After decades of community mobilizing and a protracted legal battle, Maya villages in southern Belize won a watershed Indigenous land rights victory in the Caribbean Court of Justice in 2015. Since then, the state has criminalized environmental defenders, violated communal land rights, and is argued by Maya activists and alcaldes (village leaders) to be operating in discriminatory bad faith. Accordingly, this Grassroots article casts critical light on a recent flashpoint conflict between the Government of Belize and Maya of Toledo District related to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). The article is directly informed by both the grounded knowledge of an autonomous movement engaged in frontline resistance, and participatory research that is rooted in a politics and spirit of "accompliceship." The structural analysis we offer from an explicitly anticolonial standpoint is instructive about the historical-imperial processes, social forces, and economic logics that underpin conventional approaches to both "development" and the state's duty to consult local communities. Ultimately, the article reveals the forms of political conflict and environmental degradation that continue to emerge globally at the conjuncture of capitalist development, (postcolonial) state power, and struggles for Indigenous self-determination.er, and struggles for Indigenous self-determination.
Keywords: Indigenous self-determination, Land rights, Latin America and the Caribbean, Violence, Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)
How to Cite:
Toledo Anonymous Collective, & Gahman, L. & Penados, F. & Smith, S., (2022) “The violence of disavowing Indigenous governance: exposing the colonial politics of "development" and FPIC in the Caribbean”, Journal of Political Ecology 29(1), 604–617. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.5124
- Heritage, Dignity, and Violence Programme of the British Academy, UK Global Challenges Research Fund (grant ID HDV190078)