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People Commemorate The Guatemalan Genocide No One Talks About

Guatemala Genocide
Credit: @nowel04 / Instagram

In 2013, former Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt was convicted for crimes against humanity and genocide he committed 30 years ago against the indigenous Maya Ixil people.

Credit: @inspiractionorg / Instagram

The 89-year-old was sentenced to 80 years in prison, but three years after the trial, that verdict is still up in the air.

The Constitutional Court, pressured by the elite and the military who were afraid of their fate after Ríos Montt’s sentence, threw the verdict out and set a retrial. Human rights lawyers and two of the judges criticized the move as an absurd intervention.

Absurd to say the least, because, during the trial, victims described horrific crimes committed during Ríos Montt’s rule.

#Repost @opensocietyfoundations with @repostapp. ・・・ Massacre survivor Sebastian Iboy Osorio, 50, steers a boat on the Chixoy reservoir along with wife Magdalena Alvarax, 48, and daughters Adaly (left), 5 and Paulina, 7. Iboy Osorio, originally from the Achi Mayan community of Rio Negro, survived the massacres carried out by the Guatemalan army and civil patrolmen from neighboring Xococ against residents of Rio Negro in 1981 and 1982. Nearly 400 community members of Rio Negro were killed in four separate massacres due to the community's resistance to give up their lands and make way for the Chixoy hydroelectric project. Rio Negro, Rabinal, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala. Hello, this is James Rodríguez (@mimundo_org), Mexican-US documentary photographer based in Guatemala since 2006. This week I am honored to share images via the @opensocietyfoundations Instagram feed from my long term project on Life in Post-War Guatemala. After a brutal 36-year civil war (1960-1996) that left over 250,000 victims, the tiny Central American nation, with an Indigenous Mayan population of over 50% and one of the most violent and economically polarized societies in the western hemisphere, still reels from the harrowing conflict. All photographs have been taken with a phone. Iboy Osorio returned to Rio Negro in the early 1990s along with two other survivors and have currently grown into a community of 24 homes. Electric service was finally established in August 2015, but each house was charged 2,150 Quetzales (US $280), something they believed should be waived considering their original town was flooded to make way for a hydroelectric project. Most of the residents of Rio Negro live below poverty levels making less that US $2 per day. #opensociety #humanrights #documentary #photojournalism #postwar #guatemala #everydayguatemala #everydaylatinamerica #everydayeverywhere #genocide #ixil #achi #riosmontt #bn #bw #achi #maya #mayan #chixoy #hydro #hydroelectric #hidroelectrica #embalse #dam #reservoir #electricity #electric #electricidad

A photo posted by James Rodríguez / (@mimundo_org) on

Credit: @mimundo_orga / Instagram

Men, women and children testified, describing how the women were gang-raped and how their family members were torn to pieces right in front of them. How they were forced to leave their home and escape into the jungle for years seeking safety.

In her essay for the Huffington Post, human rights activist Jo-Marie Burt said, “During Ríos Montt’s rule, the Guatemalan state’s official policy was to exterminate its indigenous population in the name of national security.” For this, Ríos Montt was to go to prison.

Credit: @jomaburt / Twitter

The verdict was a victory for the indigenous people because, as Burt says, it was “the first time a high-ranking military official was being sanctioned for grave violations of human rights in Guatemala. The first time ever a former head of state was held accountable for genocide in a domestic court of law.”

The retrial has been rescheduled many times, sometimes due to Ríos Montt’s dementia. It has also changed from a public trial to one behind doors. This, however, isn’t discouraging Guatemalans. In their eyes, the first verdict still stands, and they will continue to fight impunity.

Credit: @nobelwomen / Instagram

As Juan Francisco Soto, executive director of the Center for Legal Action for Human Rights, says, “What is surprising is that we were able to bring the case to court and see it through. We proved in a court of law that there was a genocide in Guatemala.” Even though the verdict was overturned by dirty legal moves, “For us,” he says, “the sentence is still valid.”

Get more details on this genocide trial here

READ: Real Life Risks Guatemala Immigrants Take to Make It to America

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Is This Racist Or Nah? This Dude Just Made An 'English Only' Rule For His Restaurant

food and drink

Is This Racist Or Nah? This Dude Just Made An ‘English Only’ Rule For His Restaurant


Welcome back to one of We Are mitú’s favorite games*: Three Strikes of Intolerance. When people or companies claim their practices are not prejudiced, we scrutinize what they’ve said versus what they really mean. Three strikes, and we call you out. Today’s contestant is Ron Schneider, owner of Leon’s Frozen Custard in Milwaukee, Wisc. The restaurant is facing criticism after instituting an “English only” rule at their establishment. The owner claims the practice of refusing to speak Spanish to customers is actually the best thing for everyone, i.e. people who speak English. Is Ron right, or is this custard’s last stand? Let’s find out!

Schneider told local ABC affiliate WISN that his policy is more about making as much money as possible.

Ron Schneider

Apparently Ron lives in a world where custard is so popular that accommodating Spanish language just gets in the way of commerce. But what Ron fails realize is that, according to Scientific American, Spanish is one of the fastest spoken languages. So if you really want to speed up sales, you should probably cater to the largest minority population in the state, which also happens to speak a fast language.

Strike 1, Ron.

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Credit: r/baseball/Reddit/Giphy

Schneider says: “I’m trying not to encourage [Spanish] because this is going to be a problem down the road. We can’t be the United Nations. They got translators. We don’t.”

Ron Schneider again

Here, our lovable proprietor laments that he doesn’t have any translators. Translation: He doesn’t understand that by employing people who speak Spanish, he’d have employees who could help bridge the language gap. Also, don’t compare yourself to the U.N. The Spanish word for custard is lactoso. Does that really need a translator?

Strike 2. I didn’t think anyone could give custard such a bad name. 

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Credit: PitcherGIFs/Giphy

“My wife is Hispanic. My children are Hispanic. Anyone that wants to call me racist on that basis, maybe we should settle it the old-fashioned American way in the alley.”

Ron Schneider with token wife

You don’t need a translator to know what he’s really saying: “It’s OK, I can make that joke because some of my best friends are [insert ethnicity here].” I think we all know the kinds of people who use this premise as an excuse. This guy’s a real cus-tard. Don’ t worry. I can make that joke because some of my best desserts are custards.

Swing and a miss. Strike 3.

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Credit: PitcherGIFs/Giphy

Hit the showers, Ron. You’re done.

*This is the first time we’ve actually played this, but by the time you read this, it’ll be too late for you to care.

READ: Where Are All The Latina Superheroes? 9 Actresses Who’d Make Badass Superhero Characters

Have you ever had your voice silenced at work? Mitú wants to know. Leave a comment below.

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