Location

Patzicía, department of Chimaltenango.

Area of work and rights defended

The Association of Neighbors Against Corruption in Patzicía (AVCCP) is an organization that works to combat institutional corruption in the Patzicía region.

The AVCCP claims the following rights:

  1. Transparency of local authorities through social audits.
  2. Right of access to basic public services, such as water and electricity.
  3. The peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consultation

Description of the problem

The Association of Neighbors Against Corruption of Patzicía (AVCCP) was founded in 2016. Their membership includes residents of the Patzicía region, most of whom are from the Kakchiquel indigenous people. Their main objective is the fight against institutional corruption in the region.

The organization's president, Carlos Sajmoló Pichiya, is being criminalized and persecuted, both by public and private entities, as a result of his work as a human rights defender and his demands for transparency and good governance within municipal institutions. His criminalization case stems from his active participation in the public rejection of the Project planned by the Red Eléctrica de Centroamérica S.A (RECSA) and the Transmission Expansion Plan 1-2009.

On August 22, 2018, the municipality of Patzicía granted a construction license for a hydroelectric substation to RECSA - a company subcontracted to the Colombian company TRECSA -, whose request had been rejected by the Municipal Development Council (COMUDE). As a consequence, there were a series of social mobilizations organized by the AVCCP and the COMUDE of Patzicía, demanding respect for the right of prior community consultation, which culminated in the revocation of the license on September 18, 2018. The hearings in the case against Carlos Sajmoló were suspended following the declaration of the State of Calamity.

PBI Accompaniment

PBI began accompanying Carlos Sajmoló, President of the organization in April 2020, as a result to the criminalization process he is facing.