Development of Transnational Community Citizenship (CCCT)

The right to know is very important to us
because it allows us to monitor the actions of the government,
ensure that resources reach communities
and are used for the welfare of our people;
The right to know is the right to our territory, to exist
to our identity 

 

Voces Mesoamericanas conceives Transnational Community Citizenship (Abbreviated CCT in Spanish) as the exercise of specific rights - at the individual and community level - in various aspects and areas related to the citizenry, having as its main articulating axes the rights to identity and territory.

The Development of Transnational Community Citizenship (CCT) has two main objectives:

  • Works as a space for visibility and active denunciation of the processes of exclusion and marginalization that migrants experience both in their countries of origin and in the countries of destination.
  • It reveals and accompanies the multiple - and creative - strategies that migrant subjects deploy to defend and exercise their rights throughout their migratory cycle (origin-transit-destination-return). Throughout this process, networks and organizational spaces are built that, while interpreting the deep link of migrants with their communities of origin, function and expand beyond national, state, and / or community boundaries.

Community citizenship is a construction "from below" by migrant protagonists. It is necessary to understand the formation and creation of new social and territorial networks that modify institutions and organizational forms in places of origin and destination; But above all, to encourage the emergence of migrants as social and political subjects that involve civic and political participation in communities of origin and destination, the requirement to governments to fulfill their obligations, and the building of alliances with other actors to defend the lives of the people.

  • From this perspective, the team of Voces Mesoamericanas carries out initiatives of research, formation, and transnational political action that attempt to: Encourage and strengthen the informed participation of social and civil actors in migrant communities and municipalities in the Highlands of Chiapas by developing technical, political, and connecting capacities to monitor government programs that have an impact on local development and migration, and influence public decision-making for its improvement.
  • Build new languages ​​and strategies to encourage citizen participation, especially among young people in Highlands communities. New participatory spaces of political expression, culturally sensitive, and of great impact at community level, are generated to reflect on the exercise of citizenship in the migratory contexts.
  • Encourage the inclusion and civic participation of the Maya diaspora of Guatemala and Chiapas in destination societies in the states of Florida and Georgia, by strengthening their transnational connections and the institutionality of their support networks.

Development of Transnational Community Citizenship (CCCT)

In Voces Mesoamericanas we understand the Community Comptroller's Office as the set of control, monitoring, verification, and evaluation actions carried out by the people, in an organized and independent manner, under a framework of citizens' rights and commitments, so that the governmental function is carried out In terms of transparency, effectiveness, legality, and honesty.
In accordance with its work, the Community Comptroller's Office proposes a system of monitoring, verification, and social evaluation of the works, services, or supports provided to the population through programs or institutional projects, adhering to the principles of transparency, opportunity, and quality.
The Council of Community Comptrollers of Chenalhó (CCC-Chenalhó) was born in 2014 as the result of a training process on the right to know (transparency and access to public information) in Highlands municipalities. It was presented that same year in the municipal head of Chenalho, in the Festival for the International Day of Transparency and the Right to Know. That same year, the radio campaign "From the budget to the public works, there should be no deception" was launched to sensitize the communities of the municipality of Chenalhó on the importance and the scope of the right of access to public information.
The Council presents itself as "an independent group of indigenous tsotsil women and men of several communities that organized and with information, we have formed our Council of Community Comptrollers of Chenalhó, to support our families so they may have a more dignified and just life, through our participation and the demand and defense of our rights" (Public Presentation Document, 2014).
The Council works to strengthen its own technical, political, and organizational capacities, as well as to improve community monitoring and surveillance practices on decisions taken by the authorities, with the objective of having transparency and accountability return as part of the norms and customs in their communities.
After months of preparation and collective reflection, the CCC-Chenalhó carried out the first exercises to present requests for access to public information before the municipality and other agencies of the government of the state of Chiapas. Still suffering retaliation and working on numerous occasions under threat, the CCC-Chenalhó has managed to make visible important cases of corruption that demean the access to social rights in communities (right to health, education, access to basic services, etc.) which in turn encourages forced, precarious, and disorderly migration.
During the year 2016, the CCC-Chenalhó signed a collaboration agreement with the Instituto Nacional de Transparencia, Acceso a la información y Protección de Datos Personales (National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data or INAI) as well as with the Instituto de Acceso a la Información Pública del Estado de Chiapas (Institute of Access to Public Information of the State of Chiapas, or IAIP), With the purpose of strengthening their capacities and participation in dialogues with authorities and local decision-making spaces.
That same year, in the framework of the Second Festival for the International Day of Transparency and the Right to Know, the community radio campaign was launched "Knowing your rights is your right", also realizing a training and a massive raising up of requests for Information in San Pedro Chenalhó. As a result, 150 applications were collected that have been entered into the federal and state public information access systems.
Voces Mesoamericanas is encouraging the formation of two new Councils of Community Comptrollers in the municipalities of San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Chamula, and in its articulation with that already existing in Chenalho. Voces Mesoamericanas está animando la conformación de dos nuevos Consejos de Contralorías Comunitarias en los municipios de San Cristóbal de Las Casas y Chamula, y en su articulación con el ya existente en Chenalhó.
Within the framework of a collaboration agreement signed between Voces Mesoamericanas and the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI), work has begun on high schools in the municipality of Chenalho, Chiapas, With the aim of forming youth promoters on the Right to Know.
In that sense, we have actively collaborated with the College of Scientific and Technological Studies of Chiapas (CECYT) located in the municipal head of San Pedro, Chenalhó, as well as the Colegio de Bachilleres del Estado de Chiapas (COBACH) located in the town of Miguel Utrilla (Los Chorros).
In both educational institutions, workshops on artistic expression - theater, painting, photography, music and video - have been offered, which combine with citizen reflection to build new channels and forms of political participation and advocacy.
As such, about 40 youth promoters on the right-to-know have been trained, who multiply the skills acquired in their different communities, training the general population on issues such as the procedure for requesting information, as well as the means to raise complaints and request increased spaces for municipal participation.
These young people participated actively during the Second Festival for the International Day of Transparency and the Right to Know, held on September 28, 2016 in the central park of San Pedro Chenalhó. In this event, they presented plays, photographic samples and songs that created awareness in the community about the importance of the right to know. In this festival there was an approximate presence of 500 people, besides several municipal and traditional authorities. At present, work is being carried out on the consolidation and expansion of these youth groups, who begin to link this right with the exercise of new specific social rights, such as the right to a healthy environment or the right to community security.
In this way, young indigenous people begin to understand the right to know as an element deeply linked to the "right not to migrate" or the right of local roots that, nevertheless, continues to exist and accompanies all those who decide to migrate. It is, therefore, a fundamental right to know, to take ownership of and defend one's territory based in a translocal and transnational vision and practice.
In collaboration with the Central American Institute for Social Studies and Development (INCEDES) and the University of Florida, Voces Mesoamericanas participated in the project "Strengthening Transnational Ties and Organizing Mechanisms in the Mayan Diaspora in Florida, United States."
Collaborative research recognizes that the institutionality of support networks strengthens the Mayan migrant in their destinations contributing to their personal, family, and community development as a result of migration. In its first phase, the project elaborated a mapping of actors and analysis of the ties and transnational institutionality of Mayan migrants from Guatemala and Chiapas.
Strengthening the capacity of migrant protagonists to build alliances and / or follow up on local institutions that contribute to transnational development is the purpose of the project in its second phase. Undoubtedly, the climate and anti-migrant policies that intensify with President Trump's Executive Actions are a difficult scenario for the construction of Mayan institutionality in the United States that now require new alliances and creative strategies.