While Europe still slumbered in the midst of the Dark Ages, the Mayan people had charted the heavens, evolved the only true writing system native to the Americas and were masters of mathematics and calendrics. They were able to construct vast cities with an astonishing degree of architectural perfection and variety.

Women Facilitators of Nuevo Horizonte
Peten Alliance for Life and Peace

Peten Alliance for Life and Peace

The Petén Alliance for Life and Peace grew from a collective effort to resolve certain historical problems (land distribution, the exclusion of women and indigenous peoples, lack of education and health services, etc.) and to address the threat of neo-liberal policies that directly affect the population of Petén.

Members of the Canadian delegation meet with the leadership of the Peten Alliance in Flores, Peten

This alliance represents 25 organizations from the department of Petén in Guatemala, and made it’s first public appearance on International Resistance Day of Indigenous Peoples, October 12th, 2002. Since the signing of the Peace Accords, on December 29, 1996, the living conditions of the poor majority haven’t improved and the causes or origins of the internal conflict haven’t been resolved. This reality brought the participating organizations together to strengthen the Popular Movement and the struggle.

On International Day Against Dams, March 14th of 2004, the Alliance launched an information campaign which centers on the Plan Puebla Panamá (PPP), and whose central slogan is “Water, Corn, and Land are Ours” (Agua, Maíz, y Tierra son Nuestros).

WATER: in opposition to the privatization of water and dam building.
CORN: for food sovereignty (in terms of self-sufficiency, self-determination) and against genetically altered corn.
LAND: for the just land distribution.

Since the launching of the “Water, Corn and Land are Ours” campaign, the Alliance has begun a “Solidarity Economy” project in 2009 which links progressive communities in different regions of Guatemala and establishes direct trade relationships. By trading directly with each other, campesinos in both communities can benefit by getting more for their agricultural products as producers and also save as consumers. For example, tomatoes and cucumbers grown in Chimaltenango are shipped by truck to Peten communities. On the return trip, the trucks haul corn and black beans produced in the Peten back to Chimaltenango. Coyotes, or middlemen who exploit campesinos that have no power in the marketplace, are bypassed completely and communities benefit by trading directly with each other in this way.

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