Between Violence and Hope
“One may not see the immediate result, but with the collective analysis, we realise the process of empowerment that people follow, how they go out to demonstrate. … People lose their fear, they are moving forward and that is a very great achievement.”
— María García, from the
Bañado Norte Community,
accompanied by SERPAJ Paraguay,
partner within the project
with Pax Christi International
Since 2011, Pax Christi International has been promoting active nonviolence and pro-active citizenship in response to community conflicts associated with extractive projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Extractive mining, hydroelectric, hydrocarbon and agribusiness companies generate socio-environmental conflicts that have a negative bearing (like deforestation, displacement of peoples, greenhouse gas emissions) on the residents of the territories involved and their land. After successfully empowering communities in Peru, Colombia and Guatemala as part of Phase I of the project “Strengthening Capacities on Conflict Transformation” (2013-2015), Pax Christi International organised partners and communities in Mexico, Chile and Paraguay as part of Phase II (2016-2018). Communities in these countries were empowered through a series of trainings in nonviolent conflict transformation and legal mechanisms to respond to the impact of extractive industries on local communities. A series of new resources on nonviolent strategies and the development of advocacy plans at the local, national and global levels have been created and promulgated to support this effort. This project is focused on demanding an alternative development model, related to economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, and is based on the concept of Sumak Kawsay (good living), to live in an environment of peace and harmony in the world.” The countries in Phase I and II continue to implement the programme and Phase III is being developed for additional countries going forward in 2019.