Nim Ajpu – Lawyers for Mayan Guatemala Legal and Political Struggles

Event information
Venue:FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus, DM 144

Nim Ajpu – Lawyers for Mayan Guatemala Legal and Political Struggles
Discussion with Juan Castro, Association of Maya Lawyers and Notaries
Spanish with some English translation.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016. MMC. DM 144. 11:00 to 12:00.

At a time when we are thinking about the role of law and elections in the struggle between extractive corporations and human rights to livelihood and a future in the natural world, Indigenous Peoples continue to play a critical role. In the Everglades over the years, today at Standing Rock, and in many other contests in the US, Indigenous peoples lead in weaving resistance through legal and political struggles and confrontation when that is necessary.

Nim Ajpu began in 2004 when a group of about 20 Maya lawyers gathered to find ways to better defend indigenous communities through their legal practice. It now includes over 100 law professionals, from lawyers to judges, public defenders, and notaries. Most of its key legal victories have been emblematic cases over self-determination, whether it is to recover lands stolen by the state or to establish the authority of indigenous systems of justice. Dozens of cases have already set important precedents for Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala.

This Wednesday we have the opportunity for a deep comparative perspective on this through a lunchtime conversation with Juan Castro, a leader of Nim Ajpu, the Association of Maya Lawyers and Notaries in Guatemala. The situation in Guatemala is different because the Maya peoples are a majority of the country's population, but similar complexities exist in struggles with a political and legal system that posits itself as sovereign authority and then uses that authority to deny human rights and a viable future for ancestral groups and nations.

For more information see this article by Manuela Picq There she quotes Juan Castro: "Our Maya identity is a political one, we defend our territories, we speak Indigenous languages and understand Maya cosmovision."