On September 22nd, Andréa Ixchíu, K’iche’ activist, journalist and Nobel Women’s Sister-to-Sister mentorship program alumni found illegal loggers cutting down trees in the ancestral forests of Totonicapán. Andréa was with her sisters and members of FestivalesSolidarios. They called the authorities who arrested the loggers. Soon after, unidentified men arrived in a pickup, armed with machetes, and attacked the women as they recorded what was happening with their cell phones. Andréa suffered broken ribs but escaped with her life. Read their account below in English and Spanish.
Nobel Women’s Initiative strongly denounces this violent attack and calls for immediate justice in this matter and a stop to the destruction of the forests. Violence against those defending the land from illegal resource extraction, as well as journalists, has been occurring for decades in Guatemala, and has shown a sharp rise in recent years. We stand in strong solidarity with Andréa, Lucía and the other activists and wish them a speedy recovery, and quick justice.
We call on the local authorities, the Policia Nacional Civil, and the Public Ministry to investigate this aggression (of which there is an audiovisual record) and to prosecute this group of people who are destroying the communal forest and attacking the people who defend it.”
Urgent Communication, September 22, 2020
Today, September 22nd, 2020, Andrea Ixchíu, Lucía Ixchíu, Gabriela Ixchíu, and Carlos Cano, members of Festivales Solidarios, were physically attacked by illegal loggers in the Alto de Totonicapán ancestral forest, while working as journalist / film makers.
While recording footage for a documentary, these members of Festivales Solidarios spotted a group of three illegal loggers and reported them to CONAP (National Council of Protected Areas) who responded to the call and managed to arrest the loggers. On the way back to Totonicapán, the members of Festivales Solidarios and CONAP were intercepted by a pick-up truck; two people armed with machetes got out and threatened CONAP officials so as to release the detainees. The members of Festivales Solidarios recorded the events with their cell phones and cameras, for which they were also then threatened and physically attacked. The group of loggers were released by force and fled the scene.
Andrea Ixchíu and the members of Festivales Solidarios were beaten, but now they are safe and lodging a criminal complaint with the authorities. We call on the local authorities, the Policia Nacional Civil, and the Public Ministry to investigate this aggression (of which there is an audiovisual record) and to prosecute this group of people who are destroying the communal forest and attacking the people who defend it.