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'Our houses were bulldozed'

"There were many many police, army and security contractors at the eviction. I begged them not to burn my house and crops but they went ahead. They could have killed us but we ran away.”

José Cuc Cuz (45) describes the night his family was forced to flee their home. 

In the Polochic Valley in northern Guatemala, indigenous communities live on lands their ancestors lived on for hundreds of years.

But the land is valuable. Big businesses want it to grow sugarcane or palm oil, or to use it for mining. 

Families such as José’s live in fear of waking in the night to see bulldozers and soldiers gathered to evict them. 

In 2011 they were one of 750 families to be evicted to make way for large sugarcane plantations. Several people were injured and one man was killed. 

Their houses were burnt to the ground. 

Sadly, this is often the fate of indigenous communities in Guatemala. They lack legal rights and protection and are often subjected to violent attack. 

José’s daughter, María, is one of the smiling girls on this year’s Trócaire box. 

Your donations this Lent will help us to continue to support their efforts to win legal right to their land. We have already supported other families like José’s to successfully secure their right to land. 

Securing this right can allow them to live in peace, free from the terror of bulldozers. 


Your love can conquer fear for families in need worldwide

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