The Herders We Have Become

Translated  by Katrina Hassan In Guatemala, the land where racists, xenophobes, homophobes, corrupt, and classists abound. To be black is worse than to be indigenous. Blacks are at the bottom of the social classes and also in the human rights department. Nobody wants to have a black friend, employer or teacher, wife and or kids. As unbelievable as it seems, the native people who have also been exploited and excluded, they want nothing to do with the black people.  Oh, the irony! In Guatemala, black people are only good for one thing. Everyone is dying to have a black lover, but…

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Resistance Through Writing and Art

Translated  by Marvin Najarro My written expression was born out of my lack of verbal expression. I have never been able to communicate with humans; worlds and erupting volcanoes inhabit inside me, but on the outside I am an iceberg; coldness in itself. It is hard for me to approach people, I am not shy, on the contrary, I am bold, fluent with words thanks to my Alma Mater; the marketplace where I grew up selling ice creams. That experience taught me to go out and make a living at a fast pace; shyness does not help to survive. So, thanks…

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The Homeland of the Undocumented

 Translated  by Marvin Najarro After the fence, the homeland becomes a perennial longing. The undocumented know this more than anyone else. It becomes that old letter of paper worn out by so much folding and unfolding. It is in the evocation of rainy days, of the milpa growing, of fresh chipilín flowers and the aroma of coffee cooked in a clay pot. The fog of the land left behind on the other side of the fence crosses the borders and seeps through the crevices in the windows of the skyscrapers where the generations who had to emigrate, because in their own…

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Social Networks Progressives

 Translated  by Marvin Najarro Latin America is infested with formidable social networks progressives; some with a thicker skin claim to be revolutionaries. As in times past, when paper put up with everything that was written on it, now it is the social networks. They are the catalyst par excellence of our human mediocrity. They say that anyone has social networks nowadays, but no, not anyone, only those who have access to a computer, a smart phone or a tablet, those who have the economy to pay for internet at home, the people, the hoi polloi, do not even have access to…

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Dignifying the Arrabal

Translated  by Katrina Hassan Historically, in the classist and racist societies, the arrabal or the “hood” is where all the evils of the world collide. This is why, whoever comes from the hood, has to be a thief, abuser, racketeer, rapist, murderer and every other accusation that a person can think of. To be rid of these labels is a titanic feat. The stigma is part of the arrabal DNA. To be from the hood is an impediment for getting a good job, to study and to have interpersonal relationships outside of your own kind. People view those coming from the…

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The Assyrian Man and My Bamboo Sticks

Translated  by Marvin Najarro I am trying to find bamboo sticks to tie down the sunflower stems which are growing and are already bending over. I walk along the shelves full of pots with summer varieties, flamboyant colors, different types of yellow, and the green bottle or green avocado of the leaves. Fuchsia and pitaya colors and bright orange ones. Older adults are hired temporarily to take care for the flowers in the nursery; they water them, remove the dry leaves and carefully place the flowers on the shelves. The young workers are in the topsoil and fertilizer area carrying and…

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Frida’s Immensity Encompasses and Illuminates All

This essay belongs to The Insurrectionists Women series Translated  by Katrina Hassan Many critics considered Frida Kahlo a naïve artist. They undervalued her artistic technique. Frida overcame the passage of time and her art travelled the world over as if it became small enough for the palm of her hand. This limitless woman dared to resist. She questioned, rebelled and said no to wasting away, inert. The pain Frida felt did not rob her of expressing what was in her soul. Against all odds, Frida painted, painted and painted. She showed us, with her naïve art, the beauty of simple souls.…

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The Cuban Doctors in Guatemala, A Breath of Fresh Air

Translated  by Marvin Najarro In the midst of a rotten system, plagued with corruption and impunity that corrodes the foundations of Guatemalan society and take with it the people’s lives by the thousand, there is, like a breath of fresh air, the medical brigade that shoulders the most vulnerable, because it is present where the national doctors are not. And they are the Cuban doctors, willing to exalt the mission of saving lives.   A bunch of criminals, who place their puppets in any sitting government, have taken on the task of plundering the state’s resources which has caused people to give…

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The Palestinian Genocide is Right Under our Nose

Translated  by Katrina Hassan In Latina America, information and news from dictatorships is hard to come by thanks to technical limitations and repression. In the past, this information had to be extracted by foreign journalists. They had to jump over many hoops to do so. This is why so much was left in silence and the forgotten. In terms of technology, times have changed. The population can make use of their telephones. They can reproduce, in real time, what really happens in their countries in a matter a seconds. People sharing information gain time on the media as it wastes time…

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The Colombian Awakening

Translated  by Marvin Najarro In 2015 it was Guatemala, demonstrating against corruption on sunny Saturdays. Latin America was amazed to see the submissive and “chambona” Guatemalan society finally rising up after having elected a genocidal as president; they did not protest demanding justice for the victims of the genocide that they denied it took place, but against corruption. But it is better than nothing, given the circumstances of a very weak historical memory. They allowed themselves to be tricked, as in soccer “chilena” goal, when Jimmy Morales was made president, and after that, they by their own volition headed for the…

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The Bicycle With Which I Try to Emancipate Myself

Translated  by Katrina Hassan When the land lots were made and the dust was still in the air on the brand new streets of Ciudad Peronia, a family arrived and opened a tortilla shop and a bike rental business. To have those two businesses in a shanty town like this, full of poverty, these people had wealth. They had three indigenous employees that had three tortilla making shifts. The men of the house ran the bike rental business. They had dozens of bicycles. This was the beginning of the 90s. Nobody in the neighbourhood had money to rent a bike by…

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“Semitas” to soothe the soul

Translated  by Marvin Najarro “Grandma, speaking about ‘Comapa,’ do you know how  ‘semitas’ are made?” I asked my grandmother, after 17 years in the diaspora, of which even I was surprised. “How is it that, Negra?” I said to myself, “that you haven’t asked your grandmother the recipe for ‘semitas’ before.” My grandmother began to dictate the ingredients to me, for “semitas,” “pan de arroz,” “quesadillas” and “salporas.” I pulled out a sheet of paper and wrote them down.  “Figure out the sugar,” she told me, “add it depending on what your taste tells you. Depending on the amount of flour add…

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Liliana López Foresi: To be good journalist one must learn. One does not learn to be a good person.

Translated  by Katrina Hassan This article belongs to The Insurgent Women series Liliana López Foresi, is a reference point to commitment in journalism. Her journalism is not one that is bribed, or that destroys, but resists and is has solidarity when everything goes wrong. She is a myth, a legend of journalism that many of the Argentinian oligarchs have tried to fade out through time. If people think about ethical, humane, indispensable, responsible, gender focused journalism in Argentina, the sole representative is Liliana López Foresi. If Liliana López Foresi is so important for the journalistic feminine base and political opinion in…

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The Amnesia of a Defeated Country

Translated  by Marvin Najarro Without going any farther, there is the defeated country, which if we take into account all the things that happened during the dictatorship, at this point in time, instead of neoliberalism and forgetfulness, society should have opted for the rebuilding of its social fabric, imprisoning those who committed crimes against humanity, and the rebuilding of its infrastructure.    But instead, it is an emaciated country. The same vulturelike society has dedicated itself to deny the genocide; to denigrate the relatives of the victims of the Internal Armed Conflict; and to see with apathy how the state is dismantled…

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