2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the Union of Peasant Organizations (UVOC), an organization that PBI has been accompanying since 2005. We will provide a brief historical review of both the achievements and the challenges encountered along the way.
The Agreement on Socio-economic Aspects and the Agrarian Situation (1996) points out that a sustainable and lasting peace must be based on a socio-economic development oriented to the common good that responds to the needs of the entire population, in order to overcome poverty, extreme poverty, discrimination and social marginalization. The Peace Accords develop a set of guidelines to address the agrarian situation and rural development as well as a goal of transforming the structure of land tenure and use.
In 2017, more than 20 years after the signing of the peace deal, the structural problem; the unjust distribution of land, which generates high rates of poverty, malnutrition and exclusion, is even more pronounced than at the end of the war. The UNDP stated in 2017 that inequities, weak state institutions and land concentration continue to make it impossible to improve livelihoods.
Forced evictions have continued to be a central concern of rural organizations and communities in various regions of the country, even though families and communities are in the process of negotiating and dialogue with the government's agrarian institutions (Land Fund and Secretariat of Agrarian Affairs) to regulate their right to access the land.
In this thematic area we accompany the Veracruz Union of Peasant Organizations (UVOC), which advises communities that demand their right to land in a region where large estate landownership prevails.
This context of the pandemic has provoked an aggravation of the agrarian conflict with an increase in threats of evictions of various communities, as well as attacks against leaders who defend the right to land and territory, especially in the departments of Alta and Baja Verapaz. An example of this was the eviction in April of more than 36 indigenous Mayan Poqomchi' families from the community of Washington (Purulhá, Baja Verapaz).
Communities unionized in the Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA) of the Verapaces struggle for their territory in spite of death threats and criminalization. Learn about the struggle of Don Lorenzo and Don Pedro of the Santa Elena Samanzana II community, Cobán, Alta Verapaz.
Check out this documentary that tells the story of the struggle of the community of La Primavera in the municipality of San Cristobal, Alta Verapaz, to recover the land on which they have lived for generations. Despite receiving land titles in 2015, the struggle faces new challenges. The community is member of UVOC.