Sunday, July 31, 2005

Blog from Guatemala, Part III: The Return Home

The following blog entry is from assistant editor Cyril Mychalejko, who just returned from a trip in Guatemala:

I arrived back in the States from Guatemala on Monday, July 18th. Even though I was there for about 10 days, it was a little tough making the transition back. It was an intense and informative delegation which left me struggling to digest everything I saw and learned. It made me think about how trivial some things that I may get stressed out about here are compared to the struggles people are dealing with in Guatemala.

Yet there are a lot of positive things going on in the region. A tremendous amount of work is being done to try to bring those responsible for the genocide that took place there to justice, as well as give families who suffered closure regarding the deaths/disappearances of their loved ones through the exhumation process of the mass graves left in the wake of the period referred to as "The Violence." One thing that does need attention though is finding a way to bring the U.S. government to justice for their role in the genocide, which starts with the CIA and United Fruit Company's role in the 1954 coup which abruptly ended Guatemala's flirtation with a democratic government which in turn was a catalyst for the civil war, in addition to military aid and training through programs such as the School of the Americas (former Guatemalan military leader, Rios Mont being one of its graduates).

Regarding the Glamis Mining project, if one good thing has come out of it, it is that it has strengthened communities in their resistance against the company and the "Upside Down" development championed by the World Bank, northern governments, multinational corporations and free trade agreements. The community organizing, education and mobilizations against such corporate globalization offer hope. Another world is possible and it’s happening on the grassroots level in Guatemala. The community consultations in places like Sipacapa and also San Miguel (scheduled to take place soon where Glamis' mine is located), which was just brought to my attention by Sandra Cuffe of Rights Action, offer a framework.

I would like to thank Rights Action for sponsoring this delegation and for all of the good work they support in places like Guatemala and Honduras. I urge everyone to visit their website. I would also like to thank everyone on the delegation. I learned a lot from them and I wish them all the best with the work they are doing in the US and Canada. I hope to have a follow-up to my Glamis article, which will be co-authored by Sandra Cuffe, ready for publication the next week or so... stay tuned.

Check out his previous entries here and here