The first Guatemalan I really got to know was this guy that lived with me for a couple of years at Morris. He was first of more Guatemalans to come to meet in Morris (2 others within a year). I decided to make a website on this unique country they are all from.
To narrow down more on this, I will focus on adoptees from this country since all 3 I know from Morris have been adopted. From my perspective, it seem many get adopted from Guatemala because of the poor conditions there that would cause adoption agencies to start. My particular friend that I me awhile back told me he got adopted because his health was very poor. His parents couldn't afford to take care of him along with his 5+ siblings. They then gave him up for adoption in order for him to have a better chance to live.
It seem this is very common in this country based on the number of adoptees I met from Guatemala. Here are some resources on this issue (yahoo search):
"Many, many orphaned children were sent into adoption by military officers. Originally this was a humanitarian activity but it became obvious that it had the potential for being a lucrative business. And then there is the higher demand in the West, where you have more birth control, more access to abortion - and so you have the problem of a huge demand and a supply must be created." -(more..."Guatemala's Baby Business,why so controversial and emotive)
The reason for writing this (10/17/03) is because I had another dream of this particular individual that God has layed in my heart to reach out to. Also, I just got a phone call from him last night. I've been meaning to do this website long ago, but now I felt I need to do this for future reference for me and others that come to this website.
Earlier, I tried to read some books on some generational background history to understand some past explanations on why my friend is the way he is. Knowing some historical facts-Mayans, which Guateamala is known to have rich history of this indian tribal group that built the only "Egyptian-like" pyramids in the Americas-Western Hemisphere overall:
Who? Ellen Moore’s (a former genocide case accompanier and now organizational accompanier for NISGUA) When? Wednesday, April 18th of 2007 @6:30pm
Where? UMM Campus (exact location?)
Co-sponsored by the United Latinos and MPIRG
For more info: www.nisgua.org
Guatemala suffered a brutal 36-year civil war that began in 1954 with a CIA coup, ousting the democratically elected president. A long line of repressive military dictators spread violence throughout the countryside, a terror that officially ended just over 10 years ago, with the signing of the peace accords.
In the early 1980s, the Guatemalan military combined urban repression with a rural counter-insurgency campaign that uprooted more than a million people – many of whom fled to neighboring Mexico – and led to an estimated 200,000 dead and disappeared. According to the independent Historical Clarification Commission, these actions constituted a campaign of genocide against Guatemala’s indigenous population.
In 2000 and 2001, a courageous group of war survivors filed charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against former military dictators Efraín Ríos Montt and Romeo Lucas García and their military high commands in the Guatemalan court system. These men hold great wealth, power and influence in Guatemala, and still manage to incite terror among the affected population. The witnesses in these cases formed the Association for Justice and Reconciliation and requested international accompaniment.
I worked with a U.S. and Guatemala based organization called the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) as a long term volunteer, living side by side with witnesses in the national genocide cases. As an accompanier, I provided a physical dissuasive presence, which serves to deter the risk of intimidation, violence and repression against those fighting for justice and human rights. Witnesses contend that they would be unable to continue with the cases if it were not for the measure of security that international accompaniment provides.
After seven months as a genocide case accompanier, I began my work as an organizational accompanier with NISGUA. Since the beginning of 2000, threats and direct attacks have increased against Guatemalan labor unions, indigenous groups, exhumation teams, human rights lawyers and other organizations working for justice and human rights. Organizational accompaniers respond to short-term requests for international accompaniment providing a measure of security and political space for these organizations and individuals to carry out their important work.
I will talk about what is currently happening with the national genocide cases as well as the recent actions by the Spanish High Court to prosecute Montt for genocide (Lucas Garcia died in May). I will explain the theory behind accompaniment, why and how it works, and share my experiences living in the indigenous community of Plan de Sanchez, Rabinal, Baja Verapaz. I have a great slide show with music.
I can also talk about other movements and organizations working for human rights that are suffering threats and intimidation that I accompanied. Depending on time constraints and interest, I can talk about various aspects of impunity in Guatemala that characterized my time as a short-term accompanier. This includes femicide, a serious situation in Guatemala that I also have a great video about. And, of course, I will give people the resources and information about what they can do to help.
Related Sites: Eye Witness: Reparations to Plan de Sanchez Massacre Survivors
by Stuart on Sat 04 Mar 2006 01:25 PM GMT | Permanent Link | Cosmos "The 300-plus beneficiaries of the Inter-American Court case have gathered at the chapel in Plan de Sánchez, the site of the massacre that occurred there twenty-four years ago. As the former director of CALDH (the Center for Legal Action on Human Rights), the legal organisation responsible for bringing the Plan de Sánchez case before the Inter-American system, La Rue played a key role in the birth of the Plan de Sánchez case before leaving his position to work for the Guatemalan government. Despite this change in affiliation, community members know and continue to respect La Rue. He claims that he has been with the community from the start, and now he has come to finish the job. Today La Rue stands before the survivors and tells them what they have been waiting to hear. This is their victory. Today they will receive the first fruit of their fourteen year battle. Unfortunately, the words that La Rue proceeds to voice reflect a strategy of deception and manipulation that has consistently characterized the work of COPREDEH regarding the Government of Guatemala’s compliance with the Inter-American Court sentence. "
-Jose Anleu, pastor of a latino church in Minneapolis from Guatemala
Iglesia Monte Sinai (Church of God)
2917 15th Ave. S
Pastor Jose Anleu
Sunday Services: 11a.m. & 6 p.m.
Other: Kingdom Oil
"Melville wrote the book to “try to break the intellectual and emotional isolation of a nonacademic American readership historically protected from the anger, agony, and enervating powerlessness that flow from living at the receiving end of U.S. ahistorical foreign policies undertaken in the name of an ethnocentric and quasi-religious nationalism.” The biography does that and more. One example:
Meanwhile, prestigious U.S. personalities with close ties to the Reagan administration expressed pleasure with political developments in Guatemala. Among them was the Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, and the charismatic televangelist of the Christian Broadcasting Company, the Rev. Pat Robertson. Robertson, five days after the coup, was in Guatemala City to see what he could do to help Rios Montt gain visibility and support in Washington, D.C. and across the United States. The televangelist would later write that he found the general to be “a man of humility, simplicity, impeccable personal integrity, and a deep faith in Jesus Christ.” (page 481)
Rios Montt, so lauded by Robertson, is the same man who has since become infamous for carrying out the “scorched earth” policies responsible for the deaths of thousands in Guatemala, and especially the indigenous. Melville lets the irony of this speak for itself.
Melville shows the development of Hennessy’s perceptions and political awareness as he calmly and objectively confronts the realities of Guatemala. The author skillfully and meticulously documents what went on in the country. But he also captivates the reader by making the entire 625 pages a vivid representation of Father Hennessey’s conversations with both the victims and their oppressors. Melville maintains the reading flow with gripping details of torture and pathos told in simple and uncomplicated prose. An example is an account of a visit from the trusted local village sacristan."
Reviews: A Courageous Witness
reviewed by Marie Dennis, from sojourners (Aug 05') "Through a Glass Darkly is about human beings, not statistics. Hennessey’s friends, loved ones, parishioners, and colleagues are terrorized and murdered. The massacres described are not about numbers, but about devastated communities and the tragic loss of individuals known and loved.
Historical sections interspersed throughout give the reader a modicum of relief from intense accounts of terror and atrocity, but the story’s impact is huge as the terrifying juggernaut of almost certain, brutal death slowly moves across Huehuetenango, like the rest of Guatemala, destroying one Mayan community after another." Through a Glass Darkly: The U.S. Holocaust in Central America (Hardcover)
by Thomas R. Melville (Author) from amazon.com "Book Description
Through a Glass Darkly tells the story of Ron Hennessey, an Iowa farmer who returned from the Korean War to discover that farming no longer held much allure. Hennessey joined a Catholic missionary society and after nine years of study was ordained a priest and sent to Guatemala. The book describes Hennessey's conversion from being an unapologetic patriot from America's heartland to a staunch opponent of Ronald Reagan's policies in Central America - policies that occasionally threatened Hennessey's life. Hennessey's story has a subtext: America's ideals of freedom, democracy, and progress-with-justice have been violated abroad by one U.S. president after another.
About the Author
Thomas R. Melville served as a Catholic Maryknoll priest in Guatemala for ten years before being expelled in 1967 by Guatemalan and Church authorities for his role in planning (with other religious, both native and foreign) the formation of a Christian unit to graft onto the guerrilla movement that was fighting Guatemala's military rulers. Melville's religious training -- as a youngster in Boston and later in Maryknoll -- prompted him to ask why successive U.S. administrations financed repressive governments in Guatemala and Central America and why antigovernment guerrillas were labeled "terrorists" while U.S. advisors and their students were hailed as "freedom fighters."
IMDB "As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, the rulers insist the key to prosperity is to build more temples and offer human sacrifices. Jaguar Paw (Youngblood), a young man captured for sacrifice, flees to avoid his fate....
A family drama like no other. Two hours plus that rush at the speed of light. This is cinema. I'm sorry but it is. Don't look for inner meanings. This is the work of one of the greatest artists of our time. Yes, I'm talking about Mel Gibson. And as most of the great artists, he's bound to be controversial, erratic and infuriating sometimes but, thank God he exists. He's always going to surprise us for better or worse in sickness and in health. There are no intellectual under pinnings here. This is an adventure flick that takes us to places we've never been before. It entertains and moves and startles. Masterfully shot at a breathless pace that never, ever, lets go. And then, of course, the acting - if you can call it that. The most remarkable performances by an ensemble cast of unknowns. Gloroious faces that speak louder than words. Well, as you may have guessed. I'm overwhelmed by the experience. Thank you Mel, thank you very much."
UMCOR has sent grants to El Salvador where United Methodist Volunteers in Mission are working on recovery, and to Guatemala, where United Methodist missionaries can provide emergency relief to survivors.
"The most populous nation in Central America, Guatemala is best known for its historical role as a major seat of Pre-Columbian cultures, particularly the Mayans. Numerous sites of major archaeological significance have been discovered, including the ruins of the ancient city of Tikal. The abundance of sites has led the BBC to name Guatemala as the first cultural destination in the world, and helps supply the nation with a healthy stream of tourists (1.4 million in 2006). Guatemala is also home to several volcanoes, some of which can be climbed even though they are still active. Lake Atitlan is a large lake with volcanoes on its shores. Legend has it that the entire lake is actually the huge crater of an ancient volcano. Other than tourism, Guatemala's economy depends largely upon agriculture, with coffee and sugar among its main exports.
"Celvin Galindo, the prosecutor investigating the murder of Guatemalan Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi, has fled to the United States for fear of his life. Bishop Gerardi was bludgeoned to death in April 1998, two days after presenting "Guatemala: Nunca Mas" ("Guatemala: Never Again," released in English by Orbis Books in October), a report from the Guatemalan Catholic human rights office that found government forces responsible for the overwhelming majority of atrocities committed during that country’s armed conflict.
Death threats against Galindo had intensified as he awaited DNA test results possibly implicating military officers in the bishop’s murder. Galindo admitted being "frustrated at not reaching the end [of the case], but I believe that, in reaching the end of the case, I would run a very great risk."
His exodus follows that of a judge who abandoned the case and the country after only a month, and witnesses—including a former military officer—who fled to Canada after offering testimony showing military involvement in the murder."
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