A border conflict between two municipalities of Sololá that began in 1862, continues to cause clashes and deaths

The historical conflict between Nahualá and Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán, both municipalities of Sololá, was reactivated last Friday night, and left the preliminary balance of 13 people dead, including an agent of the National Civil Police (PNC), and two injured.

It is a problem that has not been solved after almost 160 years and that has left dozens of clashes with deaths and injuries, such as the one that occurred this Friday, in which three children, five women and four men died in the Chiquix village. , apart from PNC agent Luis Herbert Emmanuel Reynoso Rivera.

Local sources commented that the agent died when several people aboard a truck were heading to tapiscar in a village that the two communities dispute because when the attack began, the security forces tried to intervene, but it was not possible.

Later, a group of residents set the truck on fire and shot the car patrol in which said agent was driving.

Shortly after, the body of 58-year-old Antonio Perechu Ixquiactap, originally from the Chocaja sector, Chirijox, Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán, was found.

Given this, more than 600 police officers, accompanied by prosecutors from the MP, tried to enter the place, which they could not do until around 4:00 p.m., after which they found the bodies of the other 11 victims.

At night, the PNC confirmed, through a statement, the death of the police officer and the other 12 people, as well as two injured officers and the damage to the police car.

For his part, Rodolfo Salazar, the departmental governor of Sololá, said that the situation is very complex, as the residents constantly attack each other or sometimes other people who want to enter. The elements of the PNC carried out a journey at kilometer 171 and suffered the attack, he added.

Why has no solution been found?

Over time, it has been observed that the problem is not only about the borderline difference, but that it has become a complex story because the inhabitants constantly confront each other violently for the control of drinking water tributaries and for other reasons. which has also led to insecurity problems.

The governor mentioned that various agreements have been signed (in different administrations) and several roundtables are active, but a solution has not been reached, due to a lack of will. “For there to be dialogue, there must be a will for leadership” in the communities, he said.

For Monday, December 20, a meeting of the dialogue table had already been planned in Sololá, but now he sees it difficult to carry it out. In that instance, the Presidential Commission for Peace and Human Rights (Copadeh) and the PDH, among other entities, participate, he explained.

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Miguel Ángel Balcárcel, who was presidential dialogue commissioner, commented that he did not know details of the origin of this new confrontation and what has happened in recent months with signed agreements and the dialogue led by the government. It is also necessary to see if it was possible to define any methodology to conclude the territorial delimitation.

According to government information, in October 2020 the topographic survey work began at the site. However, Balcarcel mentioned that they carried out an analysis years ago and it was determined that one of the reasons that this type of conflict did not conclude is that the officials were trying to find a solution to the physical part, the registration problem of the areas and the delimitation territorial, but they have not entered to analyze issues that are in the consciousness and identity of the peoples. “That is why it is vital that actors of another nature guide and guide to have another perspective,” he said.

Changes in the coordination of the dialogue

The Vice President of the Republic, Guillermo Castillo, who led the dialogue, reported through Social Communication of the Vice Presidency that for 4 or 5 months he has no longer been involved in this work. By a decision of President Alejandro Giammattei, a new commission was formed that is coordinating the dialogue table and is made up of the Ministries of the Interior and National Defense, as well as Arnoldo Noriega, government mediator in that conflict. Therefore, he did not want to comment on it.

Ana Luisa Olmedo, spokeswoman for the Presidential Dialogue Commission, said that the government is agreeable to the agreements and mentioned that to date, there is a high-level table coordinated by the Vice Presidency of the Republic and this commission is ready to join efforts based on the experience of dialogue and in accordance with the mandate it has.

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“We regret the actions of violence between community members and we call to continue with the dialogue table and seek timely solutions that allow us to live in peace as Guatemalan brothers,” he added.

However, when asked about the statement by the vice president regarding the fact that he no longer coordinates these tasks, he explained that he has continued, but that the dynamics have changed. It was said that it was better to work the tables for each topic, so three were created, one for the border, another for security and one more for the topic of natural resources and crops.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Ombudsman (PDH) opened a file in this case, although it mentioned that several agents had died. The institution recommended to the Interior Ministry and the PNC to reinforce security in the two municipalities, in addition to monitoring the actions of the authorities, informed the attorney, Jordán Rodas.

With information from Fredy de León


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