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Running from your own shadow: palm oil, narcos and peasants in Peten
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Running from your own shadow: palm oil, narcos and peasants in Peten

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The Peten province in Guatemala is a vast territory, so big you could fit the neighboring countries of Belize and El Salvador inside it. But despite its size, there is little room for co-existence and dead bodies are a common sight. "Either leave, or I’ll make you leave,” seems to be the motto here for both illegal and legal groups, including family-run drug trafficking organizations, Mexican criminal groups like the Zetas, palm plantation owners, cattle ranchers, property owners, oil men, and indigenous Q'eqchi villagers.
And so Peten went from being a jungle to a zoo full of different players vying for land -- some seeking routes for drug trafficking, others agricultural land, and a small minority wanting to live off of their harvest.

On May 10, 2011, as the townspeople of Sayaxche were preparing t...

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