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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Latin American Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Ambler Moss

Second Committee Member

Daniel Suman

Third Committee Member

Tracy L. Devine Guzman


The growing accessibility to the global community has allowed historically marginalized groups the opportunity to assert their positions on a global stage. The difficulty of States to enforce necessary protections of land and representation has allowed the entrance of new powerful international organizations with expansive networks to play a role in domestic policies. The largest indigenous group in Panama, the Ngöbe, has suffered from poor unification and political organization, weakening their position vis-à-vis the State. Recently, under the perceived threat of a large development project, the hydroelectric dam Chan 75, some Ngöbe groups have been able to make connections to bring awareness to their conflicts by appealing to distant sympathizers through international networks. These linkages are limited in their ability to force a change in national policy; however, these efforts are not in vain. The outcomes of the continuous negotiations that occur in the space of the physical development site are continuously changing to create the opportunity for the greater participation of the Ngöbe, who benefit from the leverage provided by international norms and vigilance.


Indigenous Participation; International Norms; Transnational Networks