The indigenous and African American communities know perfectly well that regardless of who is elected their situation will not change unless they themselves change. The only alternative they have is to strengthen their autonomy, their capacity to organize, and their capacity to make decisions. Naturally this process brings us beyond the immediate and what occurs in the electoral process. To me this is a very important question, because it places us in a situation where the political agenda is not being made by those in power, but rather the people.
The slain Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was declared a Saint by the Catholic Church on October 14. But for many people in Latin America, Romero was already a saint.
The indigenous communities of southern Chile have seen the dispossession of their lands for private interests for centuries. Their resistance has been met by a systematic criminalization by the Chilean state. Recently, this long struggle entered a new phase in one struggling Mapuche community.
Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, announced last month that they would stop purchasing palm oil from a Guatemalan producer tied to human rights violations, environmental destruction, and corruption. The move was the result of years of pressure from Guatemalan and international activists.
One hundred Q’eqchi Maya families have established an encampment next to the Presidential Palace in Guatemala City to protest the government's unwillingness to resolve agrarian conflicts in their territory. “We are here in front of the National Palace because of the failure of the state," indigenous activist Carlos Choc explained. "Our Q’eqchi communities have risen up."
The Trump administration is increasing the militarization of Central America while expanding mining, destructive mega-dams, and corporate dispossession of indigenous land. Yet local resistance is growing. "We do not wish to be the experiment of the United States," Guatemalan indigenous leader Miguel de Leon Ceto explained. "We are not animals.”