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Cajola | Town in Resistance

Updated: Feb 21, 2021

Cajola is a Mam town of 18000 people located in Quetzaltenango Department (state). The town was founded more than 500 years ago (before the Spanish invasion) and Its name in Mam is Tky’ajol A’. The name means “Sons of Water” because it is surrounded by rivers. It was changed by the Spanish to Santa Cruz de Cajolá.

The people of Cajola are known for their resistance. They were one of the first communities to stand up to the government in a struggle to regain land that had been taken from them.

There are no representatives of the National Police stationed in Cajola. Rather, security in the town is maintained by a voluntary community police force based on the principles of Maya justice. Maya justice is based on reconciliation and dialog rather than punishment, and there is no jail. For serious crimes the community calls on the National Police stationed in a nearby town.

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