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)