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Guatemala and the Maya


Updates and Current Events

The Foundation for Human Rights in Guatemala
The Foundation monitors many Guatemalan news sources and posts news clippings, which they update every couple of days. They also have an excellent links section for more information on the struggle for human rights in Guatemala.

Human Rights Watch: Guatemala
Visit the Human Rights Watch site for updates on the status of human rights in Guatemala.

Guatemala History

Guatemala: A Brief History
This site offers a comprehensive history of Guatemala dating back to Mayan civilization and detailing the circumstances leading up to the civil war.

Guatemalan Timeline
This historical timeline details Guatemalan history from 100 B.C. through 2001.

U.S. Involvement

CIA and Assassinations: The Guatemala 1954 Documents
The National Security Archive is a research organization that has secured de-classified government documents related to the CIA's role in the 1954 coup in Guatemala.

CIA Guatemala Files
The CIA's Electronic Reading Room provides access to a collection of over 5,000 documents chronicling CIA involvement in the 1954 coup in Guatemala. The collection includes reviews of the event by CIA historians, administrative memos regarding operational plans and internal approvals, operational cable traffic and summaries of tapes used for propaganda purposes.

The Maya

Mayan Culture
Find out more about the rich and colorful traditions of the various ethnic communities, such as K'iché, Kaqchiquel and Achi, in Guatemala. Each group has its own language, its special folklore, yet they share a common ancestral heritage as expressed in religion, music, dance, foods and even social organization.

Mayan Art
The site of Arte Maya Tz'utuhil features a vast collection of paintings by Mayan artists, photographs and information about textiles and Mayan customs.

Nobel Laureate: Rigoberta Menchú
Learn more about the 1992 Peace prize winner who was chosen "in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples."

 

Survival and Activism


Organizations

Find out how you can help.

Guatemalan Human Rights Commission
The Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA is a non-profit, humanitarian organization founded in 1982 to monitor, document and report on the human rights situation in Guatemala. GHRC/USA also promotes advocacy for and aid to victims of human rights violations in Guatemala.

Rabinal Widows, Orphans and Displaced Committee
Co-founded by Jesús Tecú Osorio, this volunteer organization assists survivors of the Rio Negro massacre.

Rights Action (formerly Guatemala Action) is a North American human rights organization active in Guatemala.

Amnesty International provides searchable updates on human rights situations around the world. Their Guatemala section has suggestions for action.

The Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) works to educate and empower U.S. citizens in their efforts to influence U.S. policy towards Guatemala and to promote ties of solidarity and understanding between the peoples of both countries.

Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH) assists in the preparation of legal cases on behalf of survivors, and works primarily with Mayan communities to insure their basic human rights.

 

Activists

Find out more about the individuals working with survivors to challenge the culture of impunity and bring about justice and reconciliation in Guatemala.

Rigoberta Menchú is a renowned leading advocate of Indian rights and ethno-cultural reconciliation, not only in Guatemala but throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Jesús Tecú Osorio is one of the few survivors and key witnesses of the Río Negro massacre. Forefront profiles Jesús and the Rabinal Widows and Orphans Committee along with other leaders on their website.

 

Chixoy Dam and the Rio Negro Massacre


The Chixoy Dam: The Maya Achi' Genocide (PDF File)
Read the report prepared in December 1999 for the World Commission on Dams detailing the proposal to build the Chixoy Dam and the events leading up to the forced resettlement and subsequent genocide of the Maya Achi' of the Rio Negro in Guatemala.

The Rio Negro Campaign
The Advocacy Project site on Guatemala offers extensive information about the Rio Negro Campaign, the struggle against impunity, updates on survivors of the massacres, and the international efforts to address the human rights violations that occurred.

Guatemala Truth Commission Report
The Foundation for Human Rights in Guatemala provides extensive coverage of the Guatemala Truth Commission Report released in 1999 with photos and links to articles, as well as to the text of the original report.

Memory and Truth After Genocide: Guatemala
View a transcript of a panel session on the challenges of achieving peace and reconciliation in Guatemala presented by the Holocaust Museum in 2000.

 

Genocide


What is Genocide?
Prevent Genocide International provides the definition of genocide according to international law, as well as articles written about the history of the term dating back to World War II.

U.N. Convention Against Genocide
Read the U.N. Resolution adopted in 1948 which bans all acts of genocide and declares it a crime under international law.

International Campaign to End Genocide
This site provides genocide alerts and links to other organizations working to prevent genocide.

The Genocide Studies Program at Yale University
Visit the site of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies and learn about their on-going research on policy issues relating to the phenomenon of genocide.

Bystander to Genocide
This article by Samantha Power published in The Atlantic Monthly in 2001 evaluates the failure of the U.S. to respond to the genocidal massacres in Rwanda.

Frontline: Valentina's Nightmare - The Crime of Genocide
This excerpt from Rwanda and Genocide in the Twentieth Century, a book by Alain Destexhe, explores the history of genocide and the specific motivations behind it.

Raphael Lemkin Papers
On this website of the American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College, you can read about Raphael Lemkin's life and work.

 

Art, Memory and Healing


Learn about artists who use their medium to document and memorialize victims of trauma.

Photographer Daniel Hernández-Salazar
The Guatemalan artist and former photojournalist Daniel Hernández-Salazar helped investigate the mass graves left by Guatemala's Civil War. His "angel" series of photographs were used as cover art for the Catholic Church's Project Report on Guatemalan Historical Memory.

The Legacy Project
A collection of multimedia art and virtual exhibitions reflecting on the cataclysms of the twentieth century.

Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies: Virtual Museum
Artists' statements, images and various galleries for use in Holocaust and genocide education.

Also on PBS and NPR


PBS.org Websites

ONLINE NEWSHOUR: Truth and Democracy
A look at the state of democracy in Latin America during President Clinton's visit to the region in 1999. Two veteran Latin America analysts discuss current political trends and recent accusations that U.S. security agencies were involved in human rights abuses in Guatemala. (1999)

THIRTEEN: Justice & The Generals
In exploring two historic cases of human rights violations in El Salvador, the film offers unique insight into a new chapter in international human rights law, an important step forward in the campaign to bring military commanders to justice for crimes committed within their ranks. (2002)

NEWSHOUR EXTRA: Human Rights and War Crimes
This special report examines changes in international law regarding war crimes and human rights violations, with a particular focus on East Timor, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Kosovo. (1999)

WIDE ANGLE: Cause for Murder (2002)
The film examines the status of President Vicente Fox¹s reforms in Mexico. Website offers opportunities to explore cost of government corruption in Mexico to everyday Mexicans in a corruption chart, to learn more about human rights conditions in Mexico and its neighbors in Central America in an interactive map, and to speak out on corruption and human rights in a photo forum. (2002)

FRONTLINE: The Triumph of Evil
Frontline explores how Western powers and the United Nations ignored warnings about the impending genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and failed to intervene even when it became clear what was happening. (1999)

The Kennedy Center Presents: Speak Truth to Power
Celebrating the work and struggle of human rights activists around the world, the program intercuts a stage presentation with interviews and documentary stories illuminating the work of several human rights activists. (2000)

NPR Stories

NPR MORNING EDITION: Guatemala Killings Prompt Call for Probe
After a series of killings of high-profile human rights workers in Guatemala, the country's human rights ombudsman asks the president to investigate -- and to dismantle a group of former military men who he accuses of the attacks. NPR¹s Gerry Hadden reports.

NPR ALL THINGS CONSIDERED: Guatemalan Adoptions
Guatemala is one of the world's leading centers for international adoptions. Americans are turning more often to Latin America to adopt, and most are arranged legally, but there are problems.





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