Costa Rica has the appearance of a rich country that takes great pains to safeguard its natural environment. However, in reality it is the site of many conflicts over natural resources. Many people are defending their territory against monoculture, dam construction, and other threats to community self-determination.
Our contacts in Nicaragua state that their “leftist” government renders their struggles different from those in other parts of Mesoamerica. For this reason, they view the exchange of experiences of resistance through the Caravan as very important. In addition, they are eager to participate in workshops on appropriated technologies.
Our contacts in Honduras state that the Caravan would be particularly important with regard to the diffusion of human rights violations and resistance movements. They say that the situation in Honduras, while very grave, is not at all well-known.
We have not yet established contact with the particular communities the Caravan will visit in Guatemala. However, we are in contact with various movements that work communities in the country, including:
M4 Guatemala, The Mesoamerican Movement against the extractive Mining Model:
“The extractive mining model is the megaproject with the greatest impact in terms of territory, subjugation of human rights, land grabbing, and the destruction of Mother Earth.”
M4 is building a global social movement to strengthen struggles that are defending life, land, and territory, and resisting projects that go against the interests of the people. “We encourage the construction of processes of autonomy and self-determination, because we believe that in this way the cosmovision and dignity of indigenous peoples is recognized and respected, and harmony with the environment is guaranteed.”
In Chiapas, we see many negative effects and strong resistance movements to megaprojects and transnational capital.
Some examples include the following, named by the National Indigenous Congress: “In Bachajón, Chiapas, the Tzeltal people are being stripped of their land, water, and culture through the construction of tourist complexes around the waterfalls of Agua Azul, as well as the construction of highways and hotels, implemented by repressive paramilitaries” that seek to capitalize on indigenous peoples. “The communities of Bochil, Jitotol and Pueblo Nuevo, which pertain to the Tzotzil village of Altos, Chiapas, reported that there are plans of dams that threaten their territory.”
As the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation write in “The Mirrors of the Resistance,” from their meeting on Repression against our peoples in August of 2014: “The struggle that we represent is diverse, and the enemy that we name is plunder, because it is what we see, die, and live every day.” Against this dispossession, the Zapatistas have recuperated lands and build a broad vision autonomy and well-being.
Through our experiences in the Zapatista’s “little school” in 2014, we identify the Caravan within this Zapatista vision, and we see the Caravan as part of the struggle against the plunder of capitalism.
“The situation in the State of Oaxaca is particularly worrisome. Effectively, Oaxaca is considered one of the three poorest states in Mexico, in spite of its great wealth in terms of natural resources. Moreover, it is one of the states with the highest rates of marginalization. It is considered that 75% of Oaxaca’s municipalities face a situation of “high” to “very high” marginalization, and it is the indigenous communities that present the lowest rates of human development. This despite the fact that Mexico has three recommendations from the Universal Periodic Review specifically linking poverty and the rights of indigenous peoples…