Workshop in Peten: Mesoamerican Forum for Life

Aresio Valiente Lopez and Candy Gonzalez

Over 400 people representing 98 organizations and communities from 21 countries met at Cooperativa Unión Maya Itzá, Petén, Guatemala (March 21-23, 2002) for the "Mesoamerican Forum for Life." E-LAW advocate Candy Gonzalez of the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy was joined by E-LAW advocate Aresio Valiente Lopez, Director of Programa Pueblos Indigenas in Panama. Participants discussed the negative impacts of proposed dams for the region and formulated action plans to resist dam projects in the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP), Plan Colombia, commercial trade agreements, and the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Aresio is the Director of the Indigenous Program at CEALP (Centro de Asistencia Legal Popular, Panama). He recently published: "Rights of the Indigenous Communities of Panama, Normative and Jurisprudence." The text (287pp) compiles Panama`s laws related to indigenous matters and summarizes international instruments related to indigenous rights. This is the first legal handbook by an indigenous Panamanian, published in Panama.

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Participants discuss the negative impacts of proposed dams for the region.