Guatemalan Human Rights Activist to Speak on "Crimes of the Past"

Makrina Gudiel to Discuss Fight for Justice, Connection to Local Maya Community April 2

UMass Dartmouth will welcome Guatemalan human rights activist Makrina Gudiel, Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at 2:30 p.m., at the UMass Dartmouth Campus Center's Blue & Gold Room, to discuss "Seeking Justice for the Crimes of the Past in Guatemala". Ms. Gudiel is currently on a tour of the East Coast of the United States to raise awareness and advocate for justice for the victims of the Guatemalan Civil War. 

According to Amnesty International, more than 200,000 men, women and children were murdered or disappeared during the 36 year long Guatemalan armed conflict (1960-1996). During this period, Guatemala was immersed in a bloody internal conflict between the military government and guerrilla groups. 

Ms. Gudiel's brother, José Miguel, was "disappeared" by the Guatemalan military in 1983. His named was included in "The Diario Militar", or "Military Diary", a military armed forces document, which offers detail of the capture, torture, and murder of 183 people accused of involvement in anti-government activities. Once the document became public, the family has brought the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). In a matter of a few days following the filing of this case, Ms. Gudiel's father was assassinated.

Ms. Gudiel has testified before the IAHCR and is now traveling in the U.S. to talk about the cases of her father and brother, and the importance of international solidarity. In addition to UMass Dartmouth, Ms. Gudiel's tour of speaking engagements includes UMass Amherst, Brown University, College of Notre Dame of Maryland, and American University. The talk will be in Spanish with English translation. 

Dr. Lisa Maya Knauer of UMass Dartmouth's Department of Sociology and Anthropology will introduce Ms. Gudiel. Dr. Knaur has written about and worked with Maya communities in both New Bedford and Gautemala and will explain the connection of these issues to the experience of Guatemalan migrants and refugees in the United States. Commentary will also be offered by Kathryn Johnson, associate director of the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission (GHRC), which is organizing Ms. Gudiel's tour of the United States. 

The GHRC is a non-profit, grassroots, solidarity organization, founded in 1982, dedicated to promoting human rights in Guatemala and supporting communities and activists who face threats and violence. GHRC documents and denounces abuses, educates the international community, and advocates for policies which foster peace and justice. 

The event is presented by UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Jeannette Riley, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Crime and Justice Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, Foreign Languages and Literatures, the Arnold Dubin Labor Education Center, and the Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality. 

The UMass Dartmouth Campus Center is located on the main campus (285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747). Attendees are encouraged to park in lot 7. 

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