by Susan MacVittie, published in the Watershed Sentinel, March/April 2013
In March 2011, ethnic Maya Q’eqchi communities of smallholder farmers in southern Guatemala were violently evicted by state security forces from land they had farmed for generations. About 3,200 people from 14 communities in the Polochic valley were forced off land they believed they had a right to live and work on. Within months, hundreds of hectares of the lush valley in the province of Alta Verapaz were being planted with sugar cane that would be turned into ethanol for European cars. Today, displaced families live by the side of the road with no access to shelter or food.
It is a scenario that has been occurring in Brazil, Mozambique, and many other developing countries. Since 2008, when global food prices suddenly spiked, there has been an upsurge in land investment by transnational corporations and private investors who purchase or lease large tracts of fertile land, along with its minerals and water, displacing viable rural communities of small-scale farmers.
Read the full article, which includes information about the landgrabbing situation in Canada.