Just before dawn on September 19th, about fifteen masked gunmen entered the community of Los Paloques, in central Guatemala, and massacred an entire family in their home. Many people in Los Paloques have been actively protesting Cementos Progreso’s encroachment on their land. Progreso is a cement mining and production company that has been at the centre of a heated land struggle for the past few years. This seemingly random act of violence is part of constant intimidation that indigenous communities must face and is meant as a gruesome threat to anyone willing to resist Cementos Progreso.
For more information on this conflict, you can consult a backgrounder by Peace Brigades International (historical overview starts on p.11)
Translation of Consejo de Juventudes Indígenas (Indigenous Youth Council) facebook status update:
The massacre of september 19th, 2014, in Los Pajoques, San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala, was orchestrated by the government in power and Cementos Progreso, in order to criminalise the struggle of the 12 Kaqchikel Communities of San Juan Sacatepéquez and indigenous people in general.
We express our solidarity with the 12 Kaqchikel Communities and their struggle against imposed projects like the Progreso cement factory. The road being built will only serve the company and some state functionaries but there will be nothing for the people, only misery, hunger, and death. In the past, they imposed coffee as a development project and we are still poor. Now they impose mining and we will be even poorer. No more tricks and deceptions!
Read a full news story here (in Spanish).