was successfully added to your cart.


10th November 2021, 16:01:37 UTC

Bernardo Caal Xol holds a whole people in his heart. Through his teaching and trade union leadership, he has made it his mission to empower his people, the Indigenous Maya Q’eqchi’ in north central Guatemala. He has also done everything he can to peacefully protect their land and natural resources from plunder and biodiversity loss.

So, when a company licensed by the government dammed the Maya Q’eqchi’s Cahabón river to build two hydroelectric power plants, Bernardo and his people protested. The river is one of the longest in Guatemala, and is sacred to the Maya Q’eqchi’.

Construction of the power plants had already stripped their forests; now they were losing the precious water they needed to survive. Bernardo demanded a stop to the power plants’ activities, saying the authorities had failed to properly consult his people – a requirement under international law.

But his actions put him at odds with the company, and economic and political elites. Bernardo was publicly smeared with repeated and baseless accusations. In 2018, a judge sentenced him to more than seven years in prison, convicting him without any evidence.

“Why am I in jail?” Bernardo asks. “For denouncing what they are doing to the rivers, defending what little is left.”

Tell Guatemala to free Bernardo today.

Sign the petition

  • We’d love to keep you updated about our work – including information about our campaigns, fundraising appeals and events – and the impact we have by working together. Please let us know how we may contact you. Please tick the box if you are happy to receive updates from us by email, phone and text message: