding and retrieving the land to work and grow food for kids and families.  The farmer, his sons, and security guards, all armed with high caliber weapons, confronted the unarmed families.

There, they destroyed all of housing and the little that the families had to survive, shooting everywhere with the intention to kill all of the families.  They hit and injured children, youth, and men.

On that day, Carlos Isaías and his brother Julio Cesar Guitz Pop were invited by leaders that were being affected by the illegal eviction that had provoked the owner since they were already passing through the area.

The community leaders took advantage of Carlos and Julio, who were passing back through the evacuated area.  When Carlos and Julio came to the area, six armed men opened fire.  In the shooting, Carlos was hit by one of the bullets, which passed through his internal organs and medulla.  Since then, Carlos has not been able to walk.

Days later, one of Carlos’s brothers tried to file a complaint with the police, but they were not accepted.  Until now, there has been no criminal prosecution against those responsible for the action.

Carlos has been in the public hospital for more than a month, with the support of various organization, especially the Frente Popular, as well as other people that are collaborating in the case.  On December 12 he returned to the hospital, and since then has not received any treatment.  The doctors suggest that he receive physical therapy in order to walk, but presently he is bed-ridden or in a wheel chair.


Carlos is presently in Coban, Alta Verapaz, and has decided to start his rehabilitation.  He is requesting solidarity through financial and material support, since it will be about three months before he is healed.


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