Communities Confronting Globalization
a talk by Manuel Mendez Guzman of the Red de Defensores Comunitarios por los Derechos Humanos
Sunday, March 4, 7:00 p.m., Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine
sponsored by PICA (Peace through Interamerican Community Action)
Since the Zapatista uprising began on January 1, 1994, (the first day NAFTA went into effect) the Mexican military and paramilitaries have waged a counter insurgency war against Zapatista communities. Thirteen years after the uprising, human rights abuses continue and the entire state of Chiapas is heavily militarized. The Mexico Solidarity Network presents a speaker from the Red de Defensores Comunitarios por los Derechos Humanos (Community Human Rights Defenders Network) to discuss the impact of this "low-intensity" warfare, and what is being done on the ground to resist.
The Red de Defensores is a network of indigenous human rights observers from Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico. The Red, founded in May 2000, is a non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion and defense of human rights. The Red developed an alternative model of human rights work in which community members who suffer human rights abuses at the hands of the army, paramilitaries, and the federal government assume control of their own defense. Self-determination and autonomy are the guiding principles of the Red de Defensores. The Red is currently made up of 25 community indigenous defenders from eight regions. In each case, the community chose their representative to the Red in a traditional process that assigns "cargos" (tasks) to highly respected members of the community. All of the defensores live in threatened communities that have a history of suffering from human rights abuses.
The representative from the Red de Defensores will:
- Discuss threats to indigenous communities, such as NAFTA, Plan Puebla Panama, and the agricultural crisis in Mexico.
- Discuss human rights abuses in Mexico, their relationship to globalization, and how indigenous communities are working to end the abuses and impunity.
-Promote a sustainable model of international trade based on economic justice.
- Discuss the leadership of women in fair trade cooperatives.