Indigenous Rights in Mexico and Central America

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Indigenous Rights in Mexico and Central America


The injustice surrounding the Indigenous populations in Mexico and Central America began with the Spanish colonies in the sixteenth century, and the struggle for their land and constitution rights has been an ongoing battle for hundreds of years. The indigenous people take up a large part of the population in Mexico and Central America. (See Table 1; Graph 1 below). Indigenous people make up of over 16 percent of the Mexican population, and over 66 percent of the population is indigenous in Guatemala. The historical reality of the indigenous peoples in Central America has been one poverty, eviction from their land, political violence and mistreatment at the hands of the police and army, and exclusion of government policies.

Table 1. Estimated Indigenous Population in Mexico and Central America


Percentage Country Indigenous population Percentage



Over 40% Guatemala 5.3 66


10% - 30% Belize 0.029 19

Mexico 12.0 16

Honduras 0.70 15


1%-9% El Salvador 0.4 7

Panama 0.14 7

Nicaragua 0.16 ...

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...past, and a step towards economic globalization. It implies the privatization of the strategic sources of the region in favor of the multinational corporations and US, and not the indigenous peoples. In order to achieve the aims of the PPP, including the transportation infrastructure and Mesoamerican Energy Interconnection Initiative, the indigenous and peasant populations will be displaced from the lands and farms, causing all manner of human suffering, economic deprivation, and an irreversible loss of some of the greatest diversity in the world. But organizations and citizens around the world continue to fight for an alternative agreement for the Americas that offers guidelines for building a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable commerce that puts social and political justice at the center of trade and investment in Mexico and Central America.

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