The San Marcus Youth Land Advocacy Movement is a movement that aims to assist 81 young people to acquire a land of their own. The Movement is based in the San Marcus Village, Toledo district and they are looking at distributing approximately 200 acres of land. The young people are mostly first time landowners. According to the leader of the movement, Juan Caal, contrary to previous reports, they are not squatting on the land but rather simply distributing land that they previously owned.
Juan Cual, Leader of San Marcus Youth Land Advocacy Movement: “Our committee has customarily used the land over the past years which is what they’re claiming on. It’s a common knowledge of where our community has its boundary. For us we just want to further reiterate that our boundaries at the entrance of San Marcus Village and is known by both communities of San Marcus and Big Falls because what I am understanding is that the Dump area is claiming themselves to be as a community or a as a village themselves but they are not recognized as such. For years we know that the Dumb settlement is under Big Falls jurisdiction because we recognize them as such and for us we are prepared to undertake any mediation about the situations with Big Falls but not with Dump because then they are not a community. I know that their status is not about they are a village because they have never been a village, we recognize them as a settlement, as a part of Big Falls and if there’s any mediation to undertake we are prepared to table a formal discussion with the leaders of Big Falls in order to resolve the matter because so far they are claiming that we are squatting on their land but I’m not sure if you have had a chance to listen to the interview they had on PGTV where they’re claiming that you know they’re saying that their history goes long before that but we have our own history as well and we are in a land that we have customarily used and as you may know the CCJ has ruled out in what we know that recognizing Maya Land rights and that’s exactly what we are actually doing. We’re not going beyond what is legal and not claiming what is not ours.”
Caal also spoke about the role that the Lands Department plays in this situation.
Juan Cual, Leader of San Marcus Youth Land Advocacy Movement: “San Marcus is a claimant community of Customary Maya Land rights which we won as you may know we can go back to that story there is a consent order that is issued and Big Falls as well is a claimant of that customary land rights and we have worked between these communities over the past years and they know where our boundaries are and they recognize where our boundaries are but given the fact that a handful of persons-well I say a handful and I don’t want it to sound discriminatory but you know these people just recently came there they say they claim to know the history of where their community start is but the fact remains that they are not a community, they are not recognized, they are not registered as a community they fall under Big Falls and then our discussion that we are prepared to undertake is that if there is any mediation that we need to take on it will be with Big Falls because they are a community that we have long respected and they fall under the jurisdiction.”
We will continue to follow this developing story.