Central America, Spring ^10

February 9, 2010

Economic and Educational Development for a Sustainable Guatemala (DESGUA)

Filed under: Uncategorized — samanthabass @ 12:17 am

Today we visited the office of DESGUA, Desarollo Economico y Educativo por una Guatemala Sustentable. (Economic and Educational Development for a Sustainable Guatemala) We spoke with Willy Barreno, the founder of the network. He moved to the US in the 90s because of his involvement in the guerrilla movement. While living in New Mexico, Willy Barreno helped to found Somos Un Pueblo Unido, an organization that helps protect and expand immigrant rights in New Mexico. He now organizes the DESGUA network, which connects Fair Trade Cooperatives within both the United States and Guatemala.

One of the projects that DESGUA supports is Café Conciencia, a non-profit organization that works with different coffee cooperatives in Guatemala.  One of these cooperatives is Santa Anita, a small community of ex-members of the guerrilla group la Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). My group is visiting this community on Saturday and Sunday. This community took out a loan from the government ten years ago and is now growing organic coffee and bananas to pay back the loan. They sell their coffee through the fair trade cooperative Just Coffee. Just Coffee sells their coffee to Ramapo College, American University and NYU. We watched the documentary Voice of a Mountain earlier in the semester, which DESGUA helped produce.

It´s raining in Guatemala right now for the first time all semester.

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