Our Approach

Who we are?

Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network (BTS) is a grassroots network situated in Canada’s Maritimes provinces, the ancestral and unceded territories of the Mi’kmaq, Wolastoq and Passamaquoddy peoples. The network is composed of local committees and people in the Maritimes, as well as individuals across the country. 

What do we do?

BTS has been organizing since 1988 to support the efforts of Guatemalans struggling for political, social, and economic justice. Today, BTS accompanies Guatemalan partner organizations and communities engaged in:

  • Defense of Territory (e.g.: food sovereignty, land access, free, prior and informed consent with respect to Canadian mining and other extractive projects)  
  • Truth, Justice and Impunity (e.g.: transitional justice, gender justice, culturally relevant education)
  • Human Security (e.g.: basic human rights, opposition to militarization and criminalization)

This commitment to solidarity is expressed through:

  • an ongoing presence in Guatemala 
  • advocacy (eg.: urgent actions, coalitions)
  • organizing delegations to Guatemala and raising awareness within our own communities including speaking tours by community leaders from Guatemala
  • human rights and community development cooperants 
  • keeping the BTS network informed of issues of concern to our partners
  • supporting and amplifying our partners’ work 

Statement of Philosophy

Injustice is the result of structural inequalities both within and between countries, and BTS is committed to supporting structural transformation both in Guatemala and in Canada. Moreover, we recognize the interconnectedness of these two contexts. 

We strive to engage in solidarity with and build bridges between the Original Peoples’ (Pueblos Originarios) organizations and communities with whom we work in Guatemala, and the Indigenous communities in whose territories we are situated in the Maritimes. We recognize the ongoing impacts of colonization on Indigenous communities in both these contexts.

Our work is guided by a commitment to equity and opposing systemic oppression, as well as building long-term relationships based on solidarity and mutuality. We respond to partner needs and as such, we respond jointly with our organizational partners in Guatemala. Our relationships are built on friendship, sharing, and dialogue as we work, learn, unlearn, and grow together.