Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Letter from Guatemala

Could someone ask a telling question about climate change and migration?  See below.  Climate change fuels pressures to migrate, and it's only going to get worse.


from Guatemala, where all is more or less well, given that it's an election year, and Guatemala remains near the bottom on social indicators, and la roya continues to destroy the coffee cash crop in many areas, and the other great cash crop for small farmers, cardamom, is now afflicted with thripp [climate change definitely has contributed to the la roya problem, don't know about thripp].  We are trying to get an appointment with US AID for Group 2, as climate change is one of their priorities.

Fifty-eight bus drivers, ayudantes, and passengers have been killed by extortionists on public buses in the central corridor since last October, according to Prensa Libre.  As Team 1 traveled from Guate to El Quiche, there were armed national police front and back on the bus.  Very uneventful.

Otherwise, hospitals are without supplies, the people are rising peacefully in the streets against corruption, demanding election reform and immediate resignation of the present president, Otto Perez Molina, but they don't seem to have a clear idea of how to improve the situation.  The health situation in the high-risk Ixil Area where we go seems actually a bit better than we thought, though we don't know what Team 2 will find when they visit three communities where health extension services are no longer functioning.

We seem to be having "un poco verano" in the middle of what should be the rainy season, after significant rains earlier (especially the night before Team 1 had to do the longest, toughest walk through mountains, rocks, tree roots and mud -- they were champs).

I don't have my best project lists here.  Please pass to anyone you like.