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Maya and Catholic Cultures in Crisis$
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John Early

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813040134

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813040134.001.0001

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Maya Communities Organize for Social Action

Maya Communities Organize for Social Action

(p.160) 12 Maya Communities Organize for Social Action
Maya and Catholic Cultures in Crisis

John D. Early

University Press of Florida

This chapter describes the formation of community development organizations influenced by the biblical reflections of Catholic Action. Their purpose was to empower the Maya to confront their crisis. Typically these were health programs with a public health emphasis, literacy programs, and cooperatives. The health efforts battled the malnutrition, infectious disease syndrome. The literacy programs not only taught reading and writing but built up Maya self-esteem ground down by years of injustices. Agricultural cooperatives introduced techniques that increased production to compensate to some extent for the land shortage. They were often associated with ejidos seeking to obtain unused government land. Credit cooperatives were formed to provide necessary funds for chemical fertilizer, tide members over during the lean period between harvests, and provide capital for small-scale itinerant merchants. The cooperatives invariably became enmeshed in the region's politics and the rise of violence discussed in upcoming chapters.

Keywords:   community development, empowerment, health programs, literacy, cooperatives

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