In Guatemala the social inequality catches up unthinkable levels, pushing us to a deep reflection on the situation of the Central American country. In our travel through the regions of Huehuetenango, Alta Verapaz and Quiché, in the north-western and remotest zone of the country, we noticed the situation of abandonment and indigenous social marginalization that the communities living on the mountains suffer. The scarcely productive land and the economy of subsistence continuously threaten those villages, reason for which the familiar nuclei lead a semi-nomadic life or are forced to migrate towards the coast, Chiapas or United States, when they have choice.
The community of Santa Barbara (Huehuetenango) represents a dramatic example: widely unproductive agriculture (95% of the territory is argillaceous), chronic absence of basic services (health, education), water and food refueling distant hours by walking. The situation is so difficult that it becomes evident the lack of the communitarian spirit which always characterizes the indigenous nuclei and that we have found in every village of Chiapas. Guatemala is remembering the first ten years of peace after a bloody civil war and often it is punished by natural catastrophes (lastly, the hurricane Stan), but this cannot be an excuse to perpetuate the discrimination against indigenous people. It’s sad to notice how much attention still enjoy ghosts of the past such us the former president Rios Montt, implied in the extermination of entire Mayan villages at the time of the civil war.