They destroyed our homes, robbed us of our belongings, burned our clothes, took our animals, cut down our cornfields, and they pursued us day and night.
Case 5339 (man interviewed) Plan de Sánchez, Baja Verapaz, 1982.Volume 1. Third Chapter. REMHI.
During the war in Guatemala, as part of the “Scorched Earth” military policy, the corn was cut down and burned. It was destroyed by the army with the intent of eliminating the indigenous communities, retained responsible for the guerrilla. A peace agreement was signed in 1996; the corn and the people resisted. In 2014 Congress approved a law to protect plant varieties, popularly known as “Ley Monsanto”, that placed the future of corn and the autonomy of the country at risk. The indigenous peoples were the ones who most fervently opposed this and who ultimately obtained the abolishment of the law.
I am hiding in a cornfield. Four men with machetes are cutting down all the stalks to find me. For a few minutes, I remain standing in the midst of the destroyed cornfield.
Aldea Chotacaj, Totonicapan, Guatemala. November 12/11/2014.