The indigenous territories most hard hit by mining concessions are the Rarámuri, Zapotecos (mostly in the central valleys of Oaxaca), Chatinos, Mixtecos, Coras, Tepehuanes and Nahuas of Michoacan. The concessions in these people’s lands add up to more than a million hectares.
It has been five years since Mexican legislators approved a series of changes to Mexico’s constitution relating to security, the justice system, and organized crime. The changes, it was promised, would make the courts system more reliable and open, and protect the rights of citizens. The reforms introduced spoken arguments in trials, the presumption of innocence and an adversarial criminal process, marking what experts call a “paradigmatic shift in Mexican jurisprudence.”
While the new system has support in high places, it also has its detractors, many of whom point out that the legal reforms were “Made in the USA.”
In the last decade, the expansion of oil palm plantations and sugarcane production for ethanol in northern Guatemala has displaced hundreds of Maya-Q´eqchi´ peasant families, increasing poverty, hunger, unemployment and landlessness in the region, according to a new Food First report by Alberto Alfonso-Fradejas, “Sons and Daughters of the Earth: Indigenous Communities and Land Grabs in Guatemala.”
I read the statistics before joining 16 School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) activists on our first trip to the U.S.-Mexico border–before I followed Steve into the Sonora desert to drop off water jugs on migrant trails, before I watched Olga call her coyote to make sure he’d delivered her son safely, before I conversed with Pedro and tried not to stare at his missing leg – severed by The Beast, the deadly train that migrants hop to travel through Mexico. Before I stood at the wall with Jose Antonio’s mother and wondered why the Border Patrol pumped so many bullets into his young body as he walked along a street in his own city, on the Mexican side.
As a resource-rich country, Suriname bills itself to international investors as a modern-day “El Dorado”. Yet many fear the small nation on South America’s Atlantic Coast is selling its wealth at the expense of its people’s health.
Mexican activists responded to the global call for a day against Monsanto with a “Carnival of Corn” in Mexico City. Hundreds of mostly young people from political, social and environmental organizations and artists’ collectives held cultural events and paraded from the Palace of Fine Arts to the Monument to the Revolution with drummers, street theater, music, performance and dance. The most popular hash tag in the social networks was #FueraMonsanto (#MonsantoOut).
If they board a bus, undocumented migrants in Mexico can be pulled off and deported by soldiers at numerous checkpoints dotting northern-bound highways. Without paperwork, they can’t make it past the airport service counter. So the train remains the most accessible means of transport for Hondurans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, and others hoping against hope to make it to the US. And the most deadly.