News recap: After presidential elections we amplify our partners’ analyses as to what they expect from the new government; we also share voices of people in resistance to U.S. Intervention along the Guatemalan border; an update on a significant case against Tahoe Resources, now owned by Pan American Silver; an invitation to contribute to the GAP scholarship fund. 

Solidarity Update: August 2019
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Dear friend,

Since the last time we wrote to you, Guatemala held its final round of presidential elections. In this context, we amplify our partners' analyses as to what they expect from the new government. We also share voices of people in resistance to U.S. Intervention along the Guatemalan border and provide an update on a significant case against Tahoe Resources, now owned by Pan American Silver. Finally, we invite you to contribute to the GAP scholarship fund and read directly from organizer and accompanier, Christina Reyes. Thank you for your support of NISGUA and our Guatemalan partners!

Guatemalan presidential elections: Social movements confront militarism & neoliberalism

Alejandro Giammattei of the right-wing military party, Vamos, will be the next president of Guatemala. Giammattei is outspokenly against gay marriage, in favor of the death penalty, and opposes the renewal of CICIG. Additionally, while acting as prisons director in 2006, he was accused of overseeing the extrajudicial killing of seven prisoners. His connections to former military officials and political leaders leave Guatemalan society with little confidence for change.
 “What we see with the president-elect is that his idea of ​​development will be based on free market and privatization. It is openly pro-business and for the campesinxs, these will be very difficult times. They will try to buy the land from those who have it, and for those who don't have land there will be no hope of accessing it. 

Giammattei does not have a policy against transitional justice, but he has mentioned that these issues must be left behind, that now we have to deal with the problems of the present. Not a single government administration has included transitional justice in their agendas. Rather, it is the survivors who gamble by taking the issue to the justice system and when it starts to advance, those in power react. When the idea gains strength they use the entire structure of the state to minimize those struggles and those successes that are achieved.”
-Member of the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR)

Trump extends border even further south: Guatemala is not a safe country

On August 9, community members organized by the Departmental Assembly of Peoples of Huehuetenango (ADH) took over the Mesilla border crossing at the Guatemala-Mexico border to protest the “safe third country” agreement between Guatemala and the U.S. The agreement requires that immigrants who pass through Guatemala on their way to claim asylum in the Mexico-U.S. border must do so first in Guatemala, effectively making it impossible for people to flee by land from the consequences of U.S. imperialism in Central America. One of the indicators of these consequences is the rate of murders of human rights defenders in Guatemala; in 2018 over 30 defenders were assassinated, in 2019 over 10  have already been killed. 

ADH makes the following demands: 
  1. Repeal the agreement signed by the Government Ministry of Guatemala, which tries to convert us into a “safe third country.”
  2. That extractive industries, military forces, and repression from other countries not invade our territories.
  3. That our borders continue to be an open path for the survival of Indigenous people, with respect to the networks and historical ties that have united the Indigenous people of Guatemala and Mexico.
  4. That whoever is elected as president of Guatemala on August 11, 2019 audit all of the agreements signed by Jimmy Morales. 
  5. That the next government respect the decisions of Indigenous Peoples made in community consultations of good faith. 
Read the Entire ADH Stament Here

Representatives of the ADH hold a press conference in Huehuetenango's central park to announce the rejection of the "third safe country" agreement as their comrades stop traffic at the Mesilla crossing on the Guatemala-Mexico border.

Lawsuit over 2013 shooting of land defenders comes to an end

In 2013, community members were peacefully protesting outside the Escobal mine when Tahoe Resources private security guards shot into the crowd. Several men, including Luis Fernando Garcia, Adolfo Garcia, Wilmer Pérez, and Misiel Alberto Martínez Sasvin, were injured in the attack. After years of seeking justice in Canadian courts, the four plaintiffs closed the case in July. NISGUA joins the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa, and Jutiapa, the Xinka Parliament, and comrades worldwide in honoring the work of Luis Fernando, Adolfo, Wilmer, and Misiel that led to a historic precedent-setting success for land defenders seeking justice.
Read more about the closing of the case here

The four plaintiffs join their lawyers from Camp, Fiorante, Matthews, & Hogerman in a press conference announcing the close of their case.

Invest in racial justice: Christina Reyes launches GAP scholarship fund

A seed of transformation and liberation was planted two years ago, when we shared NISGUA’s vision for solidarity and our commitment to an organization-wide racial justice framework. We committed to increasing participation of People of Color and low income/working class comrades in the Guatemala Accompaniment Project (GAP). Your donations to this initiative generated the resources we needed to work towards and successfully meet this goal. Now, for the first time in NISGUA’s history, our new GAP cohort is the first to include four Latinx organizers.
Today, we invite you to support one of these organizers. Christina Reyes (they/them), a first-generation Central American volunteer from this cohort, is preparing to work in Guatemala as an accompanier with GAP.
Can you donate to Christina’s training fees and make this opportunity feasible for future accompaniers? Help us fundraise above and beyond the $1,200 needed for their training, and contribute to a fund guaranteeing broader participation from low income communities in our future cohorts
Hear directly from Christina and donate today!

 Accompanier cohort at training in June: Top: Bridget Brehen (staff), Isa Villalon, Michelle Suarez & Sarasuadi Ochoa (staff) Bottom: Nicole Estrada, Ruby Tedeschi, & Christina Reyes

For nearly four decades, NISGUA has supported Guatemalans resisting U.S. imperialism, militarization, and extractivism, the same forces that often drive people from their homes. Please donate today to support our continued accompaniment, advocacy, and political education.
In Solidarity,
Sarasuadi Ochoa
Guatemala Accompaniment Program Coordinator
With the entire NISGUA team: Bridget, Claire and Meredith

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