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"We call our continent Abya Yala, which means 'Land in Full Maturity', to avoid calling it by the terms given by the Spanish colonizers," they stressed.
From Wednesday to Thursday, thousands of Latin American social leaders will gather in the Abya Yala Peoples International Meeting in Guatemala City to exchange experiences about their fight against injustice and violence against their peoples.
"We call our continent Abya Yala, which means 'Land in Full Maturity' in the Guna language, to avoid calling it by the terms given by the Spanish colonizers, who completely rejected our culture," Mayan leader Thelma Cabrera stated.
"This meeting is a space for articulating socio-political programs to defend our peoples' rights," she insisted, adding that they identify themselves as brothers because they all seek social justice beyond their political agendas' differences.
Delegates postponed the meeting several times due to coronavirus-related restrictions. "We all agreed that we should protect our health first and foremost. Now, we can meet face-to-face without worries since we have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19," Cabrera stated.
Travelling through Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala I have observed the challenges caused by the expulsions of Central Americans from the US under Title 42 — often resulting in chain deportations that can expose people to grave risks.
Delegates divided themselves into commissions to discuss the chosen themes. Once they finish dialoguing in these teams, they will gather to write the debate's conclusions in a final declaration, which they will present later in a press conference.
The Committee on Farmer Development (CODEC) suggested convening a Constituent Convention in Guatemala to draft a new Magna Carta that recognizes this country as a plurinational state.
"This is the first step in guaranteeing the rights of our Indigenous peoples, who continue to suffer violence and discrimination 123 years after Spanish colonization," CODEC delegates stressed and urged to adopt policies that expand the political participation of these citizens.