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Strengthening the local fabric

Catarina Guachiac, community leader in Santa Catarina

There is distress in our everyday life, in the border of Nahualá and St. Catarina, two neighboring municipalities in the department of Sololá.

The situation has worsened the last four years, but the conflict goes way back. I remember everything got worse when those from Nahualá entered Ixtahuacán without documents, saying that this land belonged to them.

My family and I, along with the rest of the community, have been here for 17 years and not a day passes that we don’t ask ourselves: why did we decide to come here? (These communities had to transfer because of Hurricane Stan) Currently, we are tired of living in fear; a simple task, like leaving home or trying to go on a trip, implies danger. Bullets fly off from the armed conflict and there seems to be no escape from them. There is no trust, trust is gone.

Despite the circumstances, it is necessary to continue growing, even in fear, between weaving and banners of protest. We as a community have demonstrated in the middle of the highway to become visible for the president and force him to solve this problem, a problem that has gone unnoticed by all the past presidents. And it mustn’t continue as it is; spaces for dialogue are necessary. We are tired of whole families being killed, vehicles burned, civilians being caught in the middle of the conflict.

That is why I decided to be politically active 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 weavers, to create an alternative where our sons and daughters continue growing and where they feel at peace and secure. 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 digital journal with an interesting historical and current analysis.

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