“The death toll of last week’s massacre of Maya K’iche protesters in Totonicapán continues to increase, with reports of up to 8 or 9 killed; at least 6 of the 34 people injured in the attack remain hospitalized. Initial evidence, as well as eye-witness testimony, confirms the denunciation of the 48 communities of Totonicapán that military and police forces fired on the unarmed protesters. In addition to now iconic photos showing a bloodied protester surrounded by security forces and Guatemalan military personnel with weapons aimed at crowd level, the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman’s office reported that shell casings from the Israeli Galil machineguns used by the Guatemalan army were found at the scene of the massacre. The government continues to claim that a private security guard initiated the violence and that soldiers sent to the scene of the protest fired in the air in self defense.”
This continues on Cascadia Solidaria here
NISGUA have helpfully noted the meaning of the 48 communities of Totonicapán. ‘The autonomous government of Totonicapán is an ancestral structure of the K'iche Maya that has endured for hundreds of years, coordinating the indigenous mayorships of 48 communities, exercising self-governance in matters including environmental management and security, and mediating local conflicts. Protest leader Carmen Tacám, at 27 years old, is its first woman President. The economic importance of the highlands roads which wind through the mountain passes of Totonicapán, and the political unity of the communities, has led its prior representatives to proclaim, "When Totonicapán rises, the country shakes."
The demonstration was called in protest of the rising price of electricity, which the communities argue is being manipulated illegally in benefit of private corporations, and against top-down proposals for constitutional and educational reform about which indigenous communities have not been consulted. A majority stake in the electricity company was acquired last year by a British private equity firm, ACTIS. There was no mention of the events on their website – certainly no press release. Maybe they haven’t heard.