Building Understanding through International Learning and Development (BUILD)

No Alcanza Forum

Click here to view the documentaries BUILD produced for the forum!

  • No Alcanza: Voices from Guatemala's Enduring Search for Peace

    BUILD is proud to announce "No Alcanza: Voices from Guatemala's Enduring Search for Peace," an international forum which will be held February 4-6, 2010, at Tufts University.

    The forum aims to highlight the international relevance of Guatemala, its ongoing sociopolitical struggles, and its implications on the daily lives of Americans. Additionally, the forum seeks to be a catalyst for awareness and fundraising for the continuing development of Santa Anita la Unión, a community emblematic of Guatemala’s historical tragedies and contemporary challenges. Santa Anita is a small coffee cooperative composed of resettled guerrilla combatants and refugees from the Guatemalan Civil war, which plagued the country from 1960-1996.

    As BUILD has worked side by side with the people of Santa Anita for the past two years, a certain phrase was heard repeatedly: “no alcanza.” “No alcanza,” literally translated as “it is not enough,” was used by the people of Santa Anita in reference to a host of issues, from daily income to the education system to development initiatives to the entire Peace Process begun in 1996. The No Alcanza Forum will bring together academics, scholars, professionals, and everyday men and women who drive the contemporary struggle for equality and development in Guatemala. The Forum will provide attendees with the opportunity to directly hear from and interact with those who fought in the country’s civil conflict as well as experts and professionals from the fields of agriculture, development, migration, drug trafficking, and gang violence, who will speak to the international relevance of a country so often forgotten. The Forum will include speeches, panel discussions, original film screenings, interactive workshops, small group discussions, and art exhibitions which will all serve to reflect one community’s struggle and an entire country’s ongoing fight for something more. Overall, the Forum seeks to provide a sense of hope that in the future we will no longer hear the cries of “No Alcanza” from the Guatemalan people, a hope that smoldering memories can be extinguished and laid to rest, and a hope that peace will finally prevail after centuries of instability and fear.

    The forum is open to the public. Registration will be available online beginning in early December, 2009.

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  • Detailed List of Events

    • Thursday, February 4

      • Speakers Reception

        The reception invitees will include all speakers, sponsors, BUILD members, IGL staff, and Tufts staff. During the reception we will have a slideshow that will display pictures of the BUILD project in Santa Anita. At 5:30 BUILD Directors will offer a few words of thanks and expectations for the Forum.

      • From Mountain to Mug: How Coffee Gets to Your Cup

        This will be an interactive session (with samples) with members of Santa Anita as well as representatives from various coffee companies affiliated with the community and/or BUILD. Each group will be responsible for explaining and demonstrating a different part of the coffee production process.

      • Formal Introduction

        This will be the first formal introduction to the No Alcanza Forum. BUILD Co-Directors, along with Sherman Teichman, will give opening remarks about the process of getting to this point and the hopes for the weekend’s events. Formal welcome of all speakers and the members of Santa Anita.

      • The Guatemalan Civil War: Perspectives on the Clandestine Conflict

        The people of Guatemala endured tremendous violence during the longest civil war to ever take place in Latin American history. Despite the formal end of Guatemala’s internal conflict in 1996, thirty-six tumultuous years of war have doubtless left the country in a state of social discord and political turmoil. BUILD Guatemala has worked to assemble a panel of speakers to address and shed light on the topic of the more clandestine side of the country’s conflict. Lázaro Ventura, a member of BUILD’s partner community Santa Anita la Unión, spent much of his youth as a field medic with the URNG guerrilla movement during the Guatemalan civil war. Gloria Gomez, like hundreds of other women, participated alongside the men in the armed struggle against the government. Eluvia Aguilar, representing a very different female perspective, lived the displacement and migration problems caused by the conflict. These three, along with other panelists, will address this complex and sensitive issue. Audience members are welcomed to question the panelists about both their experiences and opinions, although we ask that all questions bear in mind the sensitivity and traumatic nature of the war.

        BUILD will be screening a brief original film about Lázaro Ventura’s experience as a medic with the guerrilla at the beginning of this panel.

    • Friday, February 5

      • Lunch and Discussions

        The objective of these breakout lunches is to help Tufts students delve a bit deeper into a particular area of interest to them. Each of the following groups will host a discussion along with a catered lunch in various locations. BUILD students will moderate the discussions and facilitate questions.

        • Root Capital: An Innovative Approach to Microfinance
        • Ted Fischer: ‘Algo más’ and Guatemalan commodity chains
        • Just Coffee/Dean’s Beans: Percolate Your Interest in Responsible Entrepreneurship
        • Santa Anita: The Faces of Development and Reconstruction (conducted in Spanish)
      • The Power of Collaboration: Build Guatemala and Santa Anita la Unión

        This presentation, by BUILD, will first reintroduce the conference, and then will briefly recap the history of Project Santa Anita from its inception to its ongoing monitoring and progress in 2010.

      • How Fair is Fair Trade?

        This panel will be introduced and moderated by BUILD member Kathryn Taylor, who has conducted extensive research into the fair trade industry. Kathryn will open the panel with a series of questions and a brief presentation of her basic research. The focus of both the questions and research presentation is within the realm of: What is Fair Trade? What is the philosophy behind fair trade? How does a farm become certified? What is the difference between fair trade and free trade? How have agreements like CAFTA and NAFTA affected the fair trade industry? How does fair trade affect the consumer? What problems do fair trade cooperatives face? Is there fragmentation within the fair trade movement? What problems do the umbrella organizations face? What is the political importance of fair trade? How sustainable is fair trade? What is the future of fair trade organizations?

        Representatives from fair trade coffee roasters Just Coffee (Madison, WI) and Dean’s Beans (Orange, MA) will serve as panelists.

        Specific impacts of the above questions on Santa Anita la Unión will be addressed. After the panelists speak, the floor will be opened for questions from the audience.

      • U.S. Consumers and Local Agricultural Development

        One of the most tangible links between the developed and developing worlds lies in agricultural production and trade. This connection is based on mutual dependence; consumers receive relatively inexpensive, constant access to the (often literal) fruits of the rural poor’s labor, while producers enter the unpredictable global market in hopes of earning more income to support themselves and their families. While these connections represent sustenance and livelihood for consumers and producers, respectively, each group hardly recognizes the impact the other has on daily life. As exporting in Guatemala has grown from coffee and bananas to include such non-traditional crops as broccoli and snow peas, suitable to be grown on small plots of land, more and more smallholder farmers from the highlands have developed linkages to global economy. As Mayan farmers increasingly participate in exporting, exposure to fluctuating prices and underdeveloped marketing institutions may leave them vulnerable to instability. Many issues, both social and economic, remain to be addressed if the agricultural industry in Guatemala is to continue to integrate smallholders at the most basic level.

        This panel discussion will focus on these crucial yet seldom discussed connections and will explore the ways in which the benefits of trade can be more equitably distributed. Ted Fischer, an anthropologist and author of Broccoli and Desire, will discuss his experience and research regarding the links between Mayan broccoli farmers in Guatemala and health-conscious, affluent Americans. Dean Cycon, author of Javatrekker and owner of Dean’s Beans Coffee Company in Orange, MA, will discuss his work on opposite ends of the supply chain—from starting his own fair trade coffee company to his extensive work in coffee producing communities worldwide. He will draw on these experiences to discuss the potential of ethical and responsible business practices to empower farmers and improve quality of life in producing communities. Root Capital is a microfinance organization based in Cambridge, MA that provides financing to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to fuel economic growth among the rural poor, often using future sales contracts from corporations such as Starbucks and Green Mountain as collateral for these loans. A representative from Root Capital will discuss the relationship between producers, multinational corporations, and American consumers and will explore the issue of how producers can receive more gains from international trade. Lastly, Angel Moreno Fuentes will speak from the perspective of living in a small agricultural community plugged into the complex world of exports from a land of tradition.

        BUILD will be screening a brief original film about Ángel Fuentes’ experience as an indigenous coffee farmer at the beginning of this panel.

      • Santa Anita: Emblem of the Past, Hope for the Future

        While professional and academic perspectives are crucial in understanding problems and conflicts both local and international, there is no substitute for personal experience. To live through a conflict and its aftermath means to have insight that can never be put into words, that most will never have to bear. As we seek for answers through the various panel discussions and sessions of the No Alcanza forum, we cannot forget that we have the obligation to yearn for the clearest understanding of what it means to live, breath, and struggle on a daily basis in a land still searching for peace and development.

        This unique panel is to feature five members of Santa Anita la Unión, a community of resettled guerrilla combatants and former refugees from Guatemala’s 36-year civil war. Tufts student organization BUILD has been engaged in a long-term partnership with the community for two years and is proud and honored to bring their voices to Tufts. Our discussion will be moderated by Michael Niconchuk and Sasha de Beausset, two of the directors of BUILD, and both Guatemalan themselves. Each of the five community members will have the opportunity to express their views on what Santa Anita means and what it signifies in the broader context of Guatemala’s enduring search for peace. The people of this community are representative of the diverse and complicated sectors of the Guatemalan population, and if we ever hope to end the cries of “no alcanza,” we must begin by listening with open hearts and minds to the words of those who navigate, on a daily basis, issues so often only read about in textbooks.

        BUILD will be screening a brief original film about Gloria Gomez’s experience as an active member of this resettled community, a nascent entrepreneur, and former guerrilla combatant.

    • Saturday, February 6

      • Caught in Trafficking: Gang Violence, the Drug Trade, and Youth

        This panel seeks to explore the growing and dangerous nexus of drug trafficking and gang violence in Guatemala, with special focus on the effects these trends have on the country’s desperate youth who are so often faced with few alternatives other than throwing allegiance to a gang or narcotrafficking group as a source of income. Ambassador of Guatemala to the United States Hon. Francisco Villagrán de Leon will share on the causes and side effects of Guatemala’s growing trafficking and crime problem, and recent political developments’ effect on the security situation. Matt Herbert, trafficking specialist and master’s candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, will detail the actors and dynamics of the volatile world of Central American drug trafficking. He will be accompanied by Santa Anita member Mauricio Alejandro Velásquez, who will provide the often lost perspective of a young man living first hand in a land of tempting allegiances and dangerous paths.

        BUILD will be screening a brief original film about Mauricio Velázquez’s life as a young man in rural Guatemala, where poverty is the norm, and any source of income, even illegal sources, seems to offer a brighter future than the present.

      • Coming and Going: Migration, Displacement, and Reintegration

        This panel will analyze several key aspects of migration in Guatemala, particularly in the post-war context. It will cover post-war incentives for going abroad and how both external and internal population movements are affecting Guatemala and the United States alike. 97% of Guatemalans living abroad reside in the United States, with 6-12,000 arriving via the Mexican border every year. One third of the Guatemalan population, 57% of which live in rural areas, receives remittances. In 2005, remittances topped US$3 billion, and accounted for 6.8% of Guatemala’s GDP. Internally, there has been a marked population move into the cities. Specifically, 72% of Guatemala’s total urban population resides in Guatemala City, which has been growing at a rate of 6% a year. Kyle deBeausset will relate his experiences crossing the border, and will elucidate the nature of the journey to the United States. Guatemalan farmer Lázaro Ventura will speak to the economic impact of migration and will elaborate on the motives for working both at farms and in the city, and the lucrative prospect to go al Norte.

        Reintegration of emigrants who have returned either due to the end of the war or to deportation has become a major issue in Guatemala. It is of special concern whether the youth will or will not fall into gangs and other dangerous options which they confront. The panel will therefore also include Eluvia Aguilar, who fled Guatemala to Chiapas, Mexico, during the civil war and returned after the Peace Accords were signed in 1996. She will relate her experiences and will then address how reintegration into Guatemalan society has affected the political, social and economic rights of returnees.

        BUILD will be screening a brief original film about Eluvia Aguilar’s experience leaving her homeland as a refugee to Mexico, the life she found there, and the difficult process of return, resettlement, and reconciliation in post-war Guatemala.

      • Final Remarks

        BUILD students and IGL director Sherman Teichman will briefly close the Forum with a few words of thanks and appreciation. A brief video will be shown

      • Dinner with Ambassador Villagrán

        Saturday’s ‘Dinner with the Ambassador’ is an invitation only event. The event will include all members of BUILD, as well as all Santa Anita members present, IGL staff, Tufts administration, other relevant student groups such as PPRI, Timmy, and ALAS.

        At the dinner, representatives from BUILD, Santa Anita, and the IGL will reflect on the true meaning and impact of the No Alcanza forum. Ambassador Villagrán will briefly give his response and reactions. Following the remarks will be an informal dinner during which students can interact with the members of Santa Anita and the Ambassador.

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  • Speakers

    • Kyle de Beausset

      Kyle is founder of Citizen Orange, a blog that operates on the principle that the pro-migrant movement in the United States has the greatest potential for eradicating a host of global injustices and generating respect for peoples born on a different piece of the earth. He was born in Guatemala of U.S. citizen parents and was educated in Guatemala City at an international school.

      After Kyle was accepted into Harvard, he took time off of school to retrace the route of a Guatemalan migrant into the U.S. and almost lost his life to smugglers. The journey changed his life and he was reborn as a migrant advocate, a journalist, and an organizer.

    • Gloria Elena Gomez of the Santa Anita delegation

      Originally from San Miguel Ixtahuacan, San Marcos, Guatemala, Gloria Gómez Cinto has led an unconventional life. When she was just fourteen years old, Ms. Gomez left her family to join the resistance movement with the Organización Revolucionaria del Pueblo en Armas (ORPA), by whom she was trained in guerrilla warfare tactics. She subsequently spent several years fighting alongside hundreds of male counterparts in the Quetzaltenango region. It was during her time in the guerrilla that she met her husband. Mother of four young daughters, Ms. Gomez and her husband reside with many other former ORPA combatants in Santa Anita la Unión.

      In December of 2008, Ms. Gómez was appointed as coordinator of the Santa Anita Ecotourism Project, where she is responsible for receiving and hosting national and foreign groups who visit the farm. The Ecotourism project currently employs more than ten women, including cooks, cleaning staff, and administrators. BUILD is currently actively engaged in a project with Ms. Gomez to bolster and improve this nascent Program.

    • Dean Cycon of Dean's Beans

      Dean Cycon is an activist and entrepreneur who founded the all-organic, all-Fair Trade, all-kosher coffee roasting company Dean’s Beans. Cycon‘s more than twenty-year career working with indigenous communities in coffee-producing lands has led him to recently publish the book, Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee, in which he recounts his experiences “javatrekking.” This term was coined by Cycon, who in his own words defines it as the “word to describe the recent phenomenon of people going to the coffeelands for more than just buying beans, but rather to engage in the lives and issues of the people who grow coffee around the world.” His experiences have allowed him to prove that businesses can still be profitable while acting as positive forces for social change in the lives of the people they touch. “Dean’s Beans” focuses on People-Centered Development (PCD), an approach to international development that addresses the priorities of the people, focusing on the real necessities of life such as clean water, health care, and income generation.

    • Matt Earley of Just Coffee

      Matt Earley is co-founder of Just Coffee Cooperative. Matt is from Lexington, KY and holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Kentucky and a MA in Latin American, Carribbean, and Iberian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. he lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two daughters.

    • Edward Fischer of Vanderbilt University

      Edward Fischer is a cultural anthropologist specializing in matters of economics and moralities. His fieldwork has included working extensively with Guatemala’s indigenous Maya, and he is currently the director of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Latin American Studies. He has written or edited seven books, including Cultural Logics and Global Economies: Maya Identity in Thought and Practice, and Broccoli and Desire: Global Connections and Maya Struggles in Postwar Guatemala. Professor Fischer will elaborate on the connections between Mayan farmers and American consumers on the panel “U.S. Consumers and Agricultural Development.”

    • Angel Moreno Fuentes of the Santa Anita delegation

      Angel Moreno Fuentes, more commonly known as “Mincho,” was born in La Reforma, San Marcos, Guatemala. Growing up during the very beginnings of Guatemala’s civil conflict, Mr. Moreno joined the Organización Revolucionaria del Pueblo en Armas (ORPA) in his late teenage years. In 1982, ORPA united with three other national guerrilla movements to form the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG), a movement which continued in armed struggle until the 1996 Peace Accords and subsequently became a political party.

      Since the resettlement of ORPA combatants at the then-abandoned Santa Anita farm in 1998, Mr. Moreno has served in various offices of the cooperative’s administrative board and currently is the community’s treasurer and Field Coordinator with Catholic Relief Services’ Vidas Productivas Coffee Project at Santa Anita. His knowledge of the organic coffee cultivation process has taken him recently to Lima, Peru, where he addressed a group of similar small-scale cultivators on organic production and marketing. Mr. Moreno is the father of three young children and an active part in planning and executing BUILD’s projects in the community.

    • Matt Herbert

      Matt Herbert is a Masters candidate at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. His research focuses on issues of economic development, technology, and security. Prior to attending The Fletcher School, Matt worked as a threat analyst, dealing with transnational armed groups, drug trafficking, and human trafficking issues. Matt also worked as a special assistant for Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, handling political and legislative affairs. Matt graduated from the College of Santa Fe in 2006 with a double Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Documentary Studies, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. He has done field research on economic development, human security, and public diplomacy in Mongolia, Mozambique, Brazil, and Kenya. Matt Herbert will participate in the “Caught in Trafficking: Gang Violence, the Drug Trade, and Youth” panel discussion.

    • Mike Miller of Just Coffee

    • Mario Rodas

      Originally from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, Mario Rodas migrated to Chelsea, MA with his family in 1999, at the age of 12. He grew up in Massachusetts where he was a stellar student, a patient caretaker and a committed leader. Committed to succeeding and fulfilling a responsibility towards his family, through much hard work and perseverance he learned to speak English quickly and did very well in school. He graduated at the top of his class as secretary of his high school’s National Honor Society. In spite of his commitment to his community, his family, and to the country he calls home, the US, at 19 Mario was detained and faced deportation. He gained the support of the Merrymack Valley People for Peace, Latinos United for Justice, the online blogger and immigrant rights community, the late Senator Kennedy and Senator Kerry and many more all acted in support of Mario to delay his deportation. This gave him time to apply for and win political asylum to remain in the US.

      In the words of Senator John Kerry, “Mario is caught in the crossfire of a broken immigration system. He also is the reason we need not just comprehensive immigration reform, but to open the doors of opportunity for hard-working young people who play by the rules and want to live the American dream.”

      Rodas, now 22, is now at Harvard University and is an active member of the Student Immigrant Movement an avid supporter of the Dream Act.

    • Root Capital

      Root Capital is a nonprofit social investment fund that is pioneering finance for grassroots businesses in rural areas of developing countries. Root Capital provides capital, financial education, and market connections to small and growing businesses that build sustainable livelihoods and transform rural communities in poor, environmentally vulnerable places. Representatives from the organization will speak on the panel “U.S. Consumers and Agricultural Development.”

    • Sherman Teichman of the Institute for Global Leadership

    • Lazaro Ventura Velásquez of the Santa Anita delegation

      Born in Sibinal, San Marcos, Guatemala, Lázaro Ventura Velásquez adopted the name “Marconi” upon incorporation into the Organización Revolucionaria del Pueblo en Armas (ORPA) at age seventeen. While not formally trained in medicine, ORPA leadership directed the young Mr. Ventura into the world of emergency field care, and since then his passion for medicine has grown. Having worked in the Santa Anita community pharmacy, Mr. Ventura remains committed to both medicine and his former guerrilla cause as he is now an active member of the municipal URNG political party in Quetzaltenango.

      Mr. Ventura is the father of two children and lives with his wife in Santa Anita la Unión. Like many men in rural Guatemala, Mr. Ventura supplements the family income from coffee with a job in Guatemala City, where he works part time as a security guard at Fundación Sobrevivientes. Since 2008, Mr. Ventura has been an active partner in BUILD students’ research projects, where he has worked with our students on issues such as indigenous health care, natural medicinal remedies, and the political reincorporation of former guerrilla combatants.

    • Mauricio Velásquez Felipe of the Santa Anita delegation

      Mauricio Velásquez Felipe has, like many young people in post-war Guatemala, experienced the effects of violence, migration, and displacement. Born in Ixtahuacan, Huehuetenango, Guatemala, he spent much of his early life in Chiapas, Mexico with his mother who fled Guatemala in the early 1990s. With his mother and younger siblings, Mauricio returned to Guatemala during elementary school where he settled at Santa Anita la Unión, a community familiar to his family and relatives, many of whom still live on the cooperative.

      At Santa Anita, Mauricio is an active student and heavily involved in organizing events with the primary school. He works on his relatives’ coffee plots and also serves as one of the youth directors of the Rodrigo Asturias Computer Center, a project designed and sponsored by BUILD and completed in the summer of 2009. Mauricio’s hospitality and smile are always among BUILD’s fondest memories of Santa Anita, and in the future Mauricio hopes to foster his welcoming spirit by studying hotel management, after which he plans to attend local university.

    • Ambassador Francisco Villagrán de León

      Ambassador Villagrán de León has been the Guatemalan Ambassador to the United States since March 2008. As a career diplomat with more than 25 years in the Guatemalan foreign service, his previous positions include Guatemalan Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations (where he also served as vice minister of foreign affairs), Canada, Norway, and Germany. He also has held fellowships at the U.S. Institute of Peace, the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C., and the Center for the Defense of the Constitution in Guatemala City. Villagrán is an advocate for state involvement in democratic development, and encourages cooperation between governments – especially through, though not limited to, the Inter-American System and the OAS – in the areas of democratization, trade agreements, and regional security. Ambassador Villagrán holds a Masters Degree in International Affairs from Georgetown University, and an undergraduate degree in law and social sciences from Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala City. Ambassador Villagrán will deliver a keynote address on Saturday.

    • Eluvia Aguilar Luen of the Santa Anita delegation

      Eluvia Aguilar Luen was born in Concepción Chiquirichapa, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. As a girl, Ms. Aguilar fled in exile to Chiapas, Mexico after her two brothers joined the guerrilla movement. Transition to life in Mexico was neither easy nor comfortable. Ms. Aguilar did not speak Spanish at the time, but rather only Maya Mam, and every day brought new challenges of assimilation. Additionally, soon after her family’s arrival in Mexico, Ms. Aguilar was informed that her brothers had been killed in action, news which led to her decision to stay out of armed combat , even while many of her peers from Chiapas were re-entering Guatemala to join the conflict.

      After years of waiting and clinging to bits of news smuggled across the border, in 1998 Ms. Aguilar began the painful and slow process of return and reintegration to Guatemala, a process undertaken by more than 400,000 refugees who had fled to Chiapas in the 1960s through 1990s. Her husband one of the disarmed ORPA combatants housed in Quetzaltenango, Ms. Aguilar resettled in the community of Santa Anita la Unión, where she currently lives with her five children. Like her peer Ms. Gloria Gomez, Ms. Aguilar works in Santa Anita’s ecotourism program and, according to many BUILD alums, makes the best banana bread in Colomba.

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  • Sponsors

    • BUILD

    • The Institute for Global Leadership

    • Just Coffee

    • Tufts University Philosophy Department

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