The Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA) was founded in 1982 as an organization to defend the rights of workers on large coffee, sugar and cotton plantations, to recover lands taken from the Mayan communities over the past centuries, and to promote and recover Mayan culture and spirituality.
When Guatemala’s armed conflict ended in 1996/97, the CCDA used the peace accords to obtain land for member communities. Some purchased the coffee plantations where their families had been farm workers for generations. Today, those plantations, reorganized as cooperatives, produce Café Justicia, a Solidarity Trade coffee, processed by the CCDA and exported to Canada and other countries. Profits from Café Justicia help finance the CCDA’s ongoing work for land reform, community development and an end to impunity and corruption in Guatemala.
Today about 800 communities in 20 of Guatemala’s 22 provinces belong to the CCDA, but the organization is strongest in the Madre Vieja valley of Sololá.
History of the CCDA
The CCDA as a civilian farmer’s support group for the Rebel Armed Forces (FAR) during the peak of the Guatemalan civil war, in 1982 in San Martín Jilotepeque, Chimaltenango. The original name was the Campesino Committee in Defence of the Highlands. The perception that the CCDA was another armed group led to the arrest, disappearance, assassination and exile of many of the CCDA directors due to the repression of the government against social groups and human rights. For this reason, the CCDA changed its name to the Campesino Committee of the Highlands. The CCDA worked clandestinely until 1988, when the organization began to operate publicly. In 2000, it succeeded in becoming a legally-registered non-profit organization.
For more information on the CCDA, visit their website.