Today, we met several speakers who hold different ideologies in recovering the dark history of Guatemala. While I find those conversations interesting and overwhelming, I also think that it is more valuable to share the conversation I had with one of the local delegates with you since other members will probably be sharing their opinions on those topics.
This local delegate works for a non-profit organization through the accompaniment program and accompany the local activists in various social activities. While they are prohibited to engage in any public protests, she, and other accompaniers, are key people to inform the international audience about Guatemalans’ activism. I have always felt confused on the role of those foreigners who help to fight for social justice at a country where is not connected with their family history. Further, I was not able to understand why did those countries welcome a person who did not experience the suffrage to participate in their movement. Therefore, the local delegate helped me to understand better about the foreign workers’ special role, as well as the U.S. government’s promise of their safety because of their U.S. citizenship. The Guatemalan social activists do not have to concern about the safety of those workers as much, and therefore could utilize their advantages (ex. language skill, connection in the U.S.) to continue changing the world with greater impacts.
Despite the foreign workers are under the protection of the U.S. government and have an opportunity to stay in Guatemala for years, they could face a life threatening danger and force to leave the country immediately. The delegate told me that during the genocide trial recently, the government scheduled to ask those foreign workers to leave the country. I assume that it was because the government did not want them to share the truth to the world. Luckily, that did not happen and she continues working for her organization till today.
Promoting social justice as a foreigner in Guatemala is an especially arduous mission to complete. I thereby revere and appreciate their dedication to help fighting for a better future with the Guatemalans.