Monday, August 11, 2014

Paying tribute to the martyrs of Totonicapán

On October 4, 2012, a peaceful protest called by the leaders of the 48 cantones of Totonicapán, was attacked by the military. The predominantly indigenous marchers were blocking a strip of the Panamerican Highway, the CA-1, to protest, among other things, the government's decision to raise electrical rates -- a decision that disproportionately affects the rural poor, who are largely indigenous. 

A total of eight people were killed in what has become known as the "massacre of Totonicapán" or the "massacre of the Cumbre de Alaska" (which is the point int he highway at which the army attacked the protestors. The massacre became one of the emblematic events of the regime of President Otto Pérez Molina, following the declaration of martial law in Santa Cruz Barillas earlier that year following the killing of a resistance leader. 

Today as I was driving from Huehuetenango to take a little writing break in San Pedro la Laguna, I passed the spot on where the massacre occurred, now marked by a modest monument, erected by the popular movements. I pulled over (I was on the opposite side of the highway) and walked across to take a photograph.

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