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BTS Monthly Newsletter
Dear Breaking the Silence Network, 
In the past month, we have been fortunate to reconnect and form new connections with members of the network during the Annual Gathering in Tatamagouche and through the Maritimes Speaking Tour where we were accompanied by Wendy Mendez and Paulo Estrada, plaintiffs in the Military Diary Case. For those who could not attend these events, we look forward to filling you in on some of what the network has been up to recently through this newsletter! Below, catch some of the latest news from our partners including advancements in transitional justice, the defence of native seeds, and concerning corruption cases in Guatemalan justice. 
Don't miss that we are hiring for a new Guatemalan Coordinator and we are still searching for individuals interested in becoming cooperants. Please share these opportunities with your networks! 
Yours in solidarity
Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network
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First Gathering of Communities Impacted by Pan American Silver takes place in Guatemala
Representatives of communities in resistance to Pan American Silver’s proposed Navidad mine in Chubut, Argentina travelled to Guatemala the first week of May 2022 for the First Gathering of Communities Impacted by Pan American Silver, hosted by the resistance to the Escobal Mine in San Rafael las Flores, Guatemala. The gathering was held over 5 days, with opportunities to share experiences of struggle as well as show support for the local encampments in Mataquescuintla and Casillas. The week culminated in a press conference. Both the Argentine guests and hosts here in Guatemala expressed the importance of opportunities for exchanges of information, as many of the tactics used by the company are the same in both countries, as well as in La Colorada mine in Mexico. By sharing this information, the resistances in Guatemala and Argentina have created a relationship which will mean long-term support throughout this struggle. 
The Massacre of Rancho Bejuco Proceeds to the Intermediary Phase
interview with Lucia Xiloj, lawyer for the Rabinal Legal Clinic on the judge’s decision to go forward with the case. 
On Wednesday, June 8, 2022, the High-Risk Court D in Guatemala City sent a former coronel and battalion commander of CREOMPAZ (the military base in Coban, Alta Verapaz), 2 former military commissioners, and 6 former civil patrols to trial for the July 29, 1982 massacre in Rancho Bejuco, El Chol. The majority of victims in this case were children.

The 9 are accused of crimes against humanity and murder and were sent to prison to await trial. 

Battalion commander, Edgar Ovalle, is also implicated in the CREOMPAZ case for his role in forced disappearances and crimes against humanity for his role in 88 massacres while Ovalle was an intelligence and operations official at the base. He is currently being held awaiting trial in the CREOMPAZ case.

The judge set a three month period for further investigation on the case and the intermediary phase of the trial is set to begin on September 29, 2022. 
The Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute Presents the Biodiversity and Ancestral Knowledge Law

IMAP joins with organizations representing Indigenous Peoples from across Guatemala to present the Biodiversity and Ancestral Knowledge Law before Congress in the National Capital Photo Credits: Imap Guatemala

Organizations representing Indigenous peoples in Guatemala presented the Biodiversity and Ancestral Knowledge Law before the Guatemalan Congress on May 31st. The bill is also known as “the People’s Law,” as it arose from the consensus reached by ancestral authorities and Indigenous and campesino organizations across the country. The bill seeks to protect native plants and seeds as a vital form of preserving traditional knowledge, food sovereignty, and biological diversity in their lands and territories.
Read more
Military Diary Case: Daily Special Bulletin Updates 
In collaboration with the Families of the Victims of the Military Diary Case, BTS has been posting translations of the Daily Special Bulletin Updates for the Military Diary case to our website in both English and French.
View the updates
The Trial against María Cuc Choc, Criminalized Q'eqchi' Land Defender from Estor, Izabal Begins

María Choc and her lawyer Wendy Lòpez outside of the court house in Puerto Barrios before the trial on April 21st, 2022 Photo Credits: Laura Robinson

April brought the beginning of the criminalization trial against land defender María Cuc Choc. For the past 16 years, Maria has dedicated her life to defending the land and protecting the human rights of the Maya Q'eqchi' people in Estor, Izabal. Maria has been criminalized for her work in the department of Izabal providing translation for Q'eqchi' women who wish to present cases of human rights violations and violence against Indigenous women. She has also acted as an interpreter for other members of her community who face criminalization. 

Read about the trial process and our accompaniment of María. 
Read the Latest Update
Election of the Attorney General of the Public Prosecutor's Office 2022-2026
Photo taken during manifestations in the capital. The sign reads: danger, killer state. Gendri Reyes: leave your position now. Alejandro Giammattei: Stop lying. Consuelo Porras: stop surveilling!
The current Attorney General, María Consuelo Porras has been reelected to her post for the 2022-2026 session. International and national authorities have expressed concern about some circumstances that could have affected the transparency and impartiality of the process to elect an independent Attorney General. Given that Porras is responsible for dismissing prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval, taking control of the Special Prosecutor's Office Against Impunity (FECI), delaying major corruption cases, and is designated by the U.S. government as an ​​Undemocratic and Corrupt Actor by being named to the Engel List. 

Read more about the Attorney General's election and its ramifications for justice in Guatemala.
Read the full update
SIGN ON: Letter in Support of mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence (mHREDD) for Academics and Legal Professionals
A member of the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability (CNCA) is compiling a letter of support for mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence (mHREDD) and is looking for academics (university faculty, teaching staff, or graduate students) and legal experts (including lawyers, legal studies professors, or anyone with other legal expertise) to sign a letter of support calling on the Canadian government to implement mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence (mHREDD) comprehensively and without delay. The letter and list of current signatories can be viewed here and you can sign the letter here. 

If you have any questions about completing this form, please contact Georgina Alonso at galonso@aboveground.ngo.

Sign the letter
Deadline Extended for Cooperant Program Training
BTS has extended applications for the 2022 Cooperant Solidarity & Human Rights training!

The BTS Cooperant Solidarity & Human Rights training is open to anyone seeking to increase their knowledge, skills, and practice of solidarity and human rights by serving as a Cooperant in Guatemala starting as early as the fall of 2022. The experience of being a Cooperant will foster a critical understanding of the practice of solidarity in Guatemala and its relevance for community engagement in Canada. 
Learn More
2021 BTS Year in Review
We are so pleased to present to the network are 2021 year in review inside you can find reflections from staff, our local committees, Guatemalan partners, an update on the cooperant program for the year, and many other special activities! 

We would like to extend a special thank you to everyone who contributed to the network in 2021 and made our work possible. The interest and the energy you bring to receiving Guatemala updates, learning about the work of BTS’ partners, the efforts of local committees to fundraise and educate their local communities, and engagement in urgent actions is truly what the network thrives on. Your continued solidarity, especially throughout the pandemic, is vital to the BTS network.

Thank you! 
View the Report
Official Book Launch of In the Arms of Inup
On May 28th, 2022, Eve Mills Allen and Jeremias Tecu attended the BTS Annual Gathering for the first in-person book launch of In the Arms of Inup

During the launch, Jeremias and Eve told the story about how the book came to be, shared some of Jeremias’s testimony from the book, and explained the impacts and change they are looking to inspire with the book itself.

You can purchase a copy of In the Arms of Inup here: bit.ly/ArmsofInup Jeremias Tecu Eve Mills Allen have generously donated 10% of all sales from In the Arms of Inup to Breaking the Silence.
Read the Full Update
Get a Copy of the Book
We're Hiring a Guatemala Coordinator!
Applications for our Guatemala Coordinator position are due June 14th by end-of-day!

This position will be based in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and requires that the individual be a Canadian citizen, dual-citizen, or permanent resident of Canada.

We are seeking an individual with an understanding of oppression within and between the global North and South, knowledge & political analysis of the context of both Canada and Guatemala, excellent leadership, people, and intercultural skills, as well as a keenness to work side by side with our partners in their communities. 
Learn More

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