Guatemala: 2 human rights defenders opposing Santa Rita dam detained over “false” accusations & released; but trial continues

Author: Jeff Abbott, Toward Freedom (US), Published on: 22 May 2017

“Standing in the way of extractivism: guatemalan community activists resist meg-dams”, 17 May

…Blanca Guitz Pop gave a thumbs up as she stood, handcuffed, next to her brother, Rolando Guitz Pop, outside of the courthouse in Coban, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala on April 27…Minutes before, the two had presented before a judge their first declarations on charges of threats and aggravated assault. “All the accusations are false,” said Blanca Guitz Pop. “I know that [because we are] defending our rights; they have accused me of being a thief.”…Both Blanca and her brother are community leaders from the Q’eqchi Maya community of Monte Olivo. Since 2009, they have led the movement in their community’s movement against the construction of the Santa Rita dam, which, if constructed, threatens to displace local residents. Following their declaration, the judge released both Rolando and Blanca to house arrest…This does not mean that the charges are dropped…The criminal charges brought against the two community leaders reflect the wider campaign against activists that organize against mega-projects across Guatemala…The project has received investments through several European Development banks…In 2015…Real Infrastructure Capital Partners invested $15 million dollars into the Santa Rita project…

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Related companies: Hidro Santa Rita