Guatemala: II Bi-National Meeting Chiapas-Guatemala in Defense of Territory

April 2, 2009

On March 21 and 22, the II Bi-National Meeting Chiapas-Guatemala in Defense of Territory took place; it dealt primarily with issues of mining, hydroelectric dams, and defense of water resources. Participants came from both sides of the border to share the problems they have had and their experiences of resistance. The Meeting took place in the town of San Antonio Huista, in the municipality of Huehuetenango in the north of Guatemala, in an area where a number of mining and dam projects are being developed by transnational companies.

Various organizations from Chiapas attended, including the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization, OCEZ-FNLS, the Popular Movement of Resistance of the Southeast, MRPS-FNLS, the Women’s Collective Rosa Luxemburg-FNLS, the Regional Front against Privatization FRCP-FNLS, CIEPAC, Otros Mundos Chiapas, and the Civic Association Dos Valles Valientes – FRENTE CIVICO CHICOMUSELO. From the Guatemalan side, many different social organization and representatives of communities attended. SIPAZ was also present at the event.

One of the most discussed issues was mining, a growing problem in Chiapas as well as Guatemala. Particularly discussed was the experience of the community consultations that have been organized in order to confront the mining companies in Guatemala. Organized by the Departmental Assembly for the Defense of Natural Resources, it is an indigenous form which respects the traditional ways of making decisions within a community. To date, it is a process that has been used in 23 communities in the municipality of Huehuetenango, with the participation of almost 350,000 people. All of the communities have rejected the mining exploitation in their territory.

The final declaration of the Meeting stated: “We call everyone together for a permanent mobilization, breaking artificial borders, free of violence against women, picking up the historic struggle and resistance of our peoples, to build another world.”

For More Information (In Spanish):

Carta Abierta II Encuentro Binacional por la Defensa del Territorio, San Antonio Huista, Guatemala

Convocatoria a II Encuentro Binacional, Centro de Medios Independientes Guatemala

Encuentro binacional En Defensa del Territorio se llevó a cabo en el país, (Noticias Nacionales Guatemala, 23/3)

Threats against Member of CIEPAC, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

February 24, 2009

On February 12 threats which occurred on December 2, 2008 against Norma Iris Cacho Niño, Coordinator of CIEPAC (Center of Economic and Political Investigations and Community Accion) were made public.

From November 25th to December 2nd a Caravan from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua to San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas was organized as a part of the activities in the Worldwide March of Women against the violence against women.

Norma Iris Cacho Niño actively participated as a member of the organizing commission of the Caravan in Chiapas as well as participating as a public figure during the activities which took place in San Cristobal de las Casas.

At 11:15 at night on December 2, Norma Cacho received a call on her cell phone. Upon answering, she heard a recording of the march which took place the same day, with her own voice speaking into a megaphone. After looking at the call record, she found it completely erased, leaving no record of any call entering or leaving.

CIEPAC wants the public to know that has not sought precautionary legal measures on the part the government in this case. Faced with many recent repressive actions, we ask that the organizations, collective, and communities be aware of the growing repressive tendency being carried out by the groups in power and the diverse government institutions.

For More Information (In Spanish):