Thread on Guatemala’s "Independence" day.
I know this day is very symbolic to many Guatemalans but it’s necessary that we begin to critically understand what this event set in motion for the country.

Today is the day in which the Criollos(Spaniards born in Guatemala) proclaimed their independence from the Spanish Crown
Independence from Spain did not benefit the majority of poor Indigenous,Mestize, and Afro descendants. In reality independence initiated a transferring of power from the Spanish Crown to the Criollos and a new elite sector of Mestize who would go on to govern the country.
The new Criollo/Mestize elite in Guatemala was concerned with progress, modernization etc so they aimed to structure the country in accordance with a capitalist model of development.
In other words, profit, wage labor, and the growing private ownership and exploitation of natural resources became central aspects guiding the future development of Guatemala.
To make way for capitalist development a new wave of attacks on Indigenous peoples communal lands and way of life was unleashed. The Guatemalan state used violence to steal lands from Indigenous ppls which they then used to encourage European settlement and foreign investment
As a result, Indigenous peoples and non Indigenous peoples were forced to meet their needs through other means. This included working for wages, renting land from the new landowners, and in many cases were forced to find work in the cities and other regions of the country.
In addition to the loss of land, the post independence governments worked tirelessly to eliminate Indigenous cultures and identities.
Fast forward to the Guatemala of today. There are 48 farms that cover over 33,000 acres each, 80% of the territory in Guatemala is controlled by a few wealthy people many of which are American, Canadian and European.
Meanwhile ,the majority of Indigenous peoples have no land or very little,live in extreme poverty, and continue to be forced off their lands to make way for foreign investment. Those who organize and resist are imprisoned or assassinated.
Independence day should not be a day of celebration. We cant celebrate independence while the lands of Indigenous peoples continue to be in the hands of the descendants of colonizers and imperialists.
The last 199 years have only upheld what the Spanish colonizers began in 1524. The majority of Indigenous, Mestize and Afro descendants continue to live in a society structured around their exploitation and oppression.
Perhaps if in 1820, the Indigenous movement lead by Atanasio Tzul and Lucas Aguilar had successfully returned lands belonging to Indigenous peoples and provided Indigenous peoples the right to self determination we could really have a day to celebrate
Or maybe if the period of change also known as the Guatemalan revolution (1944-1954) would have continued and had not been destroyed by the U.S. government we could be celebrating something closer to an actual independence.
An attempt to achieve independence and free Guatemala from spanish colonialism,U.S. imperialism, capitalism was fought by the revolutionary movement (1960-96)which organized+armed Indigenous/non Indigenous ppl to overthrow the government of the capitalist/landowners/imperialists
Although the revolutionary movement was unsuccessful in overthrowing the government there is still hope that independence will become a reality for Guatemala. In the last 2 decades since the war ended (1996) there have been many advances made towards this goal.
In 2015, Guatemala reached a turning point that saw thousands of people demand the resignation of the corrupt president Otto Perez Molina. The country was brought to a halt and the president was forced to step down.
At the time there was no real alternative to challenge the rule of the rich and powerful who have governed Guatemala for centuries. Eventually another corrupt politician was elected but resistance continued to grow.
In December of 2018, after decades of organizing locally across the country as CODECA, the Movimiento para la Liberacion de los Pueblos (MLP)an Indigenous led political organization gained official status by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to participate in the 2019 elections
MLP presidential candidate, Thelma Cabrera, an Indigenous Maya Mam woman finished fourth in the national elections sending a message of hope to the poor and oppressed people of Guatemala.
A new Guatemala is emerging and it is being constructed by and for the Maya, Garifuna, Xinka ,Afro descendants and Mestize people. Independence is in sight for Guatemala.
If youre interested in learning more you can check out this thread i made

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More from @Naru_Ayma

17 Nov 19
I have compiled a variety of learning resources (documentaries, books and scholarly articles) on Guatemala's history. I will continue to add new resources as they become available since there are various topics that I was unable to cover at the moment.
These books on Guatemala can be accessed through this link.
There is a total of 6 books in this google drive…
These books on Guatemala can be accessed through this link. There is a total of 26 learning resources (books and scholarly articles) in this google drive…
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