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Guatemala

Indigenous Women Are Defending Weavings From Cultural Appropriation

The vibrant colors of the Indigenous weavings from Guatemala that appear on the traditional blouses known as huipiles, skirts and other items hold a deep symbolic meaning for communities across the Central American country, but they are also deeply intertwined with the promotion of tourism in Guatemala. The intricate designs greet tourists in promotional material at the airport, and companies and non-government organizations have sought to capitalize on the designs. For the last six years, Indigenous women have sought to challenge the exploitation of their sacred designs through the promotion of legislation that would protect their collective intellectual property rights. On Sept. 5, the Women’s Association for the Development of Sacatepéquez, or AFEDES, and the weavers of the Ruchajixik Ri Qana’ojbäl **movement, which means Guardians of Our Knowledge in the Kaqchikel language, presented their latest proposal for a law that would protect their weavings.

Mayans Call For International Action To Halt Violations Of Their Rights

The Mayan Council Chilam B'alam of the K'iches, the Mayan Council Komon Ajq'ijab', the National Coordinator of the Territories of Life Network (Coordinadora Nacional Red Territories de Vida), the National Ajq'ijab' Council "Oxlajuj Ajpop," and the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), inform the national and international communities that on May 4th, 2022 they presented a communication requesting urgent action by the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure.

Guatemalan Water Defenders Celebrate Ten Years Of Resistance

In Central America, as in many other parts of the world today, communities are being thrust into life and death struggles up against powerful interests to ensure clean water and health for their future generations. This is often the case where mining companies seek to dig up gold, silver, iron ore or other metals and minerals, disrupting or destroying precious water supplies in the process, and leaving behind massive quantities of toxic waste on the land. With national and international laws designed to privilege such harmful activities in the name of so-called development and progress, it is vital to celebrate the milestones of people fighting against all odds to protect their lives and lands from such threats.

Global Indigenous: Chemicals, Climate And Consultation

The Ontario-based Aamjiwnaang nation is surrounded on all sides by petrochemical facilities, and members had long suspected that the facilities in “Chemical Valley” had exposed them to potentially dangerous chemicals. The data, which had been held secret for many years, was disclosed by the environment ministry following questions from Global News. The Aamjiwnaang people, situated along the Michigan border, think that the government of Ontario has been disrespectful by withholding the data from them. “This is just the continuation of the Canadian legacy of putting Indigenous people, people of color, at a lower place,” Janelle Nahmabin, also known as Red Cloud Woman and chair of Aamjiwnaang’s environment committee, told Global News.

Guatemalans Back On The Streets Demanding President’s Resignation

Guatemalan Ancestral Indigenous Authorities and advocate groups took to the streets on Thursday to demand the resignation of President Alejandro Giammattei Attorney and the General of the Public Ministry (MP), María Consuelo Porras. "The president Alejandro Giammattei and the Attorney General of the Public Ministry did not respond to the people that demand their resignation. In this scenario, the people as taken to the streets and several sectors have called for an indefinite strike," teleSUR´s correspondent in Guatemala Rolanda García reported. On the other hand, the Ancestral Indigenous Authorities denounced a campaign to attack Indigenous communities, social movements, and alternative media outlets.

Guatemala Protests Call For Resignation Of President And Corrupt AG

Protests and road blockades are being held on roads and highways across Guatemala to demand the resignation of neoliberal President Alejandro Giammattei and his Attorney General, Consuelo Porras following the dismissal of the head of the Special Prosecutor Against Corruption, Juan Francisco Sandoval, now in exile. A large number of opposition movements and parties, including indigenous, campesino and student organizations have organized at more than 60 meeting points in the capital and across the country, in what some are calling a ‘Plurinational strike’. Indigenous authorities issued a call on Thursday, urging the population to support mobilizations by taking to the streets to show rejection of the government and its corruption and flagrant mismanagement of the state.

Let’s Not Forget The Suffering The US Has Inflicted On Guatemala

During her recent visit to Guatemala, Vice President Kamala Harris delivered a frank message to Central Americans hoping to find refuge in the United States. “I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border,” she said at a press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on June 7. “Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.” Harris’s comments drew criticism from organizations advocating for asylum seekers. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D‑N.Y.) wrote on Twitter that seeking asylum at the U.S. border is “100% legal” and called on the United States to “finally acknowledge its contributions to destabilization and régime change in the region.”

Guatemala: Address Policies That Put Corporations Over People

Vice President Kamala Harris is traveling to Guatemala this week to discuss solutions to the poverty, violence, and corruption that are among the driving forces of migration. Contributing to these drivers are neoliberal arrangements, such as the Central America–Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which have been imposed on Guatemalans. This framework favors the development of large-scale mining and energy projects that are devastating to the well-being of rural communities and Indigenous peoples, while allowing private corporations to sue governments over hard-fought social and environmental protections. Case in point: A Nevada-based mining company is suing the Guatemalan government for over $400 million, claiming violations of investor protections in the CAFTA.

Guatemalans Continue Anti-Government Protests

Guatemala City, Guatemala – Guatemalans have returned to protest across the country for the second Saturday in a row, as discontent with President Alejandro Giammattei and his government continues. More than 2,000 people gathered in Guatemala City’s central plaza to demand the resignation of Giammattei and congressional representatives who had approved the country’s controversial 2021 budget. “We are demanding that they respect our rights and that all those corrupt politicians in Congress leave,” Maria Fernanda Saldana, a 22-year-old university student...

Massive Protests In Guatemala Against President And The Congress

At least 10,000 people rallied in the central square of the country’s capital, in front of the seat of government, to express their dissatisfaction after 10 months of President Alejandro Giammattei’s administration and the approval of the 2021 budget — the largest budget in the country’s history. These latest events are part of rising discontent in the country in response to the policies of Giammeattei’s government and the right-wing party he represents, Vamos, as well as the deteriorating economic situation in Guatemala, which has been devastated by the pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes this fall.

Guatemala’s Congress Burns Amid Mass Protest

Guatemalans have taken to the streets for a national protest in rejection of President Alejandro Giammattei, and to demand that he veto the controversial general budget for 2021, approved by lawmakers on November 18. A fire broke out at the Congress in the capital city, though the main protest groups maintain that the people have continued to demonstrate peacefully in the central square which is surrounded by riot police. They warn that infiltrated groups have burned down the Congress, serving as a distraction from the popular calls in rejection of corruption.

Indigenous Peoples Are Using Ancestral Organizing Practices

As the effects of Covid-19 continue to be felt unequally around the globe, Indigenous peoples, such as the Xinka in Guatemala, are finding ways to organize and care for each other, while firmly rooting their response in ancestral practices that have sustained them throughout time. The Xinka people mostly live in southeastern Guatemala, in the municipalities of Santa Rosa, Jalapa, Jutiapa, and Escuintla. Since the time of Spanish colonization, the Xinka have fought to protect their land and culture. Today, they continue asserting their rights to self-determination, to fight for recognition from the Guatemalan government, and to resist transnational mining companies set on extracting large amounts of silver from their territory, which hosts one of the largest-known deposits in the world.

Guatemalan Water Protectors Persist, Despite Mining Company Threats

Guatemala - The hard work of protecting water and land from the long-term harms associated with gold and silver mining takes place daily on the frontlines of tenacious struggles throughout Latin America and around the world. Indigenous people and affected communities face many reprisals for their resistance, including a mounting number of arbitration suits against their governments from mining companies suing over projects that people have managed to halt through direct action and in the courts. This month, in Guatemala, the Peaceful Resistance “La Puya” celebrates eight years of struggle against a gold mining project that threatens to pollute or dry up already scarce water supplies in an area just north of Guatemala City. Day after day, since March 2012, community members have rotated in shifts to keep 24-hour watch over the access gate to the “El Tambor” gold mining project.

Families Fleeing From Guatemala: A Case Of Corporate And State Aggression

Increasing drug and gang-related violence and poverty—an estimated 59% of Guatemalans live in poverty, most of whom are indigenous—are not the ingredients of a safe and secure environment. This environment is largely a result of the legacy of more than half a century of U.S. policy, intervention, and corporate interest and its deleterious effect on Guatemala’s people. The U.S. intervention model has failed in Guatemala. It has used a nation rich in natural resources and in cultural tradition as a tool for extractive resources and for cheap labor. It has relied upon coercion to repress dissent over the failure to provide either decent livelihood or safety for most of its people.

2019 Latin America In Review: Year Of The Revolt of the Dispossessed

A year ago, John Bolton, Trump’s short-lived national security advisor, invoked the 1823 Monroe Doctrine making explicit what has long been painfully implicit: the dominions south of the Rio Grande are the empire’s “backyard.” Yet 2019 was a year best characterized as the revolt of the dispossessed for a better world against the barbarism of neoliberalism. As Rafael Correa points out, Latin America today is in dispute. What follows is a briefing on this crossroads.
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