Different entities, communities, and people have worked for years to protect the ecosystem of the Merendón and Granadillas Mountains in the Departments of Chiquimula and Zacapa. The main water reserves and natural diversity are located in this region. This defense stands up to illegal logging, large land extensions dedicated to cattle and monoculture and consequently deforestation. The mountain is critical to the lives of more than three hundred thousand inhabitants because the main water sources are located there. It is important to note that water resources are scarce in this area. Those defending water and territory in the area have set forth the goal of declaring Merendón and Granadillas Mountains protected areas.
The Ecumenical Coordinator have suffered diverse types of persecution and threats. These include legal cases against them which have been dismissed. The harassment started after they denounced illegal commercial logging and started a permanent social audit of intended licenses and logging on private lands in the mountain.
PBI has accompanied the process to defend the Merendón Mountains since 2008, while accompanying the The Association for the Protection of Las Granadillas Mountain’s (APMG) until 2013. Since the founding of the Ecumenical Coordinator in July 2013, PBI Guatemala has provided observation of their activities. In 2016 PBI began global accompaniment of the Ecumenical Coordinator.
“We have come out of each encounter strengthened to continue the fight, in the knowledge that the Las Granadillas Mountain is a gift from God that we have to protect because in many respects our survival depends on it” Rev. José Pilar