Guatemala's 1996 Peace Accords (particularly the Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples) and the participation of certain Maya intellectuals in recent governments open new possibilities for indigenous peoples to see themselves as a nation and to provide that nation with ethnic-cultural content. However, the vision of the country's elite does not correspond to that of most Maya intellectuals. Some emphasize ethnic-cultural aspects and forms of ethnic autonomy while others have a more wide-ranging and pluralistic vision based on a more national and intercultural perspective. The process of providing the government with new and legitimate bases and the nation with cultural content merits study. This article examines this process based on interviews with Maya intellectuals and ladino leaders as well as the content of public speeches and essays.
The Role of Maya Intellectuals and Civil Society Discourse
Marta Elena Casaús Arzú
A Tentative Assessment
Demetrio Cojtí Cuxil
The history of Guatemala is dominated by authoritarian and conservative governments. It is said that the country is presently transitioning toward democracy, yet the government, as well as the democratic system itself, continues to be structurally colonialist and racist. Guatemala's leaders have not realized the implications for the government and for civil society of the constitutional and political recognition of the country as multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multicultural. Further-more, Guatemalan political elites ask and expect that individual and collective members of society be multi-ethnic and multi-lingual, even when the government and its organs are not. The necessary transition, public as well as private, from mono-nationalism to multi-nationalism can be achieved, but it would be more efficient and consistent if the government would take heed of civil society.
In the 1980s, Guatemala's state-sponsored violence reached genocidal proportions and led to community ruptures, endemic fear, deepened distrust, and unprecedented levels of daily violence that have continued into the post-war period. Tragically, the war's resolution has not ended the country's volatility and insecurity. Reconciliation is challenging and requires a much deeper structural overhaul. It is problematical for a society that has been created on a rigid, ethnic-based, and highly divisive foundation now to take steps toward reclaiming a non-existent pre-war period of concord. An inclusive and just society, which respects the fundamental human rights of all, is essential yet sorely lacking. Moving in this direction is hindered by the historic impunity enjoyed by the military and the powerful, as well as a dysfunctional judicial system in need of reform.
Mothers’ Reactions to Nutrition Programmes in Guatemala’s Dry Corridor
-micronutrient powder, a central element of Guatemala’s strategy to reduce chronic child malnutrition, which is estimated at 46.5% of children under five years of age at the national level ( Comisión 2016 ) and over 70% in one of the districts where my research took
Eliza Guyol-Meinrath Echeverry
In 2007, security personnel from the Canadian-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. Fenix mine, together with Guatemalan military and police forces, used destruction of crops and property, intimidation, physical assault, and sexual violence to evict the Q
Allison D. Krogstad
Rumam Chamalkan (Nietos de los Kaqchikeles, Grandchildren of the Kaqchikel) is a folkloric dance-drama group from San Jorge La Laguna, Guatemala. Like other Maya initiatives that have come out of the postwar years in Guatemala, this group strives to preserve and maintain the traditions, memory, and identity of the Maya by retelling the stories of their elders and bringing their heritage to new generations and to the world. They endeavor to unite their people around common images and symbols, binding them together, and strengthening their social connectivity. Efforts of the Maya in regard to artistic, literary, and other creative expressions of heritage as well as forays into the political, economic, cultural, linguistic, and environmental systems of the country and world have begun, collectively and cohesively, to make a dent in the wall of inequality, repression, and discrimination that the world has built around the Maya.
Perspectives on Free Trade Agreements in Guatemala
Social movements and NGOs working against economic liberalism in Guatemala consider specific entities—the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and, above all, the United States—as their enemies. However, local perceptions of the US in Guatemala are ambiguous. Many Guatemalans claim that US influence on the country has been disastrous, but the US also received many Guatemalan refugees during the civil war and continues to receive illegal migrants from Central America, while countless families depend on remittances that their relatives send back from the US. This article argues that local actors do not simply reproduce images of the great powers as transmitted by the media and NGOs, but create new combinations and elaborate their own interpretations, which make sense at the local level.
Una experiencia por compartir
Eduardo Rodríguez Herrera
*Full article is in Spanish
La cuenca del Río Paz, ubicada entre El Salvador y Guatemala, en América Central, presenta una degradación ambiental severa que, aunado con su condición de zona fronteriza, contribuye con el empobrecimiento de sus habitantes. Esta condición, sumada al acompañamiento de algunas organizaciones de segundo nivel, ha motivado el acercamiento de los actores locales de ambos lados de la frontera para compartir sus problemáticas, construir una visión conjunta y desarrollar acciones compartidas y coordinadas que han permitido desarrollar un músculo organizacional, promover el desarrollo de alianzas estratégicas y avanzar en la consolidación de la gobernanza ambiental transfronteriza, a pesar de la resistencia propia de la inercia política centralizante.
Local Ends and Development in a Q'eqchi' Maya Community
In the small Q'eqchi' Maya village of Muqb'ilha', locals refer to the newly developed tourism complex as el otro lado (the other side), in contrast to the 'lived side' where the community resides. While the Candelaria River literally divides the homes of the community's families from the visitor center, the reference goes beyond a physical distinction. The tourism center provides a window to the world beyond this remote community as residents who participate in the enterprise gain economic, social, and human capital through their interaction with outsiders. The Chisec region of Guatemala where Muqb'ilha' is located has recently experienced a boom in NGO activity. This article explores the interaction between indigenous communities and international NGOs, highlighting ways in which local actors use development projects and conservation measures toward their own ends.
Hegemony, Development, and Desire in Guatemalan Export Agriculture
Edward F. Fischer and Peter Benson
This article examines non-traditional export production of broccoli, snow peas, and other crops in Guatemala. Focusing on Maya farmers, exporters, and government development officials, we trace the production of the desire to grow these crops, to make some extra money, and to enhance local and national economies. We find that the export business has left farmers shortchanged even as it has opened new possibilities of algo más (something more or better). We examine how this empirical paradox has emerged from the convergence and divergence of power relations and affective desires that produce the processes known as 'hegemony' and 'resistance'. We conclude by considering alternative ethnographic strategies for understanding the multifarious connections between power and desire, hegemony and culture.