Conflicts & War

Guatemalan peasant farmers blockade roads for 2nd straight day

Guatemala City, Apr 26 (EFE).- Members of a Guatemalan peasant farmers’ organization blocked more than 17 roads nationwide for the second consecutive day as part of their latest anti-government protest.

“No more corruption. No more looting of our territories. No more privatization of goods and services,” that group known as Codeca said on its media channels of the demonstrations.

That same entity said the protests are being carried out in nearly all of the Central American country’s 22 departments (provinces).

Seventeen roads are currently being blockaded in both directions, including routes leading to the neighboring countries of Mexico and El Salvador, according to the Provial roadside assistance force, which said other roadblocks have already been cleared.

Protests were not held on Monday in Guatemala City but were staged there on Tuesday on the capital’s west side.

Plans for this week’s protests were announced on April 22 as part of a Codeca-organized nationwide strike to protest the high cost of living, corruption, impunity and President Alejandro Giammattei’s handling of the country’s political situation.

The Human Rights Ombudsperson’s Office (PDH) said for its part that it is holding talks with Codeca farmers in different parts of the country in a bid to convince them to clear some of the roadblocks.

Those rural growers also say their actions are in repudiation of powerful business leaders affiliated with the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations (CACIF).

Codeca, which says it counts more than 200,000 peasant farmers among its members, is demanding among other things the establishment of a plurinational state and the resignation of Giammattei and the other members of his administration.

Manuel Marroquin, Codeca’s representative in the southwestern department of Solola, said during Tuesday’s demonstration that “the high cost of basic consumer goods and fuel” has become unbearable.

Codeca held protests in November to press similar demands and also took to the streets in August 2021 to protest Attorney General Consuelo Porras’ dismissal of anti-graft crusader Juan Francisco Sandoval.

Porras, who is seeking a new four-year term in a May election, was added to the United States’ Undemocratic and Corrupt Actors list last September for allegedly obstructing investigations into acts of corruption.

That sanction generally makes those individuals ineligible for visas and admission to the US.

Around 59 percent of Guatemala’s 18 million people are poor and 20 percent live in extreme poverty, according to official figures and data provided by international organizations. EFE


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