- Who We Are
- What We Do
- Where We Work
- Get Involved
- Stories and News
By Saulo Araujo
November 4th, 2010
They cross borders to survive.
Young people, like Ponciano Perez, 19, left, take the long north-bound journey from Mexico, seeking an opportunity in the United States. The trip can take several weeks or months. Without money to pay bus fare, some travel on foot to the border. Too often, the journey does not go as planned – meet the wrong people and they strip you from anything you have.
Back home, family members do not hear from their loved ones for months. They just hope for the better: a call or information that everything is okay and some money will arrive soon. In the best-case scenario, some money will arrive but at the cost of not seeing their children for years.
The Via Campesina – a Grassroots International partner – is organizing a long march in Mexico for life and environmental justice, prior to the United Nations conference on Climate Change in Cancun. Led by indigenous and peasant families, the caravans will depart from different locations and converge in Mexico City's Zocalo for a mass demonstration on November 30. Along the way, participants will visit communities affected by environmental disasters, such as those caused by the San Javier mining site in the state of San Luis de Potosí and El Zapotillo Dam in Jalisco.
For a week in late September, steady rain in the southern states of Mexico created mudslides and floods, affecting communities and farms in Oaxaca, Chiapas and surrounding southern states. Fortunately early reports overestimated the number of people killed in the disaster in Oaxaca.
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.
Grassroots International, Partners and Allies Speak about Resource Rights and the Food Crisis in San Francisco
Grassroots International partner Aldo Gonzalez from the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO) joined us in the San Francisco Bay Area at the end of January for a week of meetings, conferences and public events. UNOSJO is an indigenous-led organization working with Zapotec communities to build local autonomy and to increase food security in the Juarez mountains of northern Oaxaca, Mexico.
As one of the articles today in the German newspaper In Spiegel points out, the conference in Copenhagen around climate change is largely defined by wish-washy intentions and the introduction (or redefinition) new words: Green, Bio, Organic, Renewable and…Development. On one side of the Development debate are those who advocate for economic growth, while on the other side are the farmers, indigenous people and urban workers who claim that Development has contributed to their social and economic plight.
Cab drivers are often a good source of news information, or at least a good barometer of public opinion. Such was the case when I finally arrived in Mexico City this afternoon for visits with Grassroots International’s partners here.
The city hasn’t changed from the last time I came--the same heavy traffic and the same cloud of pollution above our heads. In the cabin of my taxi, I found an old newspaper with photos of damage in Cancun courtesy of Hurricane Ida last week. They are dramatic. Sections of the flat sand beaches of the famous tourist spot were left uneven. A caption on one photo says that the wild waves had carved out a seven-foot high wall in the sand!