On October 12th the government of Guatemala commemorates the Dia de la Hispanidad, the day Colombus arrived to the Americas. For the nation’s Indigenous Peoples, however, it’s a day of remembrance of the genocide carried out against past generations and a call to action reinstating resistance to the oppression, exclusion, and violence Indigenous Peoples have faced over a half century since Columbus’s arrival. Each year leaders of grassroots Indigenous organizations convoke a march through Guatemala City to the, past the supreme court, the congress of the republic, to the central plaza and the presidential palace, to highlight the most pressing issues for Indigenous Peoples nation-wide, including the legalization of community radio.
Two volunteers from Radio Doble Via climb onto a statue to get a good angle.
Mayan women of the community radio movement in Guatemala present their demands at the October 12 March of Resistance in Guatemala City. Right to left: "Children, youth, adults: we communicate for peace", "The earth, territory, and the airwaves: not for sale!", "Community Radio: voice, knowledge, and thoughts of our country", Women: Freedom of Expression is our Right! -Community Radio Movement", "Original Peoples demand approval of the Law of Community Radio"
Victor Sanchez, of the Radio Jilotepque and Samuel Gomez of Radio Palestina hold the sign: "Community Radio, a right, a need, and an opportunity. YES to the approval of bill 4087."
Radio Doble Via broadcast coverage live from the march, packing transmitter, console, and speakers in a vehicle and broadcasting with a wireless microphone.
"The denial and devaluing of women's contribution is also violence."
Q'eqchi women representing CONAVIGUA, an association of widows whose husbands were disappeared and killed in Guatemala's armed conflict.
"Oxlajuj Baktun is not for sale"painted by activists on the walls of Guatemala's tourism agency, INGUAT. Oxlajuj Baktun is the December 21st, 2012 change of cycle in the Mayan calendar, that is being marketed as a tourist attraction by INGUAT.
A heavy police presence was felt throughout the march.
Graffiti on the walls of Guatemala's military headquarters- "Military Assasins"
"Supreme Court of Injustice"
The march concluded in front of the Presidential Palace, in the central plaza of Guatemala City.
Watch CS staff Cesar Gomez (Pocomam) speak on the value of community radio and the urgent need for their legalization, in front of the Guatemalan Congress (in Spanish)
Cultural Survival helps Indigenous Peoples around the world defend their lands, languages, and cultures as they deal with issues like the one you’ve just read about.
To read about Cultural Survival’s work around the world, click here. To read more articles on the subject use our Search function and explore 40 years of information on Indigenous issues.
For ways to take action to help Indigenous communities, click here.
We take on governments and multinational corporations—and they always have more resources than we do—but with the help of people like you, we do win. Your contribution is crucial to that effort. Click here to do your part.