Heidi McKinnon

Heidi McKinnon (Association for the Integral Development of the Victims of Violence in the Verapaces, Maya Achí - ADIVIMA): Heidi holds a BA in anthropology and Spanish from the University of New Mexico and has worked with indigenous communities throughout Latin America since1997. Heidi worked at Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in the late 1990s. Heidi researched human rights and sovereignty issues in every region of Latin America as she was developing content for the permanent exhibits at NMAI. Her research led her to ADIVIMA and the Chixoy Dam, which she recommended for inclusion at the Museum.

Looking Toward the Fall

20 Oct

I feel the need to backtrack briefly and review where I have been and where we are headed this fall with the blogs from Rabinal. First, I left Rabinal in late August for a brief respite in Santa Fe. I needed to regroup and was thankfully able to do so. Somehow trying to hold your own IV over your head in the hospital whilst being violently ill complicates life unnecessarily.

After a few weeks off, and with improved health and a fair amount of dehydrated food, I returned to Rabinal in mid September to move forward on several fronts with ADIVIMA and COCAHICH work. The women in Colonia Naranjo were still in the midst of a sewing workshop they began in August for their cooperative and the weavers in Pacux had finished the Memorial Textile, as I mentioned in one of my last blogs. Plans are moving along there, albeit slowly as we have no funds as yet to be doing any of the cooperative work really.

Another part of my work plan for the fall involves monitoring the verification process for the reparation negotiations between the Colom government and COCAHICH. For COCAHICH and ADIVIMA, the negotiations process has been frustrating in the past few months and the verification work has yet to begin. The contractors are now two months behind and to complicate things further, negotiations with the Vice President’s office are somewhat stalled until the end of this month. As the COCAHICH staff was recently downsized for budgetary reasons, I had expected to arrive in Rabinal and jump right into accompanying and monitoring the Movimondo/ARS Progetti contractors as they began house-to-house interviews in each of the affected communities. There are literally thousands of people to interview.

Unfortunately, the interview methodology outlined in Movimondo’s first report had been criticized by several COCAHICH negotiators and third-party monitors and is presently being revised. While their work is delayed, the INDE staff seems to be quite busy continuing to visit affected communities to discuss repair and development projects that for some reason haven’t happened in the past twenty-five years… I returned to two dam-affected communities two weekends ago that have had more than one visit from INDE in the past two months. They assure me this is quite rare.

In the coming weeks, I plan to focus on a variety of subjects in the blog. AP will be uploading my profiles of all the Pacux weavers involved in the Río Negro Memorial Textile to the website and I will be discussing our advocacy plans and where we plan to travel with the textile. In addition, I will continue to focus a great deal on the artisans’ cooperative and profile different dam-affected villages and weavers as I make my rounds to all twenty-eight communities. As the verification process begins, I will post updates from our field trips and the negotiations. As reparations negotiations unfold between COCAHICH and the Guatemalan government, I will offer brief updates as well.

It should be an interesting few months, and I thank you to everyone for your enthusiastic support of this blog and our work here in Rabinal.

Posted By Heidi McKinnon

Posted Oct 20th, 2008

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