Expansion of monocultures expels peasants from their lands
Repression intensifies against peasant leaders opposed to land grabs, evictions and the pollution of water sources.
Date Written: 2018-09-18
Publisher: Latinamerica Press
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23233
In Guatemala a wave of violence at the hands of large agriculture corporations has been driving Indigenous people and peasants off their land.
Guatemala's history of unresolved land conflicts, which dates to colonial times is the root cause of the peasant discontent that is being silenced by a wave of repression, say experts on agrarian issues.
"The agricultural exports model dates back to colonial times and persisted after Guatemala gained its independence. Coffee became the country's first agricultural export, then bananas in in the southern coast, followed by cacao and rubber, crops that took up the country's most fertile lands. Now it's sugarcane and African palm", explains to Latinamerica Press Marcel Arévalo, coordinator of the poverty and migration studies department of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO).
Over the past 15 years, a growing demand for biofuels has driven the rapid expansion of monocultural farming in Central America - mainly African palm and sugar cane - intensifying the concentration of land in the hands of large corporations and driving peasants out of their homeland.