Guatemala went through one the longest and most gruesome of civil wars in Central America. The phrase (often said by 9/11 sympathizers) “Gone but never forgotten” is more than a reality for Guatemalan citizens. Especially for those like Jennifer Harbury, human rights activist and author, who refuses to stop trying to unmask the cruelties of many Guatemalan soldiers, like those responsible for the kidnapping, torture of three years, and ultimately the death of her husband, member of the resistance, Everardo Bamaca. The Guatemalan soldiers were trained by specialforce American soldiers, in the “sophistication of combat.” Or at least that is what was told to Harbury and the citizens of Guatemala before the genocide of Mayan citizens began.
Almost two decades later the Guatemalan people are liberated, yet many believe the government to be be corrupt, despite the fact that the agreement of peace was signed in 1996 and the fact that Guatemala is considered a democratic republic. Victoria Sanford, author of a NY Editorial titled, “It’s Too Soon to Declare Victory,” in highlights the controversy of current president Otto Perez Molina, who went in office in 2012. She, like many others, believes there to be serious incriminating evidence that the President was involved in the genocide for which former dictator, General Ríos Montt, only just recently has been convicted.
Since the end of the civil war Guatemala, unfortunately, still maintains heavy crime rates, like any country. The growing rates of femicide in developing Guatemala is enough to make any feminist cringe. Femicide, in which “misogynistic brutality” led to over 1,800 reported complaints of domestic violence in the first few months of 2007, or the varying cases of sexual assault are enough to make any human being with a decent belief in equality cringe. As well as intense drug trafficking, Guatemala marks itself as one the most dangerous countries.
However, the media has its way of portraying every country with only negative qualities. The media would rather cover the story of drug trafficking than an editorial of the rich and complex culture of the Mayan communities, who were able to strive through all their adversity. American news as well is notorious for deeming every country as the most dangerous, and never worth going to. It is important to acknowledge Guatemalan people for their history, but to also acknowledge change; to always question every media header as we would for any other country, and not to believe it solely because of the civil war. Every country has crime, every country has abuse, not that it is ever, ever, ever, to be justified, but it should not prevent anyone from experiencing the cultural richness, and all that Guatemala, it’s modern cities, or indigenous people have to offer.