Strengthening the empowerment of the communities affected by extractive activities in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador


A first phase targeting Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala

In 2014, Alternatives and its partners, the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN), Euskal Langileen Alkartasuna – Basque Workers Solidarity (ELA), the Canadian trade union UNIFOR and CUT - Central Única dos Trabalhadores of Brazil, have implemented an initiative whose main objective was to improve advocacy for the economic, social, cultural and environmental rights of communities affected by extractive industries, as well as to assert their sovereignty in the management and protection of natural resources, as well as the development of their communities.

In its first phase, from 2014 to 2016, the program focused on strengthening education and civil society mobilization tools and promoting the creation of regional mechanisms to facilitate the sharing of experiences, knowledge and practices. Thus, the three partner organizations, Madre Selva (Guatemala), CST (Nicaragua) and CEICOM (El Salvador), established solidarity links and set up collaborative processes.

A second phase including the participation of a Honduran organization - the CUTH

In 2016, the project entered the stage of consolidation and long-term sustainability of results. Considering the repression of human rights defenders, especially women and environmentalists, such as the assassination in March 2016 of Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres, which caused international outrage, it was determined that a second phase should encourage the participation of a Honduran organization, the CUTH, and make it possible to redouble efforts to set up and strengthen mechanisms to protect women activists, committed to the fight for human rights and environmental protection.


To promote more effective participation of the communities of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador in the elaboration of sustainable solutions for the development of their region, as well as in decision-making processes concerning the management of their natural resources.

The awareness and mobilization of communities, aimed at promoting the participation of these communities, with women in the forefront, in a management based on sustainable economic development of their resources.

Strengthening advocacy to improve the legal framework on exploration and exploitation, and providing a monitoring and analysis role to defend the public interest in the assessment of mining projects.

Consolidate and perpetuate the creation of spaces to set up common strategies for cross-border issues in the Central American region. For example, the campaign for the international right to water at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CrIDH) will be one of the common advocacy axes at the regional level.


Created in 1996, the Colectivo MadreSelva is a Guatemalan organization that fights for the preservation of the environment. Its objective is to inform and accompany communities to assert their rights, especially with regard to the environment. To achieve this, Colectivo MadreSelva conducts campaigns on different themes such as access to water, mining and mangrove protection.

The Confederacion Unitaria de Trabajadores de Honduras (CUTH) is a Honduran trade union confederation founded in 1992 and affiliated to the International Trade Union Confederation. The CUTH represents unionized workers, who work primarily in the service, public service, trade, construction, health and education sectors. Its mandate is to negotiate collective agreements, represent union members before the authorities and ensure the training and mobilization of its members.

The Central Sandinista de Trabajadores (CST), Nicaragua's trade union organization, represents approximately 60,000 unionized workers mainly in the maquiladora, public service, trade, construction, health, education and mining sectors. Its mandate consists of negotiating collective agreements, representation before the relevant authorities, training and mobilizing its members.

The Center for Investment and Trade Research (CEICOM) is a non-governmental organization in El Salvador that specializes in transnational conflicts. CEICOM proposes analyses, develops educational and awareness-raising tools on the impacts of mining investments in El Salvador, mobilizes national, regional and international actors for the respect of socio-economic, cultural and environmental rights and provides technical support to populations affected by extractive industries.


July 26-27, 2018 : Regional Forum "The impact of the extractive industry on the violation of human rights in the Central American region".

Please find the declaration here (in spanish)

*What is extractivism? Extractivism is an economic and political model of development based on the commodification of nature and profit at the expense of human rights and the environment, as opposed to indigenous ontologies of respect for territory. Extractivism is rooted in the long history of the Latin American region's insertion into the world capitalist system through violent forms of raw material extraction and the processes of dispossession associated with them.

El Salvador