Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2017. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Topics

Historical Memory Project: Documenting the Extinction and Genocide of the Indigenous Population of Latin America

StoryMay 09, 2002
Watch iconWatch Full Show

Washington’s narrative of the democratization of Latin America goes something like this:

Latin American countries used to be governed by ruthless military dictators who murdered hundreds of thousands of people in order to stay in power.

But in the 1970s and 80s, the military pulled out of the government and transitional democracies took root.

Finally, new civilian governments were democratically elected. Successive White House administrations have used this story of democratization to push a free-trade agenda.

But critics call this narrative a myth. They say the legacy of military dictatorships continues.

Just last week in Guatemala, forensic anthropologists were forced to flee after receiving multiple death threats. They have been digging up the skeletons of thousands of massacre victims, which were going to be used to bring genocide charges against government and military officials.

Also last week, an accountant for the Rigoberta Menchú Foundation was shot dead in a cafeteria in Guatemala City. Police said it was a robbery, but Nobel Prize winner and indigenous rights activist Rigoberta Menchú Tum suspects political motives. Menchu has received repeated death threats since she filed allegations of genocide against eight of Guatemala’s former dictators, presidents and ministers.

Menchu has made it her life’s work to document the untold stories of an untold people. The Historical Memory Project was founded with the same goal-to document and uncover human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples in Latin America. Tomorrow, Rigoberta Menchu will be speaking at a conference held by the Historical Memory Project at John Jay College in New York. We are joined now by the organizer of the project, Marcia Esparza, and by a survivor of the Guatemalan civil war.

Guest:

  • Marcia Esparza, director of the Historical Memory Project and professor of Puerto Rican/Latin American Studies Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
  • Emiliana Aguilera, survivor of the Guatemalan genocide. Emiliana’s sister was disappeared and her uncle killed during the civil war. Following the signing of the Guatemalan Peace Accords in 1996, she worked with the Truth Commission.

Related link:

Music:

  • South Carolina (Barnwell)–Gill Scott-Heron, From South Africa to South Carolina (TVT CD).

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation