Saturday, January 22, 2005

Two women in guatemala

I didn't know anything about guatemala's civil war till i read the books
"I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala" and "Searching for Everardo : A Story of Love, War, and the CIA in Guatemala" recently.

The first one is the biography of Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum. who fought against the atrocities of the oligarchy and the second one was about the ordeals of harvard lawyer Jennifer.K.Harbury in finding her husband Everardo, a Mayan resistance commander.

Rigoberta Menchu Tum
Jennifer K Harbury

If u didn't know bout guatemala, it is the central american country that you will have to cross after mexico, going south from USA.It is home of the ancient Mayan civilization which was defeated by the spanish conquisdors. After declaring independence from spain in 1821,It was ruled by alternating waves of dictators and economics-driven Liberals till the CIA sponsored coup in 1954.

Foreign companies like the United Fruit Company(USA) and some elite ladinos(spanish people) who constituted 2.2% of Guatemala's population owned over 70% of the available land before 1954."Juan José Arévalo" liberal regime started land reforms and even started expropriation of lands controlled by United fruit company. That was the time CIA stepped into guatemala.

The indigenous people the mayan indians where discriminated by the ladinos(spanish people).Discrimination and land reform protests became a regular.Both protest and repression became more violent and civil war broke out. The military's violent suppression of antigovernment elements (mainly landless farmers and mayan indians) continued for 36 years. Till peace was reached in 1996.

But those 36 years the government used paratroopers and scorched earth policies to fight the guerilla groups. It used aircrafts for indiscriminate bombings. Human rights violations of unprecedented scale were commited.625 documented massacres, 440 villages erased from the map, and around 200,000 people's dead. Even though peace has returned, not all the guilty people where punished.Human rights violation cases are still goin on and Human rights activists like jennifer harbury are asking for Nuremberg like trials.

Well this was just an introduction. my blogs on these books will follow.

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