Precautionary measures
7.
The IACHR recorded a request for precautionary measures in conjunction with this petition,
as the petitioners initially alleged the existence of a grave situation that could cause irreparable damage to
members of the Agua Caliente Community, Rodrigo Tot, and Carlos Antonio Pop Ac. On October 17, 2012, the
IACHR granted precautionary measures to guarantee the lives and personal integrity of Carlos Antonio Pop Ac,
Rodrigo Tot, and their families. Since then, both parties have provided the IACHR with updated information on
several occasions.1 In analyzing this petition, the IACHR notes that it will take into account the information
provided during the precautionary measures procedure.
III.

POSITION OF THE PARTIES

A.

Positions of the petitioners

8.
The petitioners allege that the Q’eqchi’ Mayan community in Agua Caliente, also known as the
“Agua Caliente Lot 9 Community,” is part of the greater Mayan nation and located in the municipality of El Estor,
Izabal Department, territory that it has possessed for more than two centuries and with which it maintains a
special relationship of a spiritual, cultural, and material nature. They state that it is one of the most isolated
communities within the mining area, located at the top of a mountain.
9.
They state that the majority of its members only speak q'eqchi’ and share the same spiritual,
cultural, and social values. They note that the community has its own system for making decisions and is
organized under self-determined sociopolitical structures. Its leader and representative is Rodrigo Tot,
president of the Pro-Improvement Committee created by the community to conduct the administrative
management of its lands.
Land titling procedure
10.
The petitioners state that the laws and policies of the agrarian reform consider the indigenous
community as "landless peasants" and its territory as "lands apt for agricultural exploitation" under the concept
of "collective agrarian heritage,” without recognizing the community’s indigenous nature.
11.
They claim that on October 17, 1972, the Agrarian Transformation Act was adopted, creating
the National Institute for Agrarian Transformation (Instituto Nacional de Transformación Agraria, INTA) and
regulating the land titling procedure it established, requiring both indigenous and nonindigenous communities
to pay a certain amount of money to receive title to the lands. They note that the Community began the land
titling procedure before the INTA in 1974, and on February 25, 1985, a provisional land title was granted to
recognizing the right to coownership of its 64 members individually, under the concept of "Collective Agrarian
Property.” They state that on July 18, 1998, the General Property Registry was informed that a number of pages
had been removed from the Registry Book, including Page 96 of Book 21 containing the registration of the
community’s lands. They allege that these pages have not been replaced, preventing the lands from being
properly titled.
12.
Regarding this, they stated that on May 13, 1999, the Land Fund Act (FONTIERRAS) was
approved to finalize the procedures pending before the INTA. On July 18, 2002, the community made its final
payment to FONTIERRAS, thereby complying with all the requirements for official recognition of its ownership
rights over the land. However, they allege that FONTIERRAS did not grant the title and required them to launch
a voluntary judicial process to have the pages replaced.

1 The IACHR received comments from the petitioning party on the request for precautionary measures on March 18, June 25,
November 11, and December 19, 2013; February 17, 2014; and December 4, 2015. It also received comments from the State on the request
for precautionary measures on December 21, 2012; January 7, March 13, October 2, and December 19, 2013; January 9, April 9, and October
1, 2014; and December 21, 2015.

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