Educational Delegation to Guatemala

PRE-ELECTIONS DELEGATION: The Struggle to End Impunity and Construct Democracy Join a Rights Action delegation to Guatemala from July 3 to 10, 2011. This pre-elections delegation will speak with human rights and social movement organizations struggling to create conditions for true democracy, and limit the control organized crime and big business hold over the state through illegal networks of influence.

It has been twenty five years since military governments formally ceased to directly control the Guatemalan State, and fifteen years since the signing of the peace accords. But as the September 11, 2011 general elections in Guatemala near, the political panorama is grim, and to many Guatemalans the elections present limited options and in many ways are only nominally democratic.

The courageous and untiring efforts of Guatemalan communities and human rights organizations, accompanied by 22 years of intense international missions, are beginning to shed light on networks that gained political and economic control during the military governments; networks with close ties to organized crime and national and international business interests, and which hold onto power by infiltrating the State; the justice system, police, military and elected politicians through influence in political parties and manipulation of violence to terrorize the population.

During this delegation, we will meet with: Human rights organizations pressing forward the ‘exemplary cases’ against war crimes; even as they meet constant setbacks; Land rights movements of communities that support each other against the appropriation of their lands by politically influential plantation owners and organized crime bosses; Indigenous rights movements that seek full recognition of their rights including recognition of traditional authorities and their territory; Justice reform activists who seek to reform legal mechanisms that maintain impunity and criminalize human rights defenders; and Communities defending their territory against transnational interests; mines, dams or biofuels; backed by political power holders.

For more information, please contact: Annie Bird(202) 680-3002 or annie@rightsaction.org

Led by Grahame Russell of Rights Action, this trip to Guatemala will enable participants to learn first-hand about the struggle for real democracy and rule of law in Guatemala, and the US and Canadian role in perpetuating the lack of democracy. It will be focused on how North Americans can be involved in activism and organizing to support democracy in the hemisphere.

COST: US$750. This fee covers: 8 nights of hotel; 2 meals a day for 7 days; transportation in-country; trip organization, guiding, translation, honorariums for some people we meet with, etc. Participants pay for their own travel to and from Guatemala.

DATES: Arrive in Guatemala City on Sunday, July 3 and depart on Sunday July 10. (There are no delegation activities planned for these dates)