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BTS Monthly Newsletter
Dear BTS Network, 
April brings several exciting announcements for the network. We have recently opened the hiring process for two summer cooperants, see below for the job posting and share with any Nova Scotian students you may know who would be interested! We also welcome María Reyes to the BTS team as Mining Justice Facilitator, based in Guatemala. Finally, we ask you to mark your calendars for the 2021 BTS Annual Gathering: October 22-24, registration to follow. 

As always, read below to find out the latest from Guatemala: updates from the Rabinal Legal Clinic and BTS's advocacy around an illegal Canadian mining project in Chiquimula. Also included in the April newsletter are the latest updates from the network, (including what the Antigonish Committee has been up to), and news on the success of the St. FX Service Learning Students BTS hosted this spring. 

Thank you for your continued support and solidarity,
Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network
Please Donate
August 14
Annual Mabou Boat Tour
Mabou, NS
October 22-24
BTS Annual Gathering 
Tatamagouche, NS 
November 6-7
Blue Nose Marathon
Nova Scotia
Guatemala’s Growing Climate of Repression
Guatemala’s dry season is once again coming to an end, making way for the rains that will spring forward another cycle of crops, life, and resistance.  As we have reported in previous weeks through updates on the top stories making the news in Guatemala, major concerns swirl around the current context of Covid-19 and its long-term implications, as well as the swearing-in of new magistrates to the Constitutional Court (CC) and the horizons this paints for human rights and land defenders.  Beyond the national confines, migration continues to be a critical issue for Guatemalans and one in which foreign policy agendas play a heavy hand in future landscapes for the land and for human mobility.  These pressing issues facing Guatemala, along with the national and international responses to them, reveal a political and economic matrix steering deeper towards increased violence and repression for the most marginalized. Under this climate, the safety and well-being of those working to uphold human rights, land defenders, community leaders, women denouncing gender-based violence, and tens of thousands being forced to migrate, are increasingly at risk.
Read the Full Story
Justice for the 36 Maya Achi Women: 4 Former Civil Defense Patrolmen will face trial in 2022
Live stream from the courtroom during the intermediary hearings in March 2021 (Photo Credit: Verdad Justicia)

At the end of March, the Rabinal Legal Clinic successfully appealed the decision made by now recused judge, Claudette Dominguez. This reversal affirms four accused men will face trial in January 2022: Bernardo Ruiz Aquino, Benbenuto Ruiz Aquino, Damian Cuxum Alvarado, and Francisco Cuxum Alvarado 
Read the Full Story
What is Making News In Guatemala: Top 3 Stories
Taken during a sustained peaceful protest in front of the Constitutional Court “We demand new elections” “Courts not mafias, no to the cartel of judges”  (Photo credit: LaCuerda)

Cooperants Indigo Christ and Laura Robinson have written an update on three of the most pressing issues currently occupying Guatemalan news. Indigo writes of further concerns in the election process of Guatemala’s highest legal body, the Constitutional Court. Furthermore, the recent increase of COVID cases and the arrival of a new Californian variant has the potential to increase transmissions and further strain the health-care system. Lastly, we look forward to the beginning of the consultation process for the Xinka People concerning the Escobal mine.  
Read the Full Story
Antigonish Local Committee
Photo credit: Stephen Swick.
Can solidarity sales save this marriage? A rare shot of life partners Janette Fecteau and Clem Anson cooperating as they set up for sales of BTS coffee and crafts at the Antigonish Farmers' Market April 3rd, 2021.
2021 St. FX Service Learning Placements
This winter, the BTS network hosted three Service-Learning students from St. Francis Xavier University for a 10-week placement as part of their undergraduate studies. The project, spearheaded by current Cooperants Laura Robinson and Indigo Christ, aimed to introduce the students to the BTS network and philosophy, develop their understanding of historical and current events in Guatemala, and provide them with the opportunity to take tangible action for social justice.

The project began with an orientation that introduced students to BTS and prompted reflection and discussion around global systems of oppression and identifying and leveraging privilege. Service-Learning student Hannah Lineker joined Laura on the Coffee and Resistance project which explored the global coffee trade, the BTS coffee project’s marketing, and how we can get the word out about our delicious JustUs! coffee roast. Meanwhile, students Alex MacIsaac and Natalie Brox joined Indigo for the Mapping Resistance project which dove into the parallels between land rights struggles in Mi’kma’ki and in Guatemala. 

Be sure to check out the students’ podcast (featuring special appearances by Lisa Rankin and Antigonish Local Committee member Janette Fecteau), read Alex’s written piece and Natalie’s reflection on our blog, and keep an eye out for Hannah’s promotional materials at upcoming BTS events! 
Letter of Concern to Goldex Concerning Illegal Mining in Chiquimula
View of the mine in El Pato, Chiquimula (Photo credit: Prensa Libre)

In collaboration with 6 other organizations, BTS has sent a letter to the Canadian embassy and Goldex, a Canadian mining company. The letter addresses the concern that Goldex has been illegally overstepping their exploration license by engaging in illegal mining and threatening the community in El Pato, Chiquimula. 
Read the full letter here
We Are Hiring 2 Summer Student Cooperants!
We are looking for two Nova Scotia-based returning students of any age to join our summer cooperant program. The ideal candidates will have a passion for social justice and solidarity work and have a strong interest and skill set in social media and communications. We highly encourage applications from individuals that represent the full diversity of communities in terms of ability, age, class, gender, race and sexual orientation.

Interested applicants are asked to send a resume and cover letter to BreakingTheSilenceHiring@gmail.com by Wednesday, May 5th at 5 pm ADT

Visit our site to find out more about our work and these two positions: 
Click Here
2020 BTS Year in Review
BTS’ 2020 Year in Review! In this review, we take a moment to remember the year, give updates on partners, the work of committees, Guatemala, and BTS’ programs. Thank you all for your continued support throughout 2020! 
Get your copy of the review:
Click Here
Spring Staffing Transitions
Introducing SMILE: Stacey, María, Indigo, Laura, and Este, who will be working through the spring and summer, joined by two summer cooperants in May. 
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