Friday, December 19, 2014

Sololá Community Rallies Around its Radio Station and Reclaims Seized Equipment! ~ @CSORG

Radio Juventud and Cultural Survival staff return from Guatemala city with reclaimed radio equipment.

Radio Juventud Demanded their Seized Radio Equipment from the Guatemalan Government and Got it Back!

On Tuesday, December 9, 2014, Sololá's beloved Radio Juventud became another community radio station raided by the Guatemalan Public Ministry, as the current telecommunication law outlaws community radio stations despite their guarantee in the 1996 Peace Accords and the Guatemalan Constitution. All equipment was seized.

For over 10 years Radio Juventud has contributed to educating and informing the surrounding communities. Broadcasting a majority of its programs in the local Indigenous language, Kaqchiqel,  the station counts women, children, elders and many youth among its members. Sololá's Indigenous communities are informed of their rights as Indigenous people, in part due to the efforts of Radio Juventud broadcasting Indigenous Rights Radio programming produced and distributed globally by Cultural Survival.

Immediately following the raid, the community quickly organized and notified the Indigenous Municipal Authorities. Together, they addressed the judge who authorized the raid, citing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous (Article 16), the Guatemalan Constitution and the Peace Accords, while making the case why the station is essential to their community, and demanding a return of the seized equipment.

 The judge spoke to the leaders and stated that he had signed the permission without understanding the effect it would have on the community. The Indigenous authorities and radio volunteers began protesting in front of the courthouse  and demanded that the judge petition the Office of the Public Prosecutor and the National Police to return of all the confiscated equipment.

And the community won! On December 16 all equipment was returned to the community! This was the first time EVER, equipment was returned after a raid, setting a major precedent for community radio stations all over the country!

The most important element of Indigenous Peoples' ability to claim [their rights] is to have informed and organized communities. -UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Delegate

 Indigenous communities that know their rights and are organized make the impossible happen! In 2014, Cultural Survival produced and distributed more than 300 radio programs in 20 languages to almost 1,000 radio stations in 55 countries informing Indigenous listeners about their rights to land, culture, and freedom of expression.


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Cultural Survival advocates for Indigenous Peoples rights and supports Indigenous communities' self-determination, cultures and political resilience, since 1972. We envision a future that respects and honors Indigenous Peoples inherent rights and dynamic cultures, deeply and richly interwoven in lands, languages, spiritual traditions, and artistic expression, rooted in self-determination and self-governance. For more information go to



Cultural Survival | PO Box 381569 | Cambridge | MA | 02238

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