María Estela Barco Huerta
María Estela Barco Huerta is the General Coordinator of Social and Economic Development of Indigenous Mexicans (DESMI), a Mexican non-governmental organization based in the state of Chiapas that works closely with indigenous communities. DESMI promotes community development, collective work and food sovereignty.
Originally from Mexico City, Ms. Barco has lived and worked in Chiapas for the past 35 years. She started as a church outreach worker – where she worked alongside the highly respected Bishop Samuel Ruiz, a liberation theologist. She later joined the team of several community development organizations including DESMI, where she has worked since 1993. A central part of Ms. Barco’s work has been the accompaniment of peasant farmers and indigenous communities throughout the state.
Ms. Barco is the recipient of the 2014 Global Exchange International Human Rights Award, due to her long-term commitment to indigenous rights, community development and food sovereignty. Global Exchange’s annual Human Rights Awards recognize extraordinary contributions to human rights worldwide. Since the first HRA in 2001, Global Exchange has recognized a diverse national and global pool of inspiring individuals and organizations that are dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights around the world. The 2014 Human Rights Awards Gala took place on Thursday, May 8 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California.