Welcome to Un Pueblo Al Sur… Beginning with Guatemala

3 Aug

Welcome to Un Pueblo Al Sur – where we muse on politics, film, music, sport, and literature from that village to the south of the United States…I mean, er… Latin America…  You heard of it? You might find some rumblings out of there in the “America’s” section of the New York Times world briefings.

This is our first post… so let’s jump right in…

On Tuesday a Guatemalan court  convicted and sentenced four former soldiers to prison for more than 6,000 years each for their responsibility in massacring 250 people during the 36 year civil war. Note – acts like these constituted the only genocide of the 20th century in the western hemisphere. The New York Times? You guessed it… didn’t bother to cover the story. CNN has the story here.

The very next day Rigoberta Menchu announces that, for the second time,  she will be entering the race for president of Guatemala. Woah. The day after this historic verdict the most renowned advocate for the victims of the Guatemalan genocide (the indigenous campesinos of Guatemala) 1992 nobel peace prize winner Rigoberta Menchú is going to run for president! Big news, right!? The Washington Post decided to dedicate a paragraph.  The New York Times? Nada.

TeleSur gives some more context in Spanish here, quoting Menchú as stating “Este es el primer paso para cambiar la historia de Guatemala.” [“This is the first step in changing the history of Guatemala.”] She refers to a history of civil war and genocide not so subtly supported by the United States. Maybe it’s best we just keep quiet about that.

Guatemalan press reports that Menchú’s political movement, WINAQ, the first party directed to govern from the needs and perspectives of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples – “promoting values like integrity and honesty” – strives to ride the wave of social media and YouTube to spread its message. Take a look.

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