Since 1990, Breaking the Silence has engaged Maritimers and people across Canada in solidarity work through on-the-ground accompaniment of our partners in Guatemala. Ranging from short and long-term internships, cooperant placements, delegations, and in-country presence of BTS staff, our solidarity efforts support the work of partners in Guatemala while increasing the capacity of Maritimers to become more conscientious and active organizers for social justice at home and abroad.
For several years after the end of our internship programs in 2013, our in-person support to partners in Guatemala took the form of in-country staffing and short-term delegations. In 2019, at the request of our partners, BTS recognized that a fundamental aspect of our solidarity needed to include a significant presence of Canadians in Guatemala. As a response, we launched a two-year pilot cooperant program to bring 6-8 highly qualified individuals from across the Maritimes region to Guatemala for short and long-term human rights and community development placements. Under the coordination of a full-time Lead Cooperant, the program brought three cooperants to Guatemala to support our partners’ work on truth, justice, and impunity, defense of territory, and human security, including mining justice.
In 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, BTS was forced to end its cooperant placements in Guatemala and shifted gears to strengthening virtual solidarity and accompaniment efforts. As we navigate the uncertainties presented by this context, we continue to centre the needs of partners as a guiding compass in our work and look forward to resuming our Cooperant Program in Guatemala in 2022-2023 with applications for training opening in February 2022.