• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Guatemalan Mayas Unite for Change

April 2, 2004

GUATEMALA (AFP) – Approximately 300 Guatemalan indigenous leaders on Monday organized the first National Assembly of Representatives of the Maya, which seeks unity to combat the discrimination aboriginal ethnic groups face in that country.

“In essence, the Assembly is a space to call for unity and combat discrimination and racism. We are doing this because we are not included in the government’s policies, because the State is fascist and excludes us,” said Juana Batzibal, leader of the Maya Consultation Commission.

HOWEVER, more than words are needed to eliminate discrimination, she said. It must be done “through policies, and if policies are going to be multi-cultural, obviously, the attitudes of government officials have to start changing.”

Batzibal recognized the first challenge is “to get the policies that are created as a result of the creation of the Assembly approved by the Guatemalan Congress. For this to happen, it’s fundamental the  government give it political recognition.”

ACCORDING to Batzibal, if the Guatemalan government has the political will, it could immediately recognize the Assembly. This would be possible under Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which guarantees respect for the culture, religion, social and economic forms of organization and identity of indigenous peoples. Guatemala ratified Convention 169 on June 6, 1996.

Four delegates from each of the 22 Maya peoples that inhabit Guatemala will be part of the Assembly.

The members of the Assembly will meet on a bimonthly basis. They also plan to create a consultation group that will meet more often.

The Xincas and the Garífunas, minority indigenous groups that are not Maya, will participate as observers without the right to vote.

 

You may be interested

Costa Rica celebrates Guanacaste Day (Annexation of Nicoya)
Costa Rica
5604 views
Costa Rica
5604 views

Costa Rica celebrates Guanacaste Day (Annexation of Nicoya)

Zach Dyer and Roy Arguedas - July 25, 2021

This story was first published in 2013. Costa Rica this year has moved the day off for Guanacaste Day to…

Slothy Sunday: Sloths and selfies
Sloth Sundays
199 views
Sloth Sundays
199 views

Slothy Sunday: Sloths and selfies

Jillian Vander Vinne / Toucan Rescue Ranch - July 25, 2021

From a very young age, I loved animals, a fascination to an almost obsessive degree. I grew up surrounded by…

Another presidential hopeful arrested in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
9 views
Nicaragua
9 views

Another presidential hopeful arrested in Nicaragua

AFP - July 25, 2021

Another presidential candidate was arrested in Nicaragua on Saturday, police said -- the seventh detained by Daniel Ortega's government in…

The Tico Times | Top Costa Rica News, Travel, Culture and Sports