Funding Global Movements… one grant at a time
By Alicia Tozour
By Alicia Tozour
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 is second blog in the Field Notes series. Read the first one here. Grassroots’ Program Coordinator for Latin America Saulo Araújo is reporting as he visits partners and allies in Central America.
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, 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 concerning the impact they are experiencing from the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) carbon credit plan.
In Central America, a new campaign to stop violence against women is gaining momentum. Launched by the Via Campesina International (the Via), the campaign is aimed at changing not only the attitudes of men towards women, but systemic and institutional violence against women.
The hillsides of Oaxaca literally slipped into mud and slid through community villages nearby. Among those affected by the deluge are Grassroots International partners: Mixe Peoples' Services; Center to Support the Popular Movement in Oaxaca;
Some of the most important lessons I know about grassroots organizing come from the poet Wendell Berry, who advises, “Invest in the millennium; plant Sequoias.”
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.
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.
Thousands of families in Guatemala and Honduras have been left without shelter and food in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Agatha. According to our partners in the region, three days of torrential rain destroyed families’ few possessions and dreams of a bountiful harvest this year. Floods washed away the seeds out of the fields as if they were dry leaves on a rooftop.
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.
Last month, I traveled to Cochabamba, Bolivia for a number of reasons. The main one was to attend the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Many of Grassroots Internationals 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.
Last week, I met with representatives from the National Women’s Commission of the Via Campesina - Guatemala. The Commission comprises women from four different peasant and indigenous organizations. As I entered the small office, I quickly recognized familiar faces from my last meeting with them in 2009, except for one young woman sitting in the corner with an open notebook: Julieta. The new National Coordinator for Women of our partner the National Coordination of Indigenous People’s and Campesinos (CONIC), Julieta is a soft-spoken leader facing the enormous task of coordinating rural women from 475 Mayan communities.
Despite a press release from the office of Senator Jim DeMint yesterday evening declaring that he has secured a commitment from the Obama Administration to recognize the Nov. 29th elections in Honduras regardless of Zelaya’s reinstatement, it is not too late for the Administration to reverse this position and do right by the people of Honduras.
For some, October 12th is commemorated as the day that Christopher Columbus "discovered" the Americas. For many more, it marked the beginning of over 500 years of foreign domination, cultural destruction and systematic exploitation. Over the last 15 years, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has perpetuated that tragic history.
Join with other justice-minded people to use this October 12th to push for the renegotiation and replacement of NAFTA and forge a new history based on mutual respect, human rights, and dignity.
The Global Week of Action on Trade is a collaborative worldwide action between different communities, to protest the damaging impact of "free" trade, while highlighting alternatives to NAFTA, CAFTA, other free trade agreements and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
It is being organized in conjunction with the Global Mobilization in Defense of Mother Earth and Her Peoples, launched at the IV Hemispheric Summit of Indigenous People in Puno, Peru, last May.
"We ratify the organization of the Minga (traditional indigenous collective communal organization) of the Global Mobilization in Defense of Mother Earth and Her Peoples against the commercialization of life (including land, forests, water, seas, agro-fuels, ex
Chances are, the average U.S. resident has no idea that their demand for electricity might require that a Mexican village be flooded for a hydroelectric dam. The question is: if the human cost were known, would we consume just a little bit less?
At Grassroots International, our bet is that a little bit of knowledge would go a long way. For those who value human rights, that high social and environmental cost is not likely to sit right.
Our unabashedly biased perspective is based upon the way we’ve worked for more than a quarter century: offering financial support to communities around the world whose natural resources have been extracted and despoiled and sharing their stories in living rooms, community centers and across cyberspace.
The military coup in Honduras is in its 80th day, and the Honduran people continue their peaceful resistance.
In contrast, the police are cracking down on protesters. Public officials not aligned with the coup government are being persecuted. The government repression has led to several casualties, including the death of two young people.
Despite the repression, those seeking democracy in Honduras refuse to be intimidated. Now members of the National Front of Resistance against the Coup D’état in Honduras are calling for a world-wide fast in solidarity with their struggle.