Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Farewell to the Legendary Alfonso Bauer Paiz: Until Always Don Ponchito!

Guatemala City, Guatemala.
July 12th, 2011.

The legendary Guatemalan lawyer and political activist, Alfonso Bauer Paiz, passed away at the age of 93 due to heart failure on Sunday, July 10th, 2011. Revered as an exemplary citizen and the last of an outstanding generation, Bauer Paiz held several official posts during the revolutionary governments of the so-called Guatemalan Spring between 1944 and 1954. Exiled for many years after the U.S.-led coup d’état in 1954 turned the country into a violent downward spiral that led to an eventual genocide, Bauer Paiz participated in the Latin American revolutionary processes in Chile, Cuba, Nicaragua, and eventually aided Guatemalan refugees in Mexico. Before his burial, the man lovingly known as “Don Ponchito” was paraded for one last time along the streets of Guatemala’s historic center.
Photograph of Alfonso Bauer Paiz during the March for Remembrance on June 30th, 2009.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Outrage over the Murder of Protest Singer Facundo Cabral

Guatemala City, Guatemala.
July 11th, 2011.

Guatemalans from all sectors of society expressed their outrage over the murder of Argentinean protest singer Facundo Cabral. Mr. Cabral was gunned down in Guatemala City on Saturday, July 9th, after performing two concerts in the country. The primary hypothesis claims the assassination was in fact directed at Henry Fariña, Nicaraguan promoter who brought Cabral to Central America. (1)
Nevertheless, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and presidential candidate Rigoberta Menchú assures Cabral “was murdered because of his political ideas and powerful music.” (2)

Following are images from the various vigils, protest marches and events that took place spontaneously this weekend in Guatemala City as a response to the shocking murder of the protest singer who was deemed “World Peace Messenger” in 1996 by UNESCO.

Monday, July 4, 2011

March for Remembrance 2011: Genocide, the People will Judge You

Guatemala City, Guatemala.
June 30th, 2011.

In Guatemala, June 30th is officially observed as Armed Forces Day. But since 2008, the military parade has ceased to march through the streets of the historical center in Guatemala City. Instead, the March for Remembrance has taken over Zone 1 for the fourth consecutive year to celebrate what many believe should more appropriately be deemed Heroes and Martyrs Day.

Friday, July 1, 2011

LGBT Pride Parade in Guatemala City

Guatemala City, Guatemala.
June 25th, 2011.

Images form the XI LGBT Pride Parade in Guatemala City.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Former General Hector Lopez Fuentes: First arrest in connection to Genocide in Guatemala

Guatemala City, Guatemala.
June 20th, 2011.
Issue: Genocide / Justice / Post-War

Today, June 20th, 2011, former General Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes, accused of genocide against the Ixil Mayan people during 1982 and ‘83, made his initial court appearance three days after his arrest.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Transitions: Violence, Disability and Vindication

Antigua, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
December 3rd, 2010.
Issue: Violence & Society

In Guatemala, the post-war years continue to ratify the violent legacy from 36 years of brutal war. Murder statistics for the first month of 2011 continue a troublesome trend: 533 violent deaths, most of them by firearm. That is over 17 per day in a country of only 13 million people. (1)

Yet many victims of violence do not perish. Instead, their lives are tragically altered forever. Since 1996, the Antigua-based organization Transitions, has provided youth with disabilities indispensable services involving physical recovery, mental health, education, job training, employment, and above all, social reintegration. Some members suffer from congenital diseases or have been disabled from accidents. But the vast majority has survived a violent attack and now faces the steep challenge of gaining independence and reintegrating in a society indifferent to their special needs.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Maximón and the Worship of Saint Simon in Itzapa

San Andrés Itzapa. Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
October 28th, 2010.
Issue: Society / Cultural Syncretism

One of the region’s most interesting and perplexing expressions of Mayan-Catholic syncretism involves the worship of Maximón or Saint Simon. Every October 28th, catholic feast day for Saint Simon, thousands of pilgrims from all over Guatemala and neighboring countries flock to San Andres Itzapa to worship the effigy lovingly known as Monchito.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Resounding Consultation: K’iche’ People Reject the Exploitation of their Natural Resources

Santa Cruz del Quiché. Quiché, Guatemala.
October 22nd, 2010.
Issues: Mining / Hydroelectric Dams / Community Consultation

On a historic day, residents from the municipality of Santa Cruz del Quiché - one of Guatemala’s most important hubs and the birthplace of the Maya K’iche’ people – unanimously rejected the exploitation of natural goods and resources, in particular through mining and hydroelectric activities.

“Due to the lack of political will demonstrated by the State of Guatemala in carrying out its obligations to consult the local indigenous populations as stated in various accords, particularly Convention 169 from the International Labor Organization, and faced by the proliferation of licenses to explore and exploit their natural resources without consent, local indigenous peoples have organized themselves and carried out their own community consultations. These plebiscites have fortified their will both in the national and international stages, and strengthen their right to auto determination, land tenure, natural resources, health, and life itself.” (1)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Exhumations at La Verbena: The Time has Come, with this Evidence, to Seek Justice

Guatemala City, Guatemala.
September 24th, 2010.
Issue: Post-war / The Disappeared

Members of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (FAFG) have now been working for seven months on the landmark exhumations at La Verbena Cemetery. Without a doubt, this is the most complex and ambitious project in search of the 45,000 detained-disappeared, victims of Guatemala’s State-induced terrorism against its citizens primarily during the 1970s and 80s.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Project of Mass Destruction: Goldcorp's Peñasquito Mine

Mazapil. Zacatecas, Mexico.
August 10th, 2010.
Issue: Mining

Five years ago, a new neighbor arrived in Mazapil promising employment, medical services and general development for the peasant communities of Cedros, Las Palmas, and El Vergel, among others. Unfortunately, the new neighbor has failed to deliver and hope for a brighter future has dimmed among the locals. In fact, the new neighbor, Goldcorp’s Peñasquito Mine, has turned out to be a very troublesome addition to the community as its main contributions involve environmental contamination and guzzling of the scarce water sources. (1)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Easter in Zone 1: Processions

Guatemala City, Guatemala.
March 30th to April 3rd, 2010.
Issue: Society

Religious fervor and cultural traditions liven up Guatemala City’s center like no other time of the year.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Easter in Zone 1: Street Vendors

Guatemala City, Guatemala.
March 30th to April 3rd, 2010.
Issue: Society

Easter celebrations in Guatemala City’s historic center provide a much-needed income earning opportunity for the thousands of Guatemalans who depend on the informal economic sector to survive.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

May my Blood be the Seed of Liberty: Monsignor Romero, 30 years later

San Salvador, El Salvador.
March 24th, 2010.
Issue: Historical Memory

“On Monday, March 24th, 1980, Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez, Archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated while giving a mass in the chapel of the Divina Providencia Hospital. He was gunned down by a professional sniper who fired a single caliber 22 shot from a red vehicle parked outside the small church.” (1)

Friday, March 5, 2010

In Memory of our Martyrs and the Bloodshed in Comalapa

San Juan Comalapa. Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
February 24th, 2010.
Issue: Postwar / Historical Memory

The National Coordination of Guatemalan Widows (CONAVIGUA) inaugurated a small memorial chapel in the former military garrison of San Juan Comalapa, as part of the commemorations held during this year’s National Day for the Dignity of the Victims of the Internal Armed Conflict. The structure, named Nimajay or big house in the local Maya Kakchiquel language, will serve as a place to honor the victims of the State-perpetrated genocide.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gold Fever: Artisanal and Industrial Extraction in the Mining Triangle

Municipalities of Bonanza & Siuna. North Atlantic Autonomous Region, Nicaragua.
February 20th, 2010.
Issue: Mining

Since 1880, güirisería, or artisanal mining, has been the main economic activity in the municipalities that make up the so-called mining triangle in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

History Repeats: Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared of Honduras

Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
February 7th, 2010.
Issues: Dirty War / Coup d’état

“The so-called 80’s were characterized by a wave of violence in several countries in Latin America. Our country, Honduras, was not an exception. Even though the phenomenon of ‘disappearances’ occurred mostly during the military dictatorships, many people also vanished during democratically elected governments.” (1)

“A forced disappearance can be defined as: The illegal detention of a person by a State security agent or a force acquiesced by it, without the appropriate legal procedure, and in which the act is denied without any further information regarding the location or wellbeing of the detainee.” (2)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Incessant Search for the Disappeared: Exhumation in Villalobos

Kilometer 12. Highway to Villalobos, Mixco. Guatemala, Guatemala.
December 16, 2009.
Issues: Impunity / Justice / Post-war

Twenty-some years later, the question remains the same: where are the disappeared? Based on a witness testimony, the Association of Family Members of the Detained-Disappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA in Spanish), along with the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG in Spanish), began a process of exhumation in a possible clandestine mass grave on December 10, 2009.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Migration and Cultural Syncretism: Patron Saint Day in Todos Santos Cuchumatán

Todos Santos Cuchumatán. Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
November 1st, 2009.
Issues: Culture & Migration

“We understand cultural syncretism as a process of acculturation, or mixing of different cultures. In general terms, it basically refers to the process by which Europe, and particularly Spain and Portugal, blended with the so-called ‘New Continent’”. (1)

Nevertheless, it is impossible not to perceive the new syncretism that continually embeds itself in our territories due to the complex links arising from the South-to-North migration phenomenon.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Xeabaj II: Beneath the Rock and the Storm

Xeabaj II Village. Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán, Sololá, Guatemala.
October 25th, 2009.

The dense humidity accumulated by violent Pacific currents, crashes brutally against the peaks of the Panimaquín range along the departments of Sololá and Quetzaltenango.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Barrio La Union Leader Killed by CGN’s Security Agents in El Estor

Barrio La Union. El Estor, Izabal, Guatemala.
September 28th, 2009
Issues: Land / Mining / Impunity
(Unless indicated, all photographs were taken in June 2009)

As a result of a frustrated eviction attempt in the community of Las Nubes in El Estor, Izabal, Adolfo Ich Chamán (middle in photograph) was brutally shot and killed by private security guards subcontracted by the Guatemalan Nickel Company (CGN), local subsidiary of HudBay Minerals Inc., a Canadian mining company.

Mr. Ich Chamán was chairman of the Community Committee for Development (COCODE) of the nearby Barrio La Union community, a primary school teacher, and brother-in-law of Ramiro Choc, a high profile imprisoned indigenous and peasant leader. During the attack, the following men were also shot and injured to varying degrees: Samuel Coc, Ricardo Tec, Alfredo Xi, Haroldo Cucul (left in the photograph), Alejandro Acté, Luciano Choc, Hector Choc y Guzman Chub.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nueva Linda: 5 Years Seeking Justice

Kilometer 207. Highway to Champerico, Retalhuleu, Guatemala.
Agusut 31, 2009.
Issue: Impunity / Resistance / Land

Members of the Justice For Nueva Linda Civil Association marked their fifth anniversary settled along the shoulder of the Retalhuleu-Champerico highway. Their struggle focuses on seeing justice served for the forced disappearance of Hector Reyes on September 2003 as well as the violent eviction-turned-massacre carried out in the Nueva Linda landholding on August 31st, 2004.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tragedy at Toncontin: Army Shoots and Kills Protesters

Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
July 5th, 2009.
Issues: Impunity / Coup d’Etat

On the day when ousted President Manuel Zelaya was slated to return, thousands of supporters gathered at the Pedagogica University in order to march towards Toncontin Airport. Meanwhile, at the airport, some gathered early to await Mel’s arrival despite the suffocating presence of Honduran security forces.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mel, Our Friend, the People are with You!

Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
July 4th, 2009.
Issues: Impunity / Coup d’Etat in Honduras

Today, thousands of people marched through the streets of Tegucigalpa in a peaceful protest to the Coup d’Etat that took place last week, on June 28th. The march headed towards Toncontin airport as the mass march expected to welcome back forcibly removed President Manuel Zelaya, endearingly known as Mel.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

From Memory to Resistance: 10th Anniversary of HIJOS

Guatemala City, Guatemala.
June 30th, 2009.
Issues: Impunity / Postwar / Historic Memory

For the second consecutive year, the armed forces did not parade through the historic center of the Guatemalan capital on a June 30th – officially celebrated as Armed Forces Day. Since last year, the HIJOS collective achieved one of its original goals set during their beginnings in 1999: to permanently bring to a halt the military parade.