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Between weaving and banners of protest

Catarina Guachiac, community leader in Santa Catarina

Armed attacks and danger are part of everyday life between the borders of the lands with Nahualá and St. Catarina, which are neighboring municipalities in the department of Sololá. The situation has worsened for four years, but the conflict goes back a long time. I remember everything got worse when those from Nahualá entered Ixtahuacán without documents confirming that this land belonged to them.

I, along with my family and the rest of the community, have been here for 17 years and there is not a day when we don’t ask ourselves: why we decided to come? (These communities had to translate for Hurricane Stan) In these times we are tired of living in fear because of the danger that the simple task of leaving home or trying to go on a trip implies. Because maybe one of the bullets from the conflict will end our lives, there seems to be no escape. There is no trust, trust is gone.

Despite the circumstances, it is necessary to continue growing, even if there is fear, between weaving and banners of protest. We have generated community demonstrations on the highway for the president to see and solve this problem, a problem that has gone unnoticed by all past presidents. And that can no longer continue as it is, spaces for dialogue are necessary. We are tired of the deaths of families, burning vehicles, or places where civilians are the ones who get hurt.

That is why I decided to move politically in my community, to be part of the board of Yabal and become a community leader. Together with my colleagues and neighbors, we continue working with the cooperative of women weavers to have alternatives where our sons and daughters to continue to grow and where they feel peace and security. Also, where aunts and grandmothers share their knowledge by knitting together and going to the forest to enjoy what life has given us; spaces without fear.

My name is Catarina Guachiac and I am a community leader from the Pacutamá village.

If you want more information about this territorial conflict you can visit this journalistic medium of
research that makes an interesting historical and current analysis.

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