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BTS Monthly Newsletter
Dear Breaking the Silence Network, 

Earlier this month we announced our decision to cancel the annual gathering and fall speaking tour with Rony Lec. While this was a difficult decision to make, we are excited to continue to find ways to act virtually in solidarity as a network. In this newsletter, we are certain you will be moved by both the seriousness of the challenges facing our partners and the successes they have found during these trying times.

Lisa Rankin, who has returned to Guatemala as Director of Guatemala Programs, brings updates from the San Lucas Toliman region. Maria Reyes has written a comprehensive update about the increasing corruption of the judicial system and Laura Robinson writes about how our partners have reacted to the government’s corrupt management of the pandemic. Below, also find a moving documentary from Festivales Solidarios with Maria Cuc Choc, whose criminalization trial will proceed this November, a petition from the APG, and an update on the Tierra, Amor, y Resistencia performances.

Yours in solidarity,
Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network
Please Donate
Saturdays, 8am-1pm
BTS Coffee Project
Forum Farmers' Market in Halifax
November 6-7
Blue Nose Marathon
Nova Scotia
November 13 - 7pm
Tierra, Amor, y Resistencia
North Shore and District Fire Hall Indian Brook
November 14 - 2PM
Tierra, Amor, y Resistencia
Grace Jollymore Theatre, Tatamagouche
Guatemala: A Fragile Rule of Law
(Photo taken during recent manifestations in the capital. Sign reads: No danger, killer state. Gendri Reyes: leave your position now. Alejandro Giammattei: Stop lying. Consuelo Porras: stop surveilling) 
After several years of historic advances in the fight against corruption, impunity, and the search for truth, Guatemala's justice system is under the control of groups interested in maintaining corruption and impunity. Since the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) was expelled in 2019, few strongholds remain in this battle. Recently, the Special Prosecutor against Impunity was dismissed from their post and many prominent judges were named to a list of corrupt and undemocratic actors.

For more analysis and context from María Reyes:
Click Here
BTS In-person Visits Resume with the CCDA & IMAP
For the past year and a half, we have been unable to visit partners due to the COVID-19 pandemic. BTS has been using virtual accompaniment in this time to support our partners. Last week, Lisa Rankin had the opportunity to travel to Lake Atitlan and visit the Highland Small Farmers Committee (CCDA) and the Mesoamerican Institute for Permaculture (IMAP). 

Read an update from our first visit back to the San Lucas Toliman region:
Read More
National Strike Against a Corrupt COVID Response
Throughout the pandemic, several corruption scandals have affected the Guatemalan government’s COVID-19 response, causing diminished access to vaccines, healthcare, and public support programs. Such schemes and recent moves against those who investigate corruption have affected the health and confidence of the population. Read this update to learn more about the National Strikes called by our partners the Highland Small Farmers Committee (CCDA) and the Xinka Parliament to protest the government’s corruption and response to COVID.
Read More
CuraDaTerra Docuseries: Maria Choc: healing the body
By amplifying the voice of Maya Q’eqchi’ women with translation and accompaniment, María Cuc Choc faces criminalization proceedings. Today, she continues to resist the powerful companies engaging in monoculture, mining, and hydroelectric projects in Izabal, Guatemala.

Recently released, Festivales Solidarios and the Guatemalan Federation of Radio Schools (FGER), have created this beautiful documentary (subtitled in English). Learn from Maria about her resistance and the choice to heal the earth rather than contribute to the systems that continue to harm it.
Removal of Hilda Pineda, Lead Prosecutor for the Special Office of Human Rights, another blow to justice in Guatemala
Hilda Pineda, the Lead Prosecutor for the Special Office of Human Rights who has advanced cases including the Death Squad Dossier case and the prosecution against Efraín Ríos Montt has been transferred to the office of Crimes against Foreign Tourists. This represents another significant and purposeful step backwards in the fight for justice in Guatemala.

We request your solidarity by signing this petition circulated by the America's Policy Group-Mesoamerica:
Sign the petition
Bluenose Marathon Fundraiser
IN SEARCH OF: BTS’ers willing to run (or walk!) for their money! 
Register to participate in the Bluenose Marathon in Halifax, NS in support of the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network! Join us in this annual FUNraising event to walk or run with the BTS team in the 10km event on Sunday, November 7th. 

To register contact:
Marla LeBlanc
call or text 506.878.0645
Donate to a Participant
Annual Gathering and Speaking Tour
We are very disappointed to announce the cancellation of the fall Annual Gathering and Speaking Tour due to the growing concern for the health and safety of our network amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you to all of the local committees who have put so much thought and effort into planning the Speaking Tour and thank you to the Annual Gathering committee for planning such a special and meaningful weekend to Reconnect the network. 

We look forward to rescheduling these events and in the meantime, reconnecting with you all virtually.
Tierra, Amor, y Resistencia
(Andrea Currie and Lydia Jenkinson during a performance of Tierra, Amor, y Resistencia in Antigonish | Janette Fecteau, Elijah Mulcaster, and Maritza Hubley, Photo credits: Addy Strickland)
The above photos were captured during the performance of Tierra, Amor, y Resistencia (Land, Love, and Resistance) during Antigonight, September 18th, 2021. See below for more dates and locations to view this powerful spoken word performance written by Andrea Currie and recited alongside fellow members of Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network delegations to Guatemala. 

This visual and poetic performance is a reflection on Indigenous land and water protection, ceremony, and healing from colonization in Guatemala and Mi’kmaki. 
November 13, 7PM, North Shore and District Fire Hall Indian Brook
November 14th, 2PM, Grace Jollymore Theatre, Tatamagouche.
Stop the excessive violence Maya Q'eqchi' people in peaceful resistance against Fenix Nickel Mine
After twenty days of peaceful resistance against the illegal mining of their ancestral territories and the Guatemalan State's failure to enforce the Constitutional Court's ruling to immediately halt the mining, hundreds of State security agents are using excessive force to evict Maya Q'eqchi' fishermen and indigenous authorities in El Estor, Izabal, Guatemala.

Journalists and human rights observers on site are being threatened and harassed, especially regarding the lack of compliance with the Constitutional Court's order which was granted due to the lack of consultation with the communities.
Read the Urgent Action
Webinar - Fenix Nickel Mine
On October 4th, Maya Q'eqchi Indigenous Authorities and local fish harvesters began a permanent peaceful resistance encampment on the road leading to the Fenix Nickel mine. Despite a ruling by the Guatemalan Constitutional Court to suspend the project pending a consultation process, production has not stopped at the mine, the community has not been allowed to participate, as required by the Constitutional Court, and new operating licenses have been granted. After 2 weeks of resistance, police forces, at the request of the company, began attempts to remove the peaceful resistance to allow the free passage of mining equipment using excessive force and tear gas. On October 24th, President Giammattei declared a state of siege which will further militarize the area and limit the rights of the Q'eqchi to protest.

Join this webinar to hear from communities affected by the Fenix project and learn more about business accountability. 
Register Here
IMAP wins the Lush Spring Prize!
Congratulations to the Mesoamerican Institute of Permaculture (IMAP) on winning the 2021 Lush Spring Prize! This award celebrates and recognizes all of IMAP's success and efforts to regenerate environmental, social, and economic health through permaculture and seed-saving. Congratulations on the decades of hard work and perseverance! 

The Lush foundation is holding an event with IMAP on October 29th at 10 AM ADT: Amaranth, A Treasure of Indigenous Knowledge for the World. 
This session will introduce IMAP's work and amaranth - its importance, history, cultural context, and importance in feeding humanity. It will explore its qualities (cultivation form, how it resists droughts and pests) its agro-economic potential, and will demonstrate the potential and challenges of amaranth cultivation.
Zoom Link
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