We currently have numerous efforts which we are seeking funds for. Some previous fundraising efforts are detailed below. Donations are tax-deductible in the US. It is best for us if you give by mailing us a check or by using your credit card on paypal.
All checks should be made out to "UPAVIM Community Development Foundation" You must also write "GSP" in the notes/memo section of the check
c/o Greg Norman
713 W. Garfield
Temple, TX, 76501
Thousands of q'eqchi' peasants in the Polochic Valley in northeastern Guatemala were made homeless by a wave of violent evictions in March, 2011. Over a thousand soldiers, police and paramilitary participated in the destruction of hundreds of houses, thousands of acres of basic grains and the murder of Antonio Beb Ac. Thousands of people were forced to live without shelter from Guatemala's strong sun and harsh rains. Their crops were destroyed and they had no other means to feed themselves.
The GSP raised funds and the communities decided to use the funds to purchase deworming medicine for their children. Being forced to live without even basic shelter left the children vulnerable to widespread worm infection. The small amount of food the communities were able to provide their children after the Government attacks provided very little nutritional value because of these infections. We believe the deworming medicine helped save lives by maximizing the effectiveness of the food provided to hundreds of displaces children.
Even after the initial attacks, they communities continue to face starvation and government and paramilitary attacks. More information about the situation and our work in the Polochic Valley is detailed at here
Saquimo SetanaThe community of Saquimo Setana has faced systematic repression from the Guatemalan government and wealthy individuals. This repression has included numerous attacks, such as the one that nearly killed Jorge Armando, pictured above with his Mother after their house was burned down in an attack. The GSP has worked closely with community members in support of their legal rights. Numerous community leaders have been imprisoned on fraudulent charges, and other community leaders have arrest warrants against them. In addition to providing some financial assistance to the community's legal struggle, the GSP has directly supported several political prisoners from the community who have faced hunger and violence in prison.
Rio Cristalino Elementary SchoolDozens of primary school age children passed years without access to formal education in the q'eqchi' community of Rio Cristalino. The government is refusing to recognize the community's legitimate claim for access to land or support the education of its children. The community has been victim to violent attacks from uniformed police and from masked men, but they continue to push for land reform and access to education. The GSP worked with the community to raise funds for basic construction materials, school supplies and teacher salaries. The school was built in January 2011, just in time for the start of the school year. GSP fundraising paid teacher salaries at teh school in 2011 and 2012.
Ramiro Choc and Encuentro CampesinoRamiro Choc is a q'eqchi' peasant leader from eastern Guatemala. His dynamic organizing skills and commitment to social and environmental justice lead to his leadership in numerous successful grassroots struggles. He has survived several assassination attempts and is currently held in prison in Guatemala City. He has been held by the government since soldiers illegally arrested him on February 14, 2008.
Bisan Solidarity Project
Just outside of the town of Nebaj, of the region of Quiche in the Western Highlands of Guatemala lies Bisan, also called June 30th. The community members there are Ixil Maya, who fled the country to Mexico during the extreme violence of the civil war that plagued this country for 36 years and returned to find that their homes and land had been destroyed or taken over. On June 30th 2006, after a 10 year battle to be granted land, their legal right as returned refugees under the 1996 Peace Accords, the people that would form this community invaded and occupied an area that was owned by the military but unused. The majority of the pressing needs of this community are economic as they land they have is not enough to sustain the number of people on it and wages in the area are abysmally low. Some of the most pressing needs include roofs for their houses, a clean water supply and distribution, and school supplies.
CUBILHUITZ ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
GSP partner community Cubilhuitz Cubilhuitz has helped organize and host numerous solidarity delegations. The community requested our assistance to purchase materials for the construction of a school. Hundreds of children had no access to school, and the Government would provide teachers to the community if buildings were constructed. Only recently dozens of men of the community ended a long legal struggle against "trespass" charges for refusing to be evicted from the land they, their parents and their grandparents were born on. In 2009 the GSP purchased materials and the community constructed two buildings. 2013 marks the third year that the Cubilhuitz school has been open.
XALALA LEGAL SUPPORT
Thousands of indigenous Maya farmers are threatened with eviction and their lands would be flooded if the collosol Xalala Hydroelectric Dam is built. Community leaders organized a referendum about the dam in April, 2007, in which 90% of voters rejected the dam's construction. In September, 2007 the government announced that it would ignore the vote and accept bids from multinationals for the construction and operation of the dam. The communities were particularly concerned with how to get the word out in the case of a government or paramilitary attack. With the support of GSP fund raising, the communities have built several regional solar powered cell towers to be able to communicate in case of emergency. More info on Xalala
JUAN LOPEZ SCHOLARSHIP FUND
On March 15, 2005, Juan Lopez was murdered by the Guatemalan Army while participating in a protest against the Central American Free Trade Agreement. No one has been held responsible for his murder and the Government has given no compensation to his family. Lopez left four young children behind that his widow and father are struggling to support. GSP fund raising helped provide a small amount of support to the family.
SUICHE III LEGAL SUPPORT
The community of Suiche III is struggling to survive after being violently evicted from their lands in 2007 and 2008. Because their houses, land and crops were stolen, the already impoverished community has no ability to pay the fees associated with their legal defense of their land. The GSP helped raise funds to support the community's legal struggle for land.
BISAN - CAJA LUDICA THEATER AND JUGGLING PROJECT
Billy Ochoa of Caja Ludica made monthly weekend trips to the village of 30 de Junio in Nebaj in order to lead workshops with the children of the community. Billy has participated in past delegations and has years of experience working in communities involved in various struggles in Guatemala City and throughout the countryside.
Caja Ludica is a collective which uses art to create spaces for awareness raising. They seek to build a culture of solidarity, democracy and peace. They use the Ludica Methodology of Participatory Transformation, which implements processes of integral development where self knowledge, freedom of expression of ideas, respect of people and nature, confidence, teamwork, dialogue and critical interpretation of reality are promoted.
We recommend the following sites for more information on Guatemala
Read Upside Down World Covering Activism and Politics in Latin America
Read Rights Action With tax-charitable status in the USA and Canada, funds community-controlled development, environmental, human rights and emergency-relief projects in Guatemala, Honduras, Chiapas and Oaxaca (Mexico) and El Salvador, and does education and activism work with North Americans to address global exploitation, repression, enviro-destruction and racism.
Read NISGUA Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala
Read Narco News Reporting on the drug war and democracy from Latin America
Read Comite de Unidad Campesina Website of the COmmittee for Peasant Unity (in Spanish)
Read Albedrio News and analysis in Guatemala (in Spanish)