28/11/2020.- Rigoberta Menchu, the Nobel Prize for Peace 1992, a K’iche’ woman and human right activist declined on Saturday the invitation to meet the Organization of American States delegation.
On a Facebook post Mrs Menchu said: “the OAS delegation must meet with the victims of the police brutality occurred on Saturday, November 21, 2020, during the peaceful demonstration held in the main square”.
On Friday a special mission send by the general secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) arrived in Guatemala. The mission was requested by the government conservative of President Alejandro Giammattei.
Guatemala’s call for OAS assistance under the Inter-American Democratic Charter came after the organization urged dialog over the 2021 budget that would take into account the COVID-19 crisis and two recent hurricanes.
The special mission headed by Fulvio Pompeo, former secretary of strategic affairs of Argentina will be meeting with members of the Government, opposition and civil society.
Last Wednesday, the Speaker of Congress in Guatemala said that a controversial budget that started protests during which parts of the Congress building were set on fire a week ago will be shelved.
The OAS on a statement says: “In this sense, with regard to the budget for 2021, it must ensure the maximum commitments of the Government and Congress to guarantee transparency, accountability and the highest standards in the fight against corruption, understanding the fight against child malnutrition as a priority.”
Speaker Alan Rodríguez said Congress would not send the budget to the president to sign and it would therefore not come into force.
Protesters were angry that spending on health and education had been cut. Reported local media.
In a pre-recorded message Mr Rodríguez said that leaders of some of the parties represented in Congress had agreed to shelve the budget.
He was surrounded by 16 lawmakers from parties that back the government of conservative President Alejandro Giammattei.
Felipe Gonzales a K’iche’ man said to Radio Encuentros: “This is not just about the budget. People want to live, the only thing we want it is to live. They must respect us, our voice should be listening when they are making decisions. We need a new state, a new Constitution.”
Guatemala is home to 24 principal ethnic groups. Although the Government of Guatemala has adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the country’s indigenous peoples continue to face a number of challenges. Said the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA).
The main ethnic groups in the Central America country are the: Achi’, Akateco, Awakateco, Chalchiteco, Ch’orti’,Chuj, Itza’, Ixil, Jacalteco, Kaqchikel, K’iche’, Mam, Mopan, Poqomam, Poqomchi’,Q’anjob’al, Q’eqchi’, Sakapulteco, Sipakapense, Tektiteko, Tz’utujil, Uspanteko, Xinka and Garífuna.
According to IWGIA, the social, economic and political situation of indigenous peoples of Guatemala has not improved in recent years and continues to run in sharp contrast to the rest of the country’s population, as can be seen from the rates of unequal public investment and the persistence of discrimination, exclusion and racism.