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Rigoberta Menchú: 'The struggle for human rights is permanent and ongoing.'

Posted May 10, 2000

"Guatemala is a paradigm of the genocides that took place at the end of the last century," Nobel Peace Prizer winner Rigoberta Menchú told an audience of 800 at International House auditorium April 28.

The Maya Quiche activist spoke about her own family, which is not unlike that of many of the 200,000 Guatemalans who have lost their lives in bloody and protracted struggle, she said.

Among the 12 family members who died were a brother, who was burned alive by government soldiers; her father, also burned alive, along with 38 other Indian leaders, during a 1980 protest at the Spanish embassy; and her mother, a community leader and healer, who was raped and tortured before she was killed.

Warning against "the second genocide against the people of Guatemala" -- the attempt to erase the evidence, and memory, of the past -- Menchu vowed to continue to search for her brother's remains and to be a voice in the "permanent and ongoing" struggle for human rights.

Her campus appearance was part of "Guatemalan Reflections," a series of events organized by the Center for Latin American Studies.



May 10 - June 6, 2000 (Volume 28, Number 33)
Copyright 2000, The Regents of the University of California.
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