Defending Mother Earth and Indigenous Rights in Guatemala: Visiting the DMV April 24-27

The US-sponsored Guatemalan government is burning down entire indigenous communities, imprisoning indigenous leaders, clear cutting forests and poisoning rivers.  One of the most heavily forested countries on the planet is being converted into a major emitter of carbon, speeding catastrophic global climate change.  Indigenous people in Guatemala are rising up in nonviolence in defense of their culture and Mother Earth.  In doing so they are not only protecting indigenous communities, but they are defending the future of all species throughout the world.

Join indigenous Poqomchi’ community organizer Sofia Tot and Colectivo Madreselva (Mother Jungle Collective) lawyer Vladimir Soto as they discuss nonviolent resistance against genocide and environmental destruction in Guatemala, and the role international solidarity plays in this struggle.  The Defending Mother Earth and Indigenous Rights in Guatemala delegation to the US will be in the DC region April 24-27 and is organized by the Guatemala Solidarity Project in collaboration with Colectivo MadreSelva.  Event times and locations are listed below, followed by information on the speakers.

The delegation to the US will be followed by a delegation to Guatemala from May 27 – June 5.  We are looking for activists, organizers, musicians, teachers, students, farmers and others to join the delegation to Guatemala.  Click here for more information

April 24, 10:00-11:30:  Civil society organization meeting, American Friends Service Committee, 1822 R St NW, Washington, DC.  Open to representatives of environmental, human rights, sustainable development and other civil society organizations.  Please send RSVP to

April 24, 4:00:  Presentation open to the public at Georgetown University Car Barn room 204, 3520 Prospect St NW, Washington, DC.  No RSVP needed

April 25:  Lobby day.  If you are interested in joining us, please email or call 202-735-9165

April 26, 9:30:  Presentation open to the public at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, 2501 Calvert St NW, Washington, DC.  Space is limited, please send RSVP to

April 26, 1:30:  Presentation open to the public at Montgomery College Rockville Campus Theatre Arts Arena, 51 Mannakee St, Rockville, MD.  No RSVP needed

April 26, 7:00:  Presentation open to the public at the Davis Library, 6400 Democracy Blvd, Bethesda, MD.  No RSVP needed

April 27:  Lobby day.  If you are interested in joining us, please email or call 202-735-9165

Sofia Tot is an indigenous Poqomchi’ community organizer.  Tot is Secretary of the Maya, Achi, Q’eqchi’ and Poqomchi’ Council of Baja Verapaz and has accompanied many indigenous communities and leaders in their struggle against violent repression and environmental degradation.  Tot has helped found numerous women’s organizations, including the Integral Development Women’s Collective of Baja Verapaz, which supports the financial independence of indigenous women; and Maternal House, which supports indigenous women after birth and has helped lower maternal death rates.  Tot coordinates social work for the Catholic Church in the municipality of Purulha.  Tot continues to organize against government and corporate looting of indigenous lands despite constant threats and government surveillance.

Vladimir Soto is a lawyer with Colectivo Madre Selva (Mother Jungle Collective).  Soto worked on the historic case of the Oxec and Oxec II hydroelectric dams, which reached the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court of Guatemala.  These cases forced the Guatemalan government to recognize the right of indigenous communities to be consulted about major “development” projects which occur in their territories, although Soto says the court’s ruling was insufficient and contradictory.  Soto has worked on numerous cases involving repression against indigenous communities and environmentalists in Guatemala.  He has supported legal action against mines, dams and other major projects occurring on indigenous lands without proper consent.

“We aren’t going to stop until we recuperate our land.  We don’t want ownership of our land to turn it into profit, we want ownership to protect our rivers, trees and mountains.”

-Sofia Tot