Violence and visibility in oil palm and sugarcane conflicts: the case of Polochic Valley, Guatemala

Sara Mingorría*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Over the last two decades, the expansion of oil palm and sugarcane plantations in the Polochic Valley (Guatemala) has exacerbated the historical struggle of Maya-Q’eqchi’ peoples for land rights. Based on a mixed-methods approach, I examine the dynamics of the conflict between 1998 and 2014, focusing on the visibility, manifestation and intensity of violence and the role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and peasant organizations in opposition to oil palm and sugarcane plantations. I show that the evolution of the conflict can be explained by changes in the strength of organizations' alliances due to tensions and lack of coordination, as well as the fear of state repression and the funding context of these organizations. These results allow me to discuss how violence, the role of these organizations and the dynamics of related events have influenced the visibility of the conflict associated with the expansion of oil palm and sugarcane plantations in the Polochic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1314-1340
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Volume45
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Agrarian and environmental conflicts
  • NGOs
  • flex-crops
  • human rights
  • peasant organizations

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