By Saulo Araujo
September 28th, 2007
In a few weeks, Guatemalans will cast their votes in the final round of the Presidential elections. They will choose between two candidates, the impresario Alvaro Colom and the army general Otto Perez Molina. So far, it seems that the next president will be elected with a small margin of votes with the two candidates disputing every vote in the capital of Guatemala City, where the election is expect to be decided.
Far in the mountains, the votes of Mayan peasants will have almost no impact on the final outcome of the election. This lack of impact is evident in both political platforms, which fail to address the main issues and concerns of the Mayan population, including landlessness and the dire agrarian situation in the country.
Agrarian Reform and Peasant and Women's Leadership Strengthened at the Francisco Morazan Central America Peasant School
Over the last two days, I have been participating as an observer in the Central American Regional Conference on Agrarian Reform of the Via Campesina at the Francisco Morazan Central American Peasant School, named after the 19th century Central American leader who tried to create a united, progressive Central America.
By International Forum on Globalization
September 14th, 2007
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, indigenous Igarot activist from the Philippines and Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, stated: “The 13th of September 2007 will be remembered as an international human rights day for the Indigenous Peoples of the world, a day that the United Nations and its Member States, together with Indigenous Peoples, reconciled with past painful histories and decided to march into the future on the path of human rights.”
The first ever Boston Palestine Film Festival starts on September 29th and runs through October 7th. The festival, organized by Tawassul, an organization committed to sharing and celebrating Palestinian arts and culture, will feature more than 40 films, Q&As with visiting directors and an opening and closing celebration.
Tawassul has pulled together an impressive line up of documentaries, dramatic features, rare early works (1969-1980) and films by emerging artists. Many of these films depict vividly the hard life ordinary Palestinians, including members of Grassroots International's partner organizations live and the challenges they confront daily under Israeli occupation.
The New York Times reports today that, "CARE, one of the world's biggest charities, is walking away from some $45 million a year in federal financing, saying American food aid is not only plagued with inefficiencies, but also may hurt some of the very poor people it aims to help." (CARE Turns Down Federal Funds for Food Aid)
The tiny Central American nation of El Salvador has long been out of sight, out of mind to most U.S. residents. Once the guns of the 12 year civil war went silent in 1992, the country signed peace accords, disbanded the famously repressive National Guard, modernized the police force incorporating ex-combatants from both sides into its ranks and embarked upon a somewhat haphazard process of healing.
“Our Youth is not the Future, Our Youth is the Present” – Julian Moya, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Albuquerque, New Mexico
“We cannot choose the historical conditions we find ourselves in, but we can choose how we respond to them” – Ajamu Baraka, Director, U.S. Human Rights Network, Atlanta, Georgia
These two quotes, among many other hopeful messages I heard at the U.S. Social Forum (USSF) from June 27 to July 1, 2007 in Atlanta epitomized for me the USSF – what it stands for and envisions in terms of a different kind of United States. Both represent the truth embedded in the official slogan of the USSF – Another World is Possible; Another US is Necessary.
"A few days a week, foul-smelling black mud comes out of the plant," Javier told us as he sat a short distance downstream from the Coca-Cola plant in Apizaco, Mexico. Javier, a small farmer getting on in years, has been tending his cows along the Apizquito River for decades. "The spring is about four kilometers up to the east. The water comes out sweet and clean there, but by the time it gets here it's polluted."
Javier, a small farmer near the Coke plant
Please join Grassroots International at the United States Social Forum, Atlanta, June 27-30, 2007. The US Social Forum is more than a conference, more than a networking bonanza, more than a reaction to war and repression, more than a collection of local solutions. It's an important moment to further build the global movement for social justice.
Dear Friends,On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, Grassroots International wishes to express its solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for a just peace. Our work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories began in 1986, growing out of the work the organization had done since its founding in 1983 with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon after Israel’s invasion in 1982 and over the years we have had the privilege to work with and support some of the most dynamic and creative Palestinian organizations. As a member organization of the U.S.