We gave a short explanation of the 48 Cantons of Totonicapán previously which you can read here
. In brief it is the autonomous government of Totonicapán, which 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.
We here reproduce a letter from the 48 Cantons to the President of Guatemala which was kindly translated into English by Christina Hewitt. We found the original on albedrío here
Letter to the President of Guatemala from 48 Cantons
by the Association of the 48 Cantons of Totonicapán - Guatemala, 31 October 2012
“Uchuq’ab’ Tinimit Chwimeq’ena’ arè ri K’ax k’ol ” (The Power of the Totonicapán People is in Action)
MR PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUATEMALA.
THE ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY LEADERS AND THE COUNCIL OF LEADERS OF THE 48 CANTONS OF TOTONICAPÁN, IN REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE OF TOTONICAPÁN, COMMUNICATE TO YOU THROUGH THIS LETTER:
That in representation of the people of Totonicapán, we state before you and before the national and international public that on this day the 29 October 2012 the delegation appointed by you consisting of Fernando Carrera, Miguel Ángel Barcarcel, Edgar Gutiérrez and Susan Batres, presented themselves before the Association and Assembly of Community Leaders of the 48 Cantons to inform them of proposed reforms to the Political Constitution of the Republic, on this basis. We want to make it absolutely clear, so that you can take it into account and communicate it correctly to the public, that at no time did we accept such reforms, nor are we conveying any sort of opinion on such reforms, nor does any of the information put forward to us constitute any sort of consultation process conducted in good faith with the assembly of community leaders and the Association of Community Leaders of the 48 Cantons of Totonicapán, as required by Convention No. 169 of 1989 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries. In addition, we reject the reforms presented to us.
We understand that this week some interest has been shown by the Congress of the Republic to approve the legislation containing the constitutional reforms that you are promoting. We ask that members of parliament suspend the passing of this legislation definitively as such action cannot be taken when you have, until now, imposed the information about said reforms on the population without a proper consultation process.
We are aware of the need to reform the social contract; however, these reforms are not those that the State needs. In addition, by passing these reforms you attempt to consolidate the hegemonic power of a small group of people over the rest of the population. For this reason, we reiterate our rejection of such reforms. We also reject the proposal presented on 4 October at the Presidential Palace. Our position is as follows: a No to the Constitutional Reforms; a No to the Education Reform, and we hope for a favourable resolution on the issue of Electric Power.
Additionally, we are profoundly sad that Mr Domingo Pablo Puac Vásquez from the Chipuac community, situated within the municipality and department of Totonicapán, who has been missing since 4 October of this year when the Army, of which you are General Commander, massacred our Maya Quiché brothers who were taking part in a peaceful public demonstration at Km 170, a legal right as guaranteed in the Political Constitution of the Republic, was found dead on Saturday 27 October of this year. The causes and perpetrators of his death have not yet been ascertained and as such, we cannot enter into discussions as the government that you represent is not fair and honest. In addition, we ask that you clarify the circumstances leading to the death of yet another victim of your government’s repression. For this reason, we ask the international community to join us and guarantee our safety, as we do not trust in national security offered by the state.
FOR THE PEOPLE OF TOTONICAPÁN
REPRESENTED BY THE COUNCIL OF INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY LEADERS OF THE 48 CANTONS.
ASSOCIATION OF THE 48 CANTONS