Muaz Mahmud Ayimoo

Guatemalans Assert Their Right to Build the World They Want

During the 1980s, a military government in Guatemala, supported by the Reagan administration, waged a brutal war that left tens of thousands people dead. Because the military exterminated entire villages of indigenous people in the Guatemalan highlands, the UN-mediated truth and reconciliation commission in 1999 concluded that "acts of genocide" had been committed.

Since this age of terror, Guatemalans have struggled for justice to hold responsible those who committed the atrocious crimes. Furthermore, they have asserted their right to have a democratic say in the use of the country's natural resources and have stood up to foreign mining, oil, and agricultural interests that have long exploited the land and people. Their courage has served as an example for other social justice campaigns throughout the hemisphere. 

In 2008, Guatemala hosted the third Americas Social Forum, where over 7,000 delegates from 350 organizations gathered to discuss how to bring about a more democratic, equitable, and just world. Cultures of Resistance was there, filming social movements as they came together to share experiences and strategize for the future. As one participant noted, “Social forums provide an important service by allowing the people of the world, the citizens of this planet, to discuss amongst ourselves and to build the world that we want.”    

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