Mesoamerica

Another COPINH Leader, Defender of Indigenous Communities and Rivers, Assassinated

With heavy hearts, Grassroots International mourns the death of Lesbia Yaneth Urquía Urquía, a member of COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras), who was brutally killed on July 6, just 4 months after the assassination of Berta Cáceres. Lesbia Yaneth defended the rights of Indigenous communities and opposed the privatization of rivers in La Paz, Honduras. Since the 2009 military coup in Honduras, over 100 environmental activists (including Indigenous Peoples, peasant leaders, and more) have been killed, and thousands criminalized and jailed.

Celebrating Mothers from the Movements

This Mother’s Day we celebrate three women who find the courage to overcome the great adversity they face as they work to improve the lives of their families and of their communities. Juslene, Esperanza and Samiha are three inspiring mothers who, working with Grassroots International’s partners in Haiti, Honduras and Palestine, are key leaders within their communities.
 
 

Climate Change, Learning Exchanges and Your Coffee

Nearly 75 percent of Mexico’s coffee is dying. A fungus (known as la roya, or rust) is working its way across the coffee fields in Oaxaca, Chiapas and other states, threatening to ruin farmers’ livelihoods and severely impact the supply of coffee that growers export around the world.

The rapid spread of the Roya Fungus is rooted in two global phenomena: climate change and trade agreements.  And small farmers are organizing to adapt to the first, and confront the second, with remarkable innovation and courage.

International Women's Day – Celebrating the Life of Berta Cáceres

This year Grassroots International is dedicating International Women’s Day – March 8 – to Berta Cáceres, courageous indigenous Lenca leader and coordinator of the Civic Council of Indigenous People’s Organizations in Honduras (COPINH).
 
Just days ago we learned that Berta was assassinated in her home. A leader in the Lenca community, Berta helped organize a powerful movement to stop the construction of the Agua Zarca dam and to protect the Gualcarque river basin. For more than a year the Lenca people maintained a human blockade to stop trucks from entering the dam construction site and thus halted its construction.

Ancestral Territories, Human Rights & Climate Struggle: A Photo Blog from Honduras

Descendents of escapees from African slave ships and indigenous communities, the Garifuna people live on the Atlantic coast of Honduras. Their beautiful seascape and ecologically rich lands have attracted aggressive interest from foreign investors for plans ranging from tourist resorts to mining to industrial agriculture.

Women Leading the Way for Reform in Central America

The Women’s Commission of the Via Campesina has a poster of Margarita Murillo. A family farmer and member of the Women’s Commission, Margarita was killed last year after many years of receiving death threats for her leadership in defending land rights.

Celebrating International Day of the World's Indigenous People: A Photo Blog

Since 1994, August 9 has been dedicated as the UN’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. The primary purpose of this commemorative day is to help promote and protect the rights of indigenous people around the world. 

3 Stories on Mother's Day

This Mother’s Day we want to tell you three stories that keep the original spirit of Mother’s Day alive – justice, protecting their children, and unity. It’s a far cry from the fancy brunches and greeting cards that fill in for Mother’s Day now and instead returns to the political history of the holiday: of women working in the 1850s and 1860s to improve sanitary conditions, lower infant mortality, and unite a once-divided country through pacifism after the Civil War when the idea of Mother’s Day first came about.

No Agrarian Reform with Women at Home: Video of Esperanza Cardona

With women at home, agrarian reform will not advance! Those words from Esperanza Cardona, a powerful grassroots leader from Honduras, kicked off a recent Grassroots International event lifting up the Global Campaign to End Violence Against Women.

The video below includes Esperanza's presentation (beginning at 6:20), which follows her introduction by Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of Grassroots International.

Major Land Rights Victory for Maya Q’eqchi and Mopan of Southern Belize

The Caribbean Court of Justice, Belize’s highest appellant court, ruled that the Maya Indigenous People of southern Belize have rights to lands they have customarily used and occupied. The Court affirmed that these traditional land rights constitute property within the meaning of the provisions of the Belize Constitution that generally protect property free from discrimination.

After almost a decade of legal struggle, the April 20th judgement finally upholds the rights of the indigenous Maya to their ancestral lands.

Grassroots International has supported he Maya Leaders Alliance, a lead plaintiff in the case and community voice for indigenous rights and cultural.