Advocacy and Accompaniment Successes
PPP Advocacy and Accompaniment Successes
NISGUA began actively participating
in the Network Opposed to Plan Puebla-Panama (NoPPP Network) shortly after its
creation in late 2001. Today a number of organizations, including NISGUA, the
Committee of Indigenous Solidarity-DC Zapatistas, DataCenter, Ecumenical Program
in Central America and the Caribbean (EPICA), and Agricultural Missions continue
collaborating to oppose the PPP.
NISGUA staff has supported Guatemalan efforts to resist PPP projects in other ways as well. In August 2003, NISGUA sent a staff member on a fact-finding delegation organized by the Guatemalan organization Centro de Investigaciones y Educacion Popular (CIEP). Representatives from local communities and members of the Frente Petenero contra Las Represas and Alianza por la Vida y la Paz coalitions also participated on the delegation, the point of which was to investigate the likely effects of an Usumacinta dam and inform local communities of the findings. NISGUA helped subsidize the participation of seven Guatemalan community and organizational representatives. Delegates camped close to the Piedras Negras archeological site and took day trips up and down the river and into the jungle gathering data that community delegates are now using to educate and organize in their villages and to lobby the Guatemalan government to end its plans for Usumacinta dams. CIEP also used this trip to finalize a video focused on the PPP and local organizing efforts, which we hope to make available to our activists.
In 2003, after seeing the environmental organization Tropico Verde's success in using NISGUA tour funds to produce and distribute 2,000 copies of a popular education PPP booklet for the Guatemalan countryside, NISGUA set aside funds for additional projects of this type. In May 2003, the coalition Alianza por la Vida y la Paz (Alliance for Peace and Life) printed 2,000 copies of a special PPP edition of its Alerta Peten, Despierta newsletter in Spanish and Q'eqchi' - a regional newsletter that Alianza publishes when funding allows. Impressed with the scope and seriousness of their work, NISGUA decided to contribute funds to support their publication efforts. By the end of 2004, Alianza staff had used NISGUA's donation to produce 12,000 copies of four new editions of the Alerta newsletters focused on the PPP, CAFTA, and other free-trade and development issues.
Finally, NISGUA staff has also focused on educating the U.S. public about the damaging ramifications of the PPP in Guatemala. We established a PPP resource center, translating key articles and declarations about PPP projects in Guatemala into English. NISGUA also contributed significantly to the writing, editing, translating, and funding of the 1st and 2nd editions of the booklet Plan Puebla Panama: Battle over the Future of Southern Mexico and Central America, a publication of the NoPPP Network.
NISGUA's efforts have contributed to a growing movement in the U.S. and Mesoamerica opposed to PPP projects. In fact, regional resistance to the PPP has proved so strong that the official PPP website was deactivated for nearly a year. Institutional sponsors such as the Inter-American Development Bank used this "non public" time to hire public relations firms to curtail the damage. Government officials now take care not to link a specific project to the PPP - a clear sign of victory for those opposed to these massive infrastructure projects. Nevertheless, this public delinking does not mean an end to the PPP but merely a mutation in its appearance, making it more challenging than ever for activists to identify and coordinate strategies in opposition to this grand neoliberal scheme. For this reason, it's vital that we continue to work with sister organizations in the U.S., Mesoamerica, and elsewhere to oppose this plan and we welcome your support.
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© 2009 Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala