Simposio Guatemala

Guatemalan citizens have begun the journey to transform a country wounded by corruption and years of violence. Organized in a movement, they achieved the resignation of President Perez Molina and over a dozen public officials, including the vice-president, government ministers and Cabinet members who have been arrested and put on trial for their participation in one of the largest corruption scandals in Latin American history. Today, Pachamama Alliance joins the Guatemalan movement in their efforts by offering tools of inspiration and a model for environmental education to broaden their ongoing efforts.

In August 2015, Pachamama Alliance received an invitation from the Association for the Development of the Maya World, #YoSoyDignidad, #FiscalizaYa, VosXela, etc. to support the movement that, for the first time in the country’s history, succeeded in organizing massive peaceful protests, without police, military or state repression. Several groups participated in the Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium in different cities around the country on eight occasions. The Symposium has now reached audiences and inspired people in Guatemala City, Antigua and Quetzaltenango as well as indigenous Mayan representatives who also trained as Symposium Facilitators.

How the Symposium Contributed

How does the Symposium contribute to the efforts to put an end to systemic corruption?

This is the question that Pachamama Alliance asked participants after the Symposium and their responses included two important findings. One is that the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium broadened the scope of the political crisis of the country, one that included the environmental and social aspects of a crisis.

We also heard about the physical and emotional exhaustion after months of protest and citizen resistance, which Pachamama Alliance’s work replace with a sense of possibility and a hopeful outlook toward the desired future everyone wants to see.

What Guatemala Needs Now

What’s happening in Guatemala is unprecedented and although the first major step has been taken in dismantling an illegal network of corrupt officials, in order to continue to see structural change, active civil engagement will be required in the months and years to come. People need to stay awake after their first win and that’s the challenge; to prevent the movement from scaling back. It is in this step of the process that the work of Pachamama Alliance can be a contribution.

The second contribution we heard about is the ability of the Symposium to remind participants of their intrinsic connection to the Earth and their ancestors, especially indigenous peoples whose voices, in the case of the Maya, have not been heard despite nearly 500 years of active resistance to the oppression they have endured. (In Guatemala there are approximately 21 Maya groups, making up the majority of the population.)

What’s Next for Pachamama Alliance in Guatemala?

The Pachamama Alliance team has been invited to return to Guatemala to conduct a new series of Symposiums and Symposium Facilitator Training.

It is with enthusiasm, joy and with great gratitude that we accept this invitation!
For more information about this training, please email maisa@pachamama.org