Abelino Salvador Mejía will be speaking on this PBI-organized webinar on Sunday March 13 starting at 2:30 pm EDT.

The Front Line Defenders Global Analysis report released today notes: “Communities across the Americas continue to be displaced to make way for corporations to develop large-scale agribusiness plantations, such as for sugar cane and oil palm.”

That report further notes that human rights defenders in Guatemala have been subjected to criminalization for defending their land and territories.

This would include the human rights defenders who have spoken against the environmental harms of the sugar industry on the South Coast of Guatemala.

PBI-Guatemala accompanies Abelino Salvador Mejía, Virgilio García Carrillo, Anabella España Reyes and Flabio Vicente.

They will be in court on Monday March 14.

The day before, Sunday March 13, Abelino will be on a PBI-organized webinar providing an update on their case and situation.

To register for this webinar, click here.

The land given over to sugarcane production in Guatemala has grown by 46 percent between 2001 and 2012. Notably, sugarcane requires three times more water than corn, the primary subsistence crop for campesinos in Guatemala.

There are eleven sugar mills in Guatemala.

Prensa Comunitaria has reported: “Abelino is one of the four defendants for the crimes of illegal detention, threat and coercion; the person who denounced him claims to be the legal representative of the El Pilar sugar mill.”

That article adds: “Two other sugar mills [Magdalena and Tulula] had also filed charges against him and three other peasants, but they desisted shortly after.”

Abelino says: “We need people to realize that when they consume sugar, it has an impact on the life of the communities and on the right to water for all.”

To register for our webinar happening on March 13, click here.