Menchu: Guatemalan Indians no better off now than under Spanish
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu wrote
that the country's Mayan Indians are no better off now they were in the days of
Spanish colonialism, in an article published on Guatemala's Independence Day
In a scathing essay titled "The Exclusion of Indigenous People Did Not
Independence," the 1992 Nobel Laureate wrote that it's "a lie" to say that
Guatemalans got their liberty after Guatemala gained independence from Spain.
Independence in 1821 meant only "liberty for the new dominant class formed
during past centuries ... who came to replace the Spanish in exploitation of
indigenous people," Menchu wrote in an essay for the newspaper Siglo Veintiuno.
Guatemala has one of the world's most heavily-Indian populations. Some
percent of Guatemalans come from one of this country's 23 different Indian
But Mayans have traditionally been the lowest-paid and most excluded member
They also suffered the most from the country's 36-year civil war, which
hardline state forces against leftist Indian groups for 36-years.
The brutal conflict ended in peace accords in 1996 but not before some
people, mostly Indian peasants, had been killed during ruthless government
"I can't say that nothing has changed, of course there have been important
change," she wrote. "However, a society structured to exclude and spread
injustice against Indians still remains."
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.