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.”
"The extractive model from the United States and Canada is one of the principal causes of the internal and external displacement and expulsion of people," said Enrique Vida Olascoaga of Voces Mesoamericanas. "Mining projects, hydro-electric, and monoculture have become far worse in the last seven years, since the beginning of the free trade agreements. Together with historic discrimination against indigenous peoples, campesinos, and people of African descent, there is a convergence of this violence within migration."
Guatemala is rapidly expanding its energy generation infrastructure with support from Washington and international banks. The construction of mega-dams has been met with a wave of resistance from communities set to be displaced by the projects. Indigenous activists are continuing their struggle in the face of the wider extractivist projects facing the region.
Colombia’s 52-year-long war came to an end in September 2016, when the Colombian government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia signed the historic peace accords. But Colombia’s left has now confronted new threats, including targeted assassinations by paramilitaries, and criminalization for defense of land and the environment.
Rather than create opportunities for marginalized people, the 1996 Guatemalan Peace Accords favored a neoliberal philosophy that embraces foreign corporate investment and drives the dispossession of indigenous lands.