Her Mother Was Killed by U.S.-Backed Security Forces. Now Lucrecia Mack Is in Guatemala’s Congress

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In a Guatemalan election marked by fraud and corruption, Lucrecia Hernández Mack is one of just a few new faces in politics sparking hope in the country, after being elected as a legislator in the Guatemalan Congress with the progressive party Movimiento Semilla. Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced Thursday it will hold a recount amid fraud allegations following last Sunday’s presidential and legislative elections. Hernández Mack is the daughter of renowned Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack, who was murdered by U.S.-backed Guatemalan security forces on September 11, 1990, during the country’s brutal 36-year civil war. In 2016, Hernández Mack became the first woman to lead Guatemala’s Ministry of Health, but resigned after current Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced the U.N.-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala was no longer welcome in the country. We speak with Thelma Aldana, former attorney general of Guatemala, and Lucrecia Hernández Mack about her historic win.

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Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the significance of the election of Lucrecia Hernández Mack, the daughter of the murdered Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack, September 11, 1990, murdered by Guatemalan paramilitary forces, sadly, backed by the United States?

THELMA ALDANA: [translated] Yes, Lucrecia Hernández Mack and the seven legislators who were elected by the Movimiento Semilla political party will no doubt be a light of hope in the national Congress. Lucrecia has done important work. She has brought a message of hope to Guatemalans. Nonetheless, I must recognize that they are a minority and that they’re going to have to make a major effort to get their proposals adopted in the national Congress.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Thelma Aldana, the former attorney general of Guatemala, a leader in Guatemala’s anti-corruption movement, former presidential candidate in this year’s election until she was barred from running and left Guatemala, facing death threats.

At the end of the interview, she was speaking about Lucrecia Hernández Mack, a newly elected legislator in the Guatemalan Congress with Aldana’s political party, although there will now be a recount for all of Guatemala’s elections. Lucrecia Mack is the daughter of the renowned Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack, who was murdered by U.S.-backed Guatemalan security forces on another September 11th—September 11, 1990. We got in touch with Lucrecia Hernández Mack in Guatemala City earlier this week, and I asked her about her mother’s legacy.

LUCRECIA HERNÁNDEZ MACK: In Guatemala, we had a 36-year armed internal conflict, between 1960 and 1996, which was the year that we signed our last and final peace accord. During these years of conflict, the military would come into the rural communities and massacre them. So we would have a lot of survivors fleeing into the mountains and going as refugees to Mexico.

And my mother, as a social anthropologist, would do research on the internally displaced population. So she would publish, along with certain U.S. universities. And because of these publications she did, she was—she became an enemy of the state. So she was a target of an intelligence operation of the Estado Mayor Presidencial, which is the major office for the security of the president and that worked as an intelligence squad, a death squad. So, in 1990, on September 11 of 1990, she was murdered, stabbed 27 times, just when she was coming out of her work.

After that, my aunt, Helen Mack, started looking for justice. She was able to prosecute and have a sentence against one of the material authors and one of the intellectual authors. They were both part of the military. And the intellectual author was a colonel, who is currently—has escaped justice. He was never—he was prosecuted. He was sentenced. But he was never—we were never able to put him in prison.

My mother was the victim of a state that would repress and generate death. And many of us are just trying to convert and change that government into a government that gives well-being and life and health, basically. So, that’s maybe the major reason why I’ve gone into politics, and now I’m an elected congresswoman. And I’m in a political party that is trying to, you know, combine ethics with politics and to have a government that is not working for the military or for the oppression or for the corrupt, but finally we will start working for the people.

AMY GOODMAN: Lucrecia Hernández Mack, former minister of health in Guatemala, now newly elected legislator in the Guatemalan Congress with the political party Movimiento Semilla, the political party of Thelma Aldana. The Guatemalan Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced Thursday it will hold a recount amidst fraud allegations following last Sunday’s presidential and legislative elections.

Well, that does it for our show. Very special thanks to María Taracena, Libby Rainey and Charlie Roberts.

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