CONAVIGUA

Linked with Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez – Guatemala, and with Linking Gender, Food Security and the Environment.

Sites about the Coordinadora Nacional de Viudas de Guatemala:

1) More than 60 per cent of the Guatemalan population is Mayan while the other main ethnic group is constituted by the Ladine population (of Spanish and mixed blood). The barriers of Guatemalan society still work against the Indians, with women suffering from a double discrimination, being both Indian and women. However, Indian women play an essential role in the commnunity. She is the pillar of the family, as wife, mother, and educator of her children, and she also plays an important economic role. All the women develop craft activities based on their own culture: weaving, pottery, etc.

Guatemala is the last country in Latin America to have put an end to its civil war, which has lasted thirty six years. With the signature of the “Firm and Sustainable Peace” agreement on 29 December 1996 between the URNG (Guatemalan Revolutionary Unit)and the government, democracy has been widened to encompass indigenous organizations.However, this recent peace cannot hide the memory of years of bloody repression which, using the pretext of destroying centers of guerilla resistance, was unleashed on the country during the eighties with extreme violence against the civil rural population. The term ‘death squad’ was coined in Guatemala. These squads led to the mass exile of whole communities to Mexico, the displacement of populations towards the cities or deportation to ‘model towns’ under the control of the army. A consequence of this process is the fragmentation of traditional community structures and the destruction of the Indians’ social and cultural fabric. Women are at the top of the list of the victims.

No to military violence, CONAVIGUA: The conflict has widowed 45,000 women and orphaned 250,000 children. Most of the victims were from Indian communities living in the altiplano. CONAVIGUA (Committee of Guatemalan widows)was set up in 1988 to defend widows’ rights and protect women whose husbands had been killed because they were suspected of being guerillas. In less than a year, it has brought together 3,560 women, most of whom are Indians. (See more on this link).

2) CONAVIGUA in spanish (with music);

3) was formed out of the need to respond to the suffering which women have suffered for many years in Guatemala. Because many women cannot read or write, or even speak Spanish, we are exploited and discriminated for being indigenous and for being widows. For years women have never been allowed to participate in society, and our work has always been underpaid. We also suffer because we are widows. More than 50,000 women have lost their husbands: some were assassinated, some were kidnapped and disappeared. Thousands more have lost their husbands, when they were forced to work under such harsh conditions of poverty and there was no money to buy medicines for them when they got sick. As a result, the women have remained as the heads of our families. (Read more on this CONAVIGUA link).

4) The National Coordination of Widows of Guatemala, Coordinadora Nacional de Viudas de Guatemala (CONAVIGUA), is a women’s organization campaigning to establish the fate of “disappeared” relatives, to raise awareness of conscientious objection, to promote education and to support people displaced as a consequence of the internal armed conflict. (Read more on this site).

5) Coordinadora Nacional de Viudas de Guatemala CONAVIGUA.

digging a grave, while men are watching

links:

about CONAVIGUA on listserv.tamu.edu;

amnesty.

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