From the mountains of Guatemala, the foro social de las Americas has uplifted the voices of resilience of the peoples. Despite decades of war and violent oppression, it is images of growth and red carnations that decorate the streets and walls. It was the military that would destroy the harvest in order to ‘starve out’ the resistance. But the plants, like the movement, grow back stronger. The names and lives of the many martyrs of the struggle are very alive in the people’s memory. It is with this energy and spirit that we have encountered the local struggles as thousands of folks across the hemisphere have converged in Guatemala city. This lives in the backdrop of the failure of the capitalist finance system, as grassroots organizations are converging for a week of exchange, dialogue and movement building.
Being in this country with the leadership of the social movements, it is immediately present the realities of the militarization of a county. The strong resistance despite the legacy of war and current systematic violence, assassination and disappearance leave a profound sense of humility. Whether is excuse is fighting ‘guerrilleros’ or ‘drug-traffickers’ or ‘terrorists,’ the military after 30 years of internal wars is building power against the people (with the backing of the US). The domestic military acts an army of occupation. In many cases, this forum represents one of the first times movements have linked together again after all the massive repression.
In the face of all this, an indigenous Mayan woman spoke to their community’s struggle the displaced a military base and transformed the space into an autonomous university. The strength and leadership of indigenous Guatemalan women is a strong inspiring force throughout this space as they take their struggle to the next level.
As SWU presented the history and the struggles we face on the US-Mexico border and shared our experiences with many other participants, we also connected with the front of the local struggle fighting the construction of the US’s first ‘line of defense’ – a wall of death on the border between Mexico and Guatemala, bring again hypermilitarization of the indigenous regions of resistance in the country. In addition as we are consuming natural resources at an alarming rate, there is a global race for extraction and environmental exploitation. In our communities at home, there face increasing pressure for mining and energy development we were able to dialogue with indigenous Guatemala coalition, CONIC, resisting the massive mining industry that are stealing the local resources for the consumption in the North and leaving the legacy of contamination, disease and death in its path. But the consciousness and resistance is rising.