RealNews

Combat at squatter-occupied farm underscores Guatemalan problems

Pitched combat between peasant squatters reportedly armed with assault rifles and security forces seeking to effect a court-sanctioned eviction on an occupied Pacific Coast farm has underscored in blood Guatemala’s endemic rural poverty and land-tenure disparity. At least eight people – farmers and police officers – died Tuesday and more than 50 others were wounded in the battle at the Nueva Vista estate in Champerico, some 230 kilometers (143 miles) southwest of the Guatemalan capital. Interior Minister Carlos Vielman said nearly 100 police armed with nothing more than an eviction order tried to expel peasants from the ranch they have occupied for more than a year. The government claims the peasants fired on security forces with AK-47 assault rifles and other weapons. Full Story

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