June 09, 2011, 2:53 PM
I was born in Guatemala and my ancestry is of Maya lineage. It is very seldom that I speak about myself because our family experienced such horrible violence from our dictatorship. I have lived in the USA to escape the violence and the memories of my own grandmother being hung because of her activism to eliminate illiteracy by organizing literacy circles for the indigenous in our own home. I think about how we co-create peace in the world, among us, and how we generate the peace that we want to see in the world. However, I could not help but remember that all my life I have lived knowing about the violence perpetrated in our indigenous communities. I can no longer just know about how this violence continues.
Under URI’s Charter’s Guidelines for Action is RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: Actions that uphold human rights. I ask myself, how can we turn our righteous indignation to positive action?
First of all, the world has to know about the murders and persecutions that are happening in Guatemala. Yes, the indigenous people have a United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. However, these rights continue to be violated in the name of progress and capitalism. I am sharing with you today an article about the recent murder of Maria Margarita Che Chub, a 37-year-old Qeqchi midwife and community leader in Parana de las Sierras de las Minas, in the Polochic Valley. She was shot in the back on June 4, 2011, leaving behind two children. Click here (PDF) for an English translation.
This assassination fits the broader campaign of fear and repression used against the campesino movement during their struggle, which has been ongoing for a long time in the Polochic Valley. Another local leader, Oscar Reyes, was killed and three others wounded on May 21st in a conflict with the Chabil Utzaj sugarcane company.
Please join me in creating a garland of prayers for Maria, who sacrificed her life because she stood for what is right. And if you feel moved, circulate this information to your friends. I WILL NOT BE IN SILENCE ANYMORE.
Faithfully yours, Yoland Trevino, URI Global Council Chair