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By Saulo Araujo
May 23rd, 2011
In this third blog of the Field Notes series, Grassroots’ Program Coordinator for Latin America Saulo Araújo analyzes the situation in which Guatemala’s indigenous Mayans are facing fear and despair in their own land. Saulo is currently visiting partners and ally organizations in Central America.
When they heard about the work opportunity in another town, the peasants didn’t hesitate. Within just a few days, they left home to work for Otto Salguero, a wealthy cattle rancher who reportedly had jobs for all of them. After endless hours on a bus, the men showed up to work – hard work – but together they slowly and steadily adjusted to it.
This blog is part of a series of blogs that Grassroots’ Latin America Program Coordinator, Saulo Araújo will be posting during his site visit to Central America. Through the “Field Notes” blogs, Saulo will share contextual analysis and information from partners and allies.
At the request of the community assembly of Amador Hernández in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, Grassroots International along with the Global Justice Ecology Project, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Carbon Trade Watch, the Global Forest Coalition, the Timberwatch Coalition, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, and the Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project are circulating a communiqué and sign-on letter (posted below) that were written by the assembly
Rivers are sacred in many cultures and central to the World’s early civilizations, from Mesopotamia and Egypt to India and China. Perhaps this was on his mind when Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, famously (if ironically) called mega dams the “temples of modern India.” He would have been more prescient in calling them “temples of doom” given the enormous human, environmental and economic costs of these behemoths. In India alone, since independence, by some estimates nearly 50 million people have been displaced.
“¡La Tierra No Se Vende – Se Ama y Se Defiende!” (English translation: “The Land is Not for Sale – It must be Loved and Defended!”)
– A change from woman fighting against a large dam in Alpuyeca, Mexico
The below press release from Grassroots International's ally the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) discusses some of the events that were held on Indigenous Peoples' Day. IEN is a network of indigenous peoples who focus on creating sustainable livelihoods, demanding environmental justice, and maintaining indigenous traditions.
In a recent article in The Nation (“Retreat to Subsistence,” July 5, 2010), Peter Canby describes the seminal work of one of Grassroots International’s partners in Mexico, the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO). Using UNOSJO's work as an example, he explores the larger issue of of indigenous rights in Mesoamerica.
By Alisa Pimentel
Among the almost 20,000 activists gathered in Detroit for the US Social Forum this week are several Grassroots International partners and allies. Grassroots International regularly provides funding to our partners and allies to participate in movement-building and leadership development gatherings.
After tireless campaigning by the indigenous people of Guatemala and international solidarity organizations, including Grassroots International, the Goldcorp Marlin Mine has been ordered to shut by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. This is a huge victory for local Mayan residents who have fought for the past six years to hold Goldcorp accountable for appalling social and environmental problems caused by the mine. Grassroots International supported their struggle for justice by funding indigenous representatives to attend meetings with allies in Canada and the United States as well as hearings at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Last month, I traveled to Cochabamba, Bolivia for a number of reasons. The main one was to attend the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Many of Grassroots International’s partners from Latin America, Asia and Africa were also there – some of whom we supported to attend – and it was a great opportunity for me to meet with them and with many of our allies in one central location. They were all at the conference because for them the climate crisis is immediate in its impact and not some theoretical scenario for the future.