Welcome to the website of MIA, Mujeres Iniciando en las Américas MIA seeks to increase awareness of the mistreatment of women in Guatemala, improve their socioeconomic conditions, remove gender bias in the Guatemalan government, promote educational programs to reduce domestic violence and femicide and promote equal treatment for women in Guatemala.
Gender equality education
We deliver our White Ribbon Campaign workshops in elementary schools, middle schools, a university, and at the National Police Academy.
Bus Driver Widows
MIA worked with the widows of bus drivers killed at work. We have arranged microloans for several of the widows so they can create for themselves a way to make a living.
Corn and Oranges
Our activites take us to kitchens and markets. In Guatemala, most people are more connected to food production than we are in the US.
Cathedral in Antigua Guatemala
On our delegation trips, we take side trips to beautiful locations like Antigua, the old capital of Guatemala.
MIA has great volunteers in the US and Guatemala. The volunteers really make our programs happen.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of designated countries or parts thereof.
During the period for which a country has been designated for TPS, TPS beneficiaries may remain in the United States and may obtain work authorization. However, TPS does not lead to permanent resident status (green card).
When the Secretary terminates a TPS designation, beneficiaries revert to the same immigration status they maintained before TPS (unless that status had since expired or been terminated) or to any other status they may have acquired while registered for TPS. Accordingly, if an immigrant did not have lawful status prior to receiving TPS and did not obtain any other lawful status during the TPS designation, the immigrant reverts to unlawful status upon the termination of that TPS designation.
TPS is not granted to persons that try to register after the first registration period ends, so if a person of a country that is currently under TPS did not register the first time TPS was assigned, then that person does not qualify for TPS.
2. Who is eligible to apply for Temporary Protected Status?
You may be eligible to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) if:
• You are a national of a country designated by the Attorney General for TPS. You may also be eligible if you are a person who has no nationality but last habitually resided in a designated country
• You apply for TPS during the specified registration period. The registration period is stated in the Federal Register notices of designation and is also generally noted in USCIS press releases
• You have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since the TPS designation began, or since the effective date of the most recent re-designation
• You are admissible as an immigrant and are not otherwise ineligible for TPS
• You have continuously resided in the U.S. since a date specified by the Attorney General
Note: This date is listed in the Federal Register notice of designation and may be different than the date TPS became effective.
3. Who is ineligible to apply for Temporary Protected Status?
You are ineligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) if you:
• Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the U.S.
• Are a persecutor, terrorist or otherwise subject to one of the bars to asylum
• Are subject to one of several criminal-related grounds of inadmissibility for which a waiver is not available
Reports from my own family and friends In Guatemala City say that they are well (thank goodness) following the Pacaya volcano and quakes caused by the volcanic explosion four days ago. However, the down pours by tropical storm Agatha has made the clean up efforts almost impossible. News reports on independent networks say the devastation has hit those marginalized by poverty the most.
On my trip to Guatemala last December I saw thousands of makeshift homes on the side of cliffs just below the foothill of the Pacaya volcano. Most of these people are probably now homeless and/or unaccounted for.
I am writing to you in an effort to raise relief funds for the victims in Guatemala City. You are welcome to make a donation here or go directly to miamericas.info/contacts or our Causes page on Facebook.
Other places you can also go to donate are AmeriCares.
I truly hope you find it in your heart and wallets to send a few dollars to help those communities affected the most by these natural disasters.
Representative for Mujeres Iniciando en las Americas
Guatemalan Human Rights Commission in Washington, D.C. published an article about our Executive Director, Lucia Muñoz, in its March 2010 bulletin “El Quetzal”. Click on the image below to read the article.
First came women’s studies, then came men’s studies, and now, a new field in reaction to both: male studies.
Scholars of boys and men converged Wednesday at Wagner College, in Staten Island, N.Y., to announce the creation of the Foundation for Male Studies, which will support a conference and a journal targeted at exploring the triumphs and struggles of the XY-chromosomed of the human race — without needing to contextualize their ideas as being one half of a male-female binary or an offshoot of feminist theory. Organizers positioned themselves in contrast to men’s studies, which is seen as based on the same theories as women’s studies and is grouped together with it as gender studies.
More than anything else, the event was a chance for supporters to frame men and boys as an underrepresented minority, and to justify the need for a male studies discipline in a society that many perceive to be male-dominated.
Lionel Tiger, a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, said the field takes its cues “from the notion that male and female organisms really are different” and the “enormous relation between … a person’s biology and their behavior” that’s not being addressed in most contemporary scholarship on men and boys.
“I am concerned that it’s widespread in the United States that masculinity is politically incorrect,” said Christina Hoff Sommers, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.
The culprit, said Tiger, is feminism: “a well-meaning, highly successful, very colorful denigration of maleness as a force, as a phenomenon.”
Paul Nathanson, a researcher in religious studies at McGill University and co-author of a series of books on misandry — the hatred of men and boys — conceded that “there is some critique of feminism that’s going to be involved” in male studies. “There are some fundamental features of ideological feminism over the last 30 or 40 years that we need to question.”
He also decried “the institutionalization of misandry” which, he said, is “being generated by feminists, [though] not all feminists.”
Male studies’ combative tone toward feminism and women’s studies programs is one reason why Robert Heasley, president of the American Men’s Studies Association, turned down an invitation to speak at the event. “Men’s studies came out of feminist analysis of gender, which includes biological differences” — the very thing male studies says is different about its approach.
Heasley, an associate professor of sociology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, also sees the “new” discipline as an affront to his field, which has been around for three decades. “Their argument is that they’re inventing something that I think already exists.”
Male studies will hold its first conference at the New York Academy of Medicine on Oct. 1 and 2, but AMSA already has an annual convention, which met in Atlanta late last month. The foundation will launch Male Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal next year, but thousands of journal articles on men’s studies have already been published.
Rocco Capraro, an associate dean and assistant professor of history at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, said that “men are both powerful and powerless.” Though men and boys as a group may be powerful, “today’s discourse on individual men is not a discourse of power — men do not feel powerful in today’s society.”
Instead, they feel ashamed of their masculinity. While women may perceive pornography as degrading to their gender, men consider it to be a manifestation of “sexual scarcity, rejection and shame,” he said. “Porn falls into a larger structure of masculinity as a shame-based existence.”
Primary and secondary schools, as well as higher education, have been so heavily influenced by feminism, Tiger said, “that the academic lives of males are systematically discriminated against.” If the female-favoring gender gaps in postsecondary enrollment and graduation rates damaged a group other than males, “there would be an outcry.” But because men and boys are perceived to be a powerful group, few academics and policy makers see much of a problem.
Heasley, of the men’s studies group, said that much of what male studies’ supporters are propagating is untrue, or at least not the whole story. “These are really unfounded claims that are being made,” he said. “It’s kind of a Glenn Beck approach.”
Edward Stevens, chair of the On Step Institute for Mental Health Research, said he wants to see male studies search for ways to improve male academic performance. “What are the ethical concerns of devoting 90 percent of resources to one gender?” he asked (though without explaining exactly what he meant). “What are the unintended consequences of the failure of our academic institutions to consider the 21st century needs of males?”
Cedo la palabra a mi hijo, Pablo Molina Toledo, para hablar de las luchas de la mujer: “La igualdad de género y el desarrollo de Guatemala. La sociedad guatemalteca está enferma. Hay grandes problemas cuya solución requiere enormes esfuerzos. La destrucción de nuestros recursos humanos, naturales y culturales ha llegado a proporciones extremas, provocando los problemas que hoy vivimos, por ejemplo, miseria, pandillas, corrupción, violencia y degradación de nuestra calidad de vida. Para combatir el racismo, la discriminación y la desigualdad económica, necesitamos imaginación, voluntad, determinación y cambio de mentalidad. Necesitamos también la verdadera igualdad entre los hombres y las mujeres.”
“Es motivo de vergüenza que Guatemala ocupe el puesto111 entre 134 países en el Índice de Disparidad entre Géneros del Foro Económico Mundial. Compartimos con países como Nigeria (108), con 25% de las mujeres víctimas de mutilación genital femenina; y la India (114), donde hay lugares en que un hombre puede desfigurar a una mujer si siente que fue agredido su honor. Con las estadísticas de nuestro país, nuestro puesto no es sorpresa. En Guatemala, demasiadas mujeres son asesinadas, 708 en 2009, mostrando muchas señales de violación y tortura; otras son encontradas desmembradas o cortadas en pedazos. El año pasado, Mindy Rodas, en Santa Rosa, sobrevivió varias puñaladas; pero despertó sin rostro.”
“La falta de seguridad para las mujeres ha dado origen al femicidio, y la total impunidad de ese crimen incrementa su ocurrencia, por lo que el Estado tiene gran responsabilidad. El problema sólo lo podemos enfrentar con un cambio de mentalidad. Esta violencia contra nuestras compatriotas -madres, hermanas e hijas- es aplicada por nosotros los hombres. La actitud de los hombres impacta a la mujer: somos quienes hacemos chistes o comentarios sexistas, quienes golpeamos a nuestras parejas, quienes violamos niñas y mujeres, a veces en la propia familia. Esta omnipresente cultura patriarcal y machista es la que nos ha conducido a los actuales niveles de violencia contra la mujer.”
“No todos los hombres cometemos estos actos; pero tenemos todos la responsabilidad de actuar para que cesen. Es injusto que la mujer tema por su seguridad física fuera de casa, o en el mismo hogar, y que el Estado no pueda protegerla. Los hombres, quienes hemos tenido más privilegios y más posibilidades de cambiar las cosas, debemos terminar con este círculo de violencia, ponernos al lado de las mujeres y luchar junto a ellas para lograr la igualdad de género. Hay que pugnar dentro de nuestras familias, círculos de amigos y otros ambientes para reconocer la dignidad de la mujer. Esto pasa por la educación de los hombres, para ser aliados en la lucha por la seguridad física y, más aún, generar una nueva mentalidad. Cambiar de mentalidad es difícil para quienes somos adultos; pero la niñez no está obligada a crecer igual. Valoramos el trabajo que hace Mujeres Iniciando en las Américas (MIA), sensibilizando y educando a miembros de la Policía Nacional Civil y a estudiantes de la Usac, así como su presencia en las escuelas primarias, donde enseña que otra sociedad es posible.”
Agradezco a Pablo sus aportes e insto a escucharlo y a apoyar las luchas de las mujeres.
Pablo Esteban Molina reside en Montreal, Canadá y actualmente esta cursando estudios en la Universidad Concordia. Desde el año 2008 desempeña el trabajo de subsecretario de Asuntos de la Mujer para la Red por la Paz y el Desarrollo de Guatemala.
On March 6th, 2010, the GPDN and MIA celebrated the Women International Day at an event in New York City called: Guatemalan Women for the Immigration Reform in the U.S.
The program was divided in two parts. The first one was the launch of the Hombres Contra Feminicidio Campaign in the U.S. with the presentation of the first workshop, la Vida Dentro de una Caja. The second part was a testimony presentation by Maria Luisa Rosal and women in the audience regarding their immigrant experience and why the reform matters to them.
Workshop participants in NYC
The workshop was applied as it is in the MIA’s HCF manual. The group had 10 participants from different parts of NY and NJ. See the following images that illustrate the workshop development.
Byron Izaguirre from AGMAUSA talks about machismo.
Participants work together on an exercise.
List of responses from the exercise.
What did you learn today?
_ give equal treatment to men and women
_ the importance of educating our own communities
_ how to improve family relationships and give equal treatment
_ roles have changed
_ the obstacles that roles create for people
_ women can be independent and find success on their own
Will this lesson help you improve the way you see and to things in life? How?
_ yes, communication helps the family thrive, bring up the good and bad things and understand how make things better
_ yes; I have seen more Latino men and women with more liberal views.
_ yes; make people aware of women rights
_ yes; create awareness among women of how equal we all must be
The posters were kindly donated to the HCF Campaign by Mary Wong at Women Ink — U.N. Church Center in New York City.
The Guatemalan government has issued a public protest after three Guatemalans were arrested this month by immigration agents at a Federal Express office in Florida, when one of the immigrants went to pick up a package containing his newly issued Guatemalan passport.
Suspecting that the passport was fraudulent, Federal Express officials called Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to alert them when the Guatemalans arrived to collect the package, officials of the immigration agency said. Two of the Guatemalans were illegal immigrants who have been deported, and one is in deportation proceedings.
Guatemalan diplomats said that Federal Express and American officials had examined and seized legitimate passports without notifying them and had improperly disrupted their dealings with Guatemalan citizens living in this country. Felipe Alejos, the Guatemalan consul in Miami, said the events appeared to violate basic diplomatic protocols.
“They seized official documents, and they did not let us know,” Mr. Alejos said. “There was coordination between FedEx and ICE to detain people.”
Federal Express officials said they had followed routine company procedures when they contacted immigration authorities after detecting packages that suggested organized document fraud. Officials from the immigration agency, known as ICE, said they arrested the Guatemalans only after two of them tried to flee from the Federal Express office. Both the company and the immigration agency denied that they had collaborated to lure the immigrants to the office.
The arrests started a rumor mill of fears in communities along the Florida coast, where many immigrants, both legal and illegal, have settled.
“When people in the community perceive that FedEx acted as an agent for immigration, it undermines their belief that they can collect their mail and trust in their government,” said John De León, a lawyer for the Guatemalan consulate in Miami.
The now disputed chain of events began in November when Guatemalan consular officials based in Miami held a daylong session in Jupiter, Fla., to help Guatemalans in the area resolve problems with birth certificates, passports and other documents. Dozens of Guatemalans signed up for new or renewed passports, which are useful as a form of identification in this country.
The Guatemalan government prints and distributes passports for its citizens living in the United States through a private company, De La Luz, in Metairie, La. In December, the company sent the new passports in Federal Express packages to the Guatemalans who had applied for them.
At least 30 packages could not be delivered to the addresses listed, said a Federal Express spokeswoman, Allison Sobczak, and the shipper in Louisiana did not respond to telephone calls. FedEx employees opened several packages searching for better address information, she said.
“This was a normal routine for us to open a package and inspect it to try to get a correct shipping address,” Ms. Sobczak said. Since the passports included no paperwork indicating they were official, Federal Express contacted ICE “to make sure the documents were legitimate,” she said.
Damaris Roxana Vasquez, 21, a Guatemalan living in Jupiter, said that on Jan. 6, she and three Guatemalan men drove to a Federal Express office in Riviera Beach to pick up a new passport for one of the men. When they arrived, she said in an interview, Federal Express employees told them to wait because they could not locate the package.
Federal Express employees called ICE agents, who were already on their way to the office, to advise them that customers had come to pick up a suspect package, ICE officials said. When the agents arrived, two of the men tried to flee, said an ICE spokeswoman, Nicole Navas. One escaped; the other two men and Ms. Vasquez were detained, and the men later deported. Ms. Vasquez has been released while her deportation case proceeds. Her 5-year-old son, who was with her, was not detained because he is a United States citizen.
ICE seized the undelivered passports, agency officials said. After an investigation showed they were legitimate, ICE officials returned them to the Guatemalan consulate last week.
“Document fraud poses a severe threat to national security and public safety,” Ms. Navas said.
Today, January 11th, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Earlier this month President Obama issued a proclamation declaring January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month where he acknowledged that “forms of slavery still exist in the modern era, and we recommit ourselves to stopping the human traffickers who ply this horrific trade.” Soon after, the local organization Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking or CAST, based here in LA, launched their “From Slavery to Freedom” campaign. More than 20 events will be taking place now through February 12th to draw attention to the issue of slavery. Each year about 17,000 people are estimated to be trafficked into the US. Los Angeles is considered among the top three points of entry into the United States for trafficked people. As part of their campaign CAST is working with local organizations like CARECEN, the Central American Resource Center, KIWA, the Korea-town Immigrant Workers Alliance, and PAC, the Pilipino Workers Center, as well as local and national law enforcement agencies.
GUESTS: Lisette Arsuaga, Director of Development and Communications at CAST, and Ima Matul, a member of CAST’s Caucus of Survivors
Laura Kutner is a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala who directed construction of this school made with plastic bottles.
Working as a Peace Corps volunteer, Lincoln High School graduate Laura Kutner (fifth from the right in a black shirt) directed the construction of a school building in Guatemala using discarded plastic bottles. In Guatemala, Laura Kutner noticed, plastic trash was everywhere.
And in the rural Guatemalan community where Kutner was until recently a Peace Corps volunteer, there were classrooms without walls.
Kutner, a 2002 graduate of Portland’s Lincoln High School, saw a solution to both problems. Thanks to her, the village of Granados in central Guatemala now has two new school rooms whose walls are made from discarded plastic soda bottles and other litter.
Kutner, 25, came up with the idea and saw the project through. And in so doing, she learned plenty — too much, really — about plastic and a fair amount about building community.
“First of all, there is so much plastic. Everything is packaged in plastic,” said Kutner, who was in Portland last week during a break from her work in Guatemala, where she remains assigned, but to a new location and job. “I got so sick of plastic.”
Who can blame her? She rallied the agricultural community of 900 people and surrounding mountain villages to collect more than 4,000 used plastic drink bottles from ditches, gutters and trash piles.
Students, volunteers and school staff then stuffed the bottles with plastic bags: potato chip packaging and grocery sacks. As many as 250 were crammed into each bottle using hands and sticks: this to contain plastic trash while adding heft to the bottle structure taking shape.
“We all got blisters from stuffing,” Kutner said.
Stacked side by side and row atop row, bound with chicken wire and coated with a cement-sand mix, these became the building blocks for walls that now enclose two small classrooms for Granados’ elementary school students.
“For me and for the community, seeing these two classrooms standing is truly a dream come true,” Kutner said.
Kutner applied to the Peace Corps while a senior at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she graduated in 2006 with a degree in anthropology and Spanish.
Helping others came naturally. Kutner, whose mother was a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1970s, was active in Lincoln High’s service club and other charitable endeavors.
Her father, Douglas Kutner, a Portland psychologist, remembers driving her as a child to Hat Point on the edge of Hells Canyon in the far northeastern corner of Oregon, the Seven Devils range in the distance.
“She said, ‘It’s really hard to look at all this beauty when you know how much suffering there is in the world,'” he recalled. “She was 9.”
Kutner is now based in San Miguel Dueñas, one of 128 Peace Corps volunteers from the Portland area, which ranks 11th among the nation’s metro areas for producing volunteers. Oregon ranks fifth among states per capita for Peace Corps volunteers.
When Kutner arrived at her posting in Granados in April 2007 to teach life skills to children, a metal frame and roof was all there was to the roughly 1,300-square-foot school annex building. The village government didn’t have the money to finish the project.
The elementary school’s principal told her they needed the space, and could she help find a way to finish the school?
Kutner got the idea to use bottles from a Guatemalan group called Pura Vida, which was using bottle-filled “eco-blocks” for community construction projects.
“A bottle project had never been done with metal before, always out of wood, but I figured why not look into it,” she said.
The project ended up costing about $3,000, Kutner said. It was finished with the help of local businesses that donated materials and labor; the goodwill organization Hug it Forward, who sent five volunteers to Granados; and Peace Corps volunteer Rebecca Wike of Washington, who succeeded Kutner in Granados.
In the fall, the gray walls were painted a vivid orange. Welders were still finishing the windows during the inauguration Oct. 26. This month, students will begin using the classrooms.
“I think one of the biggest things I learned is to not just have faith in yourself, but to have faith in other people,” Kutner said. “The end result of what we were able to accomplish was way greater than I ever imagined.”
While it got new classrooms, the community also got a new awareness of the litter all around it.
Kutner remembers being on a bus and for the first time hearing a mother tell her child not to throw an empty bottle out the window, a common practice. Another resident has begun collecting cans and hauling them into the capital, four hours away, to collect the deposit.
And though she got the project started, it was the local community that saw it through, Kutner said.
“With development work, you have to find a real balance. It has to be something the community really wants or needs, but they also have to be able to do it themselves,” Kutner said. “Otherwise it’s not sustainable.”
Kutner, whose name adorns a wall plaque at a new library in Granados she also helped build, has eight more months in Guatemala with the Peace Corps. After that, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in international studies and environmental management, perhaps at the University of Washington so she can be closer to her family, before continuing with a career abroad.
“I miss my family,” she said. “But I feel like I come alive when I do this kind of work.”
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MIA is a registered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation in the USA.
Proud Founder Member of the Guatemala Peace and Development Network