Death in Totonicapan

We stand in solidarity with our Maya sisters and brothers in Guatemala and the families who have suffered the loss of lives due to violence on October 4, 2012.

We express our profound concern and indignation for the events that took place in Totonicapan in the region known as Alaska along the Inter-American Highway. The clash between the K’iche people, police, and armed forces resulted in the loss of 8 lives, amongst them; Santos Nicolás Hernández, Jesús Francisco Puac, Arturo Félix Fapón, Eusebio Josué Puac, Jesús Cano, Santos Nicolás Menchú, Rafael Batz y Jesus Domingo Caniz – and more than 30 wounded.

Women, men, youths and elders were peacefully protesting against: (1) Reforms that would set price caps on electricity; (2) Changes that would require a longer certification process for teaching careers; (3) and constitutional reforms. The fallen became victims when unidentified people in a truck opened fire on the protesters while a group of community leaders were in Guatemala City to negotiate these various concerns with a Special Commission.

This critical situation in Guatemala is the direct result of the administration’s indifference to indigenous peoples’ rights, concerns and demands across the country. Not only is there continued discrimination of indigenous peoples in Guatemala, these reforms violate their right to be fully consulted on matters affecting them as well as their fundamental rights to lands, territories, and natural resources.


  • That the state of Guatemala immediately abstain from further use of violence against our K’iche brothers and sisters fighting for compliance and respect of their rights to lands, territories, and natural resources
  • That these violent acts against them be investigated and those directly responsible brought to justice – the culture of impunity in Guatemala must not continue
  • That the state of Guatemala ensure personal safety and provide immediate and adequate medical attention to the brothers and sisters who were injured
  • That the state of Guatemala comply with its obligations to respect, promote and protect human rights and indigenous peoples rights under both domestic and international law; specifically Convention No. 169 of the International Labor Organization, The American Convention on Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international legal frameworks


  • That the international community request the Government of Guatemala to immediately investigate this grave situation and prevent further loss of lives of people demanding and defending their rights
  • That the United Nations investigate these violent acts especially in light of the mission conducted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in March 2012 with traditional indigenous authorities in Totonicapan where they provided statements of continued exclusion, discrimination, criminalization and persecution.




October 10, 2012