On January 18, 2018, community leader and human rights activist Maria Choc was detained in Puerto Barrios. She is an outspoken opponent to the Fenix Nickel mine in El Estor, Izabal, the expansion of african palm in the Polochic region, and a leader in the struggle for access for land in the community of Chab’il Ch’och’, Izabal which suffered an eviction in November. The community had only recently moved back onto the land where they were evicted. (Read more about the eviction here).
Maria is a sister to Angelica Choc, who is bringing a legal case against Hudbay Minerals in Canada for the murder of her husband, Adolfo Ich Chaman in 2009. Their brother, Ramiro Choc, was a political prisoner for more than five years for his work organizing with campesinos.
Maria was detained in Puerto Barrios while accompanying the community of Rubel Pek and providing translation in a hearing. She is accused of aggravated usurpation, threats and illegal detention in relation to the community of Chab’il Ch’och’.
Listen to an interview with Maria Choc on the day of her arraignment hearing here.
Please stay tuned for solidarity actions in support of Maria and the community of Chab’il Ch’och.