Pueblos indígenas, estado y lucha por tierra en Guatemala: estrategias de sobrevivencia y negociación ante la desigualdad globalizada



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This dissertation is about the agrarian problem in Guatemala: the adverse conditions facing indigenous Mam people and their struggles to resist inequality and oppression. It is a comparative study of two peasant organizations: La Coordinadora Nacional Indígena y Campesina (CONIC), whose work encompasses various departments of the country and La Coordinadora Marquense Madre Tierra, Nan Tx’Otx’, whose work is concentrated in the Department of San Marcos, where most of the country’s largest coffee plantations are located. The dissertation analyzes the effectiveness of both organizations through the experiences of the members of three Mam communities, Aztlán, Nueva Cajolá and El Nuevo Paraíso, who work in collaboration with CONIC and La Coordinadora Marquense. This dissertation addresses the general question regarding the relative success of both organizations in formulating political strategies to struggle against racism, gender inequality, and class exploitation and to achieve social justice and inclusion. Following on 20 months of ethnographic approach and a theoretical framework I show the complex resistance of contemporary social movements and how peasant and indigenous organizations, as part of the civil society, use negotiation and confrontation in this globalization era to obtain institutional and sometimes structural changes. The dissertation contributes to our understanding of how ladinos, mestizos, and indigenous people who may occupy a similar class position as peasants, exist within a racial hierarchy where racist ideology still operates on many levels, which makes it difficult for them to unite in a struggle against economic exploitation. This dissertation will also contribute to our understanding of how multi-racial organizations unite these two struggles, and challenge gender oppression as well. This work develops a theoretical framework to explore the particular conditions that indigenous women from peasant communities and organizations have been facing in Guatemala. Finally, this dissertation will help us understand the relative success of other contemporary peasant and indigenous movements in times of globalization.