The Maya of
the Toledo District are diligent in their self determination.
Maya who have chosen to dedicate themselves to increasing the
quality of life of their people are critical to the sustainable
development for their Indigenous group.
has its own set of leaders. Village leaders contribute to the
development of their particular area. Their efforts are to be
lauded. However, there are also individuals who have dedicated
themselves to address social, economic, and political issues that
effect the Maya culture as a whole.
work toward organizing, celebrating, and empowering the Maya people.
They seek equity as indigenous people and Belizean citizens.
Maya Leaders have dedicated themselves to creating a balance between
development and preservation of their Q´eqchi´ and
Mopan Maya culture and the land they and their ancestors consider
are the hard working heroes no one hears about - but they should.
here for more information about socioeconomic challenges the Maya
Leader Organizations in the Toledo District
Maya Cultural Council
Toledo Maya Women's Council
Toledo Alcaldes Association
Q´eqchi´ Council of Belize
organizations make up the Maya Leaders Alliance of Southern Belize
Below are links to articles, TV news stories and
press releases that discuss the Maya's concerns and highlight their
actions. Media pieces are
sorted by subject.
and Socioeconomic Equity
Leaders Celebrate - GOB Delivers
cheers resounded on a crowded football field in San Antonio,
Toledo District, Maya leaders signed a historic and unprecedented
agreement with the Government of Belize.
Prime Minister Signs Agreement with Toledo Maya
5's Jose Sanchez was in Punta Gorda today where he spoke to
the Prime Minister and Maya spokesman Greg Ch'oc. The occasion
was the signing of a ten point agreement.
Channel 5 Online News October
Maya Comment on Bilal Morris
I would like to respond on behalf of the Toledo Maya Cultural
Council to the article that appeared in last week's Amandala
entitled the "Present state of affairs of the Toledo Maya."
The TMCC naturally welcomes recognition in the national press
of the continued problems faced by us Maya in Toledo; problems
faced by our late Chairman Julian Cho did much to draw attention
to. The physical, economic and social isolation of the Maya
villages in Toledo means that their predicament becomes all
too easily forgotten by the rest of Belize.
Amandala Newspaper November 28, 1999
Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the Toledo Maya Cultural
Council's position on Maya land rights - a position which was
woefully misrepresented during the 2nd public consultation on
the proposed SRDC Bill in Punta Gorda on September 24th. The
representative from the Toledo Ecotourism Association criticized
the TMCC for advocating what he called a separate "Maya
Homeland" for the Mopan and K'ekchi communities of Toledo.
Belize Times November 14, 1999
Maya Cultural Council (TMCC) Speaks Out
In Belize, there has long been something of a taboo against
the rights of Indigenous people. The simple idea that Maya Indian
should have rights to their ancestral lands is viewed with reservation,
as well as an impossibility within the structure of our country
which dictates the Utopian idea that all Belizeans are equal.
TMCC Press Release - Web 1998
Menchu Meets with Indigenous Groups
Representatives of various indigenous groups were today given
the opportunity to break bread with visiting Nobel Peace Prize
Winner Rigoberta Menchu Tum.
Channel 5 Online News May 7, 1998
Commission on Human Rights will Decide Indian Land Rights Case
DC - In a major battle to stop logging and oil development in
southern Belize, Maya Indians have won a preliminary ruling
in their human rights case against the government of Belize.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, on October 20,
2000, issued a report announcing that it will consider the merits
of the complaint that indigenous Maya communities filed alleging
that the government has violated their human rights by failing
to recognize their rights to their traditional lands and by
granting logging and oil development concessions on those lands.
ILRC Press Release October 25, 2000
Indians to Washington in Bid to Defend Their Rainforests
Maya Indians from Belize are to visit Washington next week in
a bid to defend their rainforest homes from loggers, according
to Indian rights lawyers here.
Worldwide Forest/Biodiversity Campaign News November 29,
of Natural Resources Comments on Logging
The committee, which includes also members from the Toledo Maya
Cultural Council and members from N.G.O.s, they are the ones
that are recommending that. Let's give them another opportunity,
let's sit down with them and address the issues of concern especially
for the indigenous people in the Toledo District.
Channel 5 Online News March 26, 1999
File Petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Toledo Maya Cultural Council ("TMCC") filed a petition
with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization
of American States ("OAS") challenging the legality
of logging and oil concessions granted by the Government of
Belize in the Toledo District.
ILRC Press Release August 10, 1998
The creation of a Maya map was an idea brought up by the previous
leaders of the Toledo Maya Cultural Council under the chairmanship
of Mr. Estevan Assi. However, the idea of a Maya map did not
come to fruition until a new TMCC Board of Directors was constitutionally
elected on December 31, 1995. This new board was spearheaded
by Mr. Julian Cho, who got to work revitalizing the Maya organization
and implementing the historical work on the map to be produced
by the Maya. The TMCC asked the Toledo Alcaldes Association
(TAA) to help, and a partnership was born.
TMCC Press Release - Web 1996
Ten thousand dollars has been awarded to the Toledo Maya Cultural
Council to support an initiative to revive traditional Maya
music in the south.
Channel 5 Online News December 18, 2000
Leaders Seek Participation in Toledo Recovery
You have people who have been living a life of struggle, a life
rather than living for comfort, living for survival. And when
people who are living for survival are struck with a tragedy
and devastated, the little that you have is taken away and you
have no other alternative, then what you do. Quote: Valentino
Shal, Toledo Maya Cultural Council
Channel 5 Online News October 25, 2001
Maya Leaders' Hurricane Iris Disaster Relief Effort
Hurricane Iris violently struck southern Belize on Monday, October,
8, 2001, leaving an estimated 13,000 people homeless and desperately
in need of help to recover.
ILRC Press Release October 22, 2001
Villages Bear Brunt of Iris
But as the story of Belize's worst natural disaster since 1961
unfolds, it is becoming apparent that the bulk of Iris' victims
inhabit the inland villages of the Toledo District. These are
people whose food is often home grown, are likely to sleep under
a thatched roof and whose most popular fashion accessory is
a machete, not a cell phone.
Channel 5 Online News October 16, 2001
Maya Site Gets Visitor Center
archaeological site at Indian Creek in the Toledo District has
a new visitor's center courtesy of the European Union and the
Government of Belize. The ribbon at Nim Li Punit Center was
cut yesterday by Minister of Tourism Mark Espat.
Channel 5 Online News October 12, 1999
People of Southern Belize Millennium Declaration
The Maya Leaders of Southern Belize, on behalf of the Maya
Mopan and Maya Q'eqchi' Peoples of Toledo, Belize
Belize Government Press Release
January 16, 2001
Maya Reject Guatemalan Claim
leaders of Southern Belize today made it unambiguously clear
that the Guatemalan government could expect no help from them
in their campaign to snatch a piece of Belize.
Channel 5 Online News January 1, 2001
of Julian Cho
In a few days time, the Mayas of Toledo will be remembering
with a heavy heart the loss of our leader, Brother Julian Armando
Cho. The 1st of December, 1998 is a scar that will remain in
our hears and minds forever. All brother Julian wanted for his
people was for them to be treated fairly, have their rights
recognized and respected and be allowed the same opportunities
as everyone else.
The Guardian November 1999
Biography of Julian Cho, TMCC Chairman 1995-1998 Deceased 12/1/98
Julian Armando Cho was born in the remote and humble village
of San Jose in the Toledo District to Mr. and Mrs. Juan Cho.
As the sixth child of the family, he was fortunate enough to
attend high school and tertiary level institutions both at home
and abroad. Exposure to the outside world created in Julian
a strong humanitarian quality and a desire to help people, especially
TMCC Press Release - Web December, 1998
Promises to Push Cho Murder Investigation
On Monday the widow of Mayan Leader Julian Cho and a number
of his close associates came to Belize City from the Toledo
District to ask the government and the police to take another
look at Cho's death.
Channel 5 Online News December 17, 1998
Cho's Widow Wants Answers from Police
family and friends of Maya leader Julian Cho whose body was
found at his Punta Gorda home on December first say there are
still many unanswered questions about his death.
Channel 5 Online News
December 14, 1998
Continue for Julian Cho
In other police news, the cause of death of well known Chairman
of the Toledo Maya Cultural Council, Julian Cho has still not
Channel 5 Online News December 12, 1998
Offered to Julian Cho's Family
The Prime Minister Said Musa has extended his condolences to
the family of Julian Cho, the Chairman of the Toledo Maya Cultural
Council who died at his home in Punta Gorda.
Channel 5 Belize Online News December 2, 1998