Carlos Maaz, a Q'eqchi' fisherman shot and killed during a police crackdown on May 27, 2017 in El Estor. Hundreds of residents took part in his funeral procession across town the following day. Photo: Sandra Cuffe
Americas

Maya Q’eqchi’ Fishermen and Journalists Fight Back Against Criminalization and Mining in Guatemala

Maya Q’eqchi’ fishermen faced deadly state repression last year for their opposition to transnational nickel mining and lake pollution in El Estor, Guatemala. Now they are confronting criminal charges for their protest. The court case highlights the ongoing environmental and human rights crisis in a country where corporate power regularly meets indigenous resistance. “Just for defending our rights as Maya Q’eqchi’, we’ve been criminalized,” fishers' union leader Cristóbal Pop told Toward Freedom.

Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement. Photo by Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado
Americas

Occupy, Resist, Produce: The Strategy and Political Vision of Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement

Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) is one of Latin America’s largest social movements. For decades the MST has operated under their slogan "Occupy, Resist, Produce” to settle landless farmers on unused land in Brazil, where roughly 3% of the population owns over 2/3 of arable land. “In whatever society, and even more so in Brazil, social change doesn’t depend on the government but on the organization and the mobilization of society," said MST leader João Pedro Stédile. "It is the people that make the change.”

Riot police agents clash with students in Managua, Nicaragua, during a protest against government reforms. (Inti Ocon / AFP Photo)
Americas

Nicaragua’s Protests Transcend Old Political Divides

For Nicaraguan university student Rosa, it was the sheer brutality of the police crackdown that left her terrified in her own country. “I never thought it would be like that,” she said, reflecting on the first time she joined a peaceful protest against proposed social security reforms. Like tens of thousands of other Nicaraguan students, she participated in a wave of demonstrations in mid-April against the Ortega administration’s plans to slash pensions and increase employee contributions to the financially troubled Nicaraguan Institute for Social Security.

An Arizona National Guardsman watches over the U.S. border with Mexico at an observation post in Nogales, Arizona. Photo Credit: John Moore / Getty Images file
Americas

The Border Fetish: The U.S. Frontier as a Zone of Profit and Sacrifice

The US-Mexico border has become a place where the world's most powerful military faces off against people who represent blowback from various Washington policies and are in flight from persecution, political violence, economic hardship, and increasing ecological distress. Yet these twenty-first century border "battlefields" remain hidden from the public and largely beyond discussion.