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BTS August Newsletter

Dear members, 

It's been five months since the onset of COVID-19 in Guatemala. Despite local reports demonstrating increased hardships faced by the majority of the country’s population in regards to community spread of the infection, lack of access to foodemploymenthealth, and security, the Guatemalan government began shifting gears towards the "new normality" by significantly loosening the country’s mobility restrictions and lifting interdepartmental travel, reducing curfew hours, allowing for the opening of malls and restaurants, and hinting at an opening of borders in the weeks to come. 

Accoding to President Giammettei: “We only have two paths, we either get it (COVID-19), or we save ourselves from getting it.”  

BTS Interim Guatemala Coordinator Este Chep shares how Guatemalans are faring in this "new normality" and how our partners are responding to ongoing challenges.

Read more
Please Donate
September 2, 2020 @ 8PM ADT
The Shadow of Gold: Virtual Screening & Roundtable Discussion
Online (see below for more info)
Oct 24-25, 2020
BTS Annual Gathering
Tatamagouche, NS
October 28, 2020
CNCA Virtual Rally
Spring 2021
BTS Delegation

Letter of concern for human rights violations against Xinka defenders

Over 90 organizations from Guatemala and globally have signed a letter to Guatemalan officials expressing concern for threats, violations of human rights and impunity in relation to Xinka defenders. 

In the context of COVID-19 and the current state of emergency declared by the Guatemalan government, we are extremely alarmed about the situation that human rights defenders face, especially given an increase in defamation, threats, and criminalization of members of the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa, and Jutiapa.

Read the letter

August 9th — International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

For International Day of the World's Indigenous People on August 9th, Maria Reyes (SAGE project consultant) wrote about the ongoing struggle by Xinka people to self-determination and to free, prior and informed consent.

Read more

Help us reach 6,000 signatures on the CNCA EMPOWER & ENACT petition!

Thanks to everyone who's signed onto the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability's empower and enact petition. We've surpassed our initial goal of 4,000! Help us get to 6,000 signatures by September 1st. 

The petition calls on the Canadian government to: 
a) EMPOWER the Office of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise with independence and the power to investigate human rights abuse allegations; and

b) ENACT a comprehensive human rights due diligence law that compels businesses to respect the most current international human rights standards across the entirety of their global operations and supply chains and holds them liable for harms caused by or on behalf of their operations.

Please sign the petition if you haven't already and share it with your friends & networks! 

Sign Now

BTS 2019 Year in Review

Last year, was filled with many memorable moments, including the launch of the BTS Cooperant Program, speaking tours with Gloria Reyes of the Rabinal Legal Clinic and Mayra Jimenez of Ocho Tijax and the "Land Rights are Human Rights" delegation. Read all about it in our BTS 2019 Year in Review. 

The BTS 2019 Year in Review includes Coordinator reflections, an overview of the situation in Guatemala in 2019, updates from local committees, as well as BTS partners and so much more! 

Read more

Another Successful Year for the BTS Annual Boat Cruise Fundraiser 

On August 15th, we had another successful boat cruise in beautiful Mabou, Cape Breton with Captain Andy Rankin and BTS friends. We enjoyed each other's company, feasted on delicious snacks and fresco de rosa de jamaica, and swam - while ensuring physical distancing due to COVID-19. 

Thanks to Andy and Lisa Rankin for making this fundraiser possible! All proceeds raised will go to supporting BTS' work.  

2020 Topacio Reynoso Pacheco Award

Each year the Topacio Reynoso Pacheco Award recognizes and supports youth fighting to protect the environment and their territories through the use of art and other creative forms of resistance. This award is dedicated in the memory of Topacio Reynoso Pacheco, who lost her life at 16 years of age as the result of her vocal opposition against the Canadian mining project Escobal in her community of Mataquescuintla, Jalapa.  

In this spirit, we are proud to present this year’s award to a group that has been organizing for the past eight years and has been using theatre of the oppressed and rap to confront the Tres Rios hydroelectric dam project in their territory, as well as the ensuing criminalization of land defenders in their community.  

The recipients of the 2020 Topacio Reynoso Pacheco award are Colectivo Juventud Empoderada Organizada (Empowered and Organized Youth Collective) in San Pablo, San Marcos!

The Topacio Reynoso Pacheco Award is made possible with the support of Bows and Arrows Coffee, MiningWatch Canada, the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, the United Steelworkers, and the Justice, Mission and Outreach Committee of the Maritime Conference of the United Church.

Read More
Thanks to our wonderful summer staff members

Over the summer, we had the pleasure of working with Laura Robinson as BTS Summer Cooperant (left) and Courtney Jones as Strategic Support Worker (right).  Thanks to both of you for your wonderful work!

BTS Annual Gathering: October 24-25, 2020
All are invited to join the Breaking the Silence Annual Gathering, taking place Saturday October 24th, 9:30am – Sunday, October 25th, 1pm at the Tatamagouche Centre. 

Come make and renew connections, be updated on struggles in Guatemala and Mi’kmaki, and be inspired for ongoing support and action. We'll hear from Emy Gomez, General Coordinator of the Xinka Parliament virtually, and more! 

Your participation matters! We hope to see you there! 

Further information: 

  • Please read the Tatamagouche Centre's COVID-19 protocols for our onsite gatherings.
  • If you are unable to register online, at the link below, please call Katja Burtis at Tatamagouche Centre 9am-4pm, weekdays (except Wednesdays) at (902) 657-2231.
  • For any registration questions email the Centre info@tatacentre.ca
  • Please do not stay away because of a lack of funds. We need you!  If you can, it is helpful to pay a portion of the cost. To apply for a bursary please click “Partial Bursary” under payment options and our Registrar will contact you.
Register now
The Shadow of Gold: Virtual Screening + Roundtable Discussion
Check out this upcoming virtual event! Respondents include Tracy Glynn (of the BTS Fredericton Committee and Charlotte Connolly (of the BTS North Shore Committee). Charlotte was also a member of a February  mining delegation to the Escobal Silver Mine, led by BTS Guatemala Coordinator Lisa Rankin.

This event is presented by Mining Watch.
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