“I don’t want anyone to wish me a Happy Women’s Day on March 8th,” recently said Brendy Cuy Urizar. Elsa Siquín Montafúr doesn’t celebrate this day either. Brendy is the aunt of Yohanna and Elsa the mother of Yemmi; two of the 41 girls who died in the ‘Safe House’ fire in Guatemala on March 8th, 2017.
Indigenous feminists in Guatemalaencourage women to speak out against male violence, and to heal and defend themselves like they defend their ancestral territory. These are their stories of resistance.
“They killed my son. It hurts so much, it crushes me.” With a low voice Patrona del Carmen tells the story of her 22 year old son José Casco. José is one of the more than 300 killed in Nicaragua since the popular uprising began on the 18th of April.
José, everybody called him El Chino, grew up in El Viejo, a small town close to the Honduran border. At this rundown family house Patrona sits down beneath a massive picture of him adorned with plastic flowers in blue and white, the colors of Nicaragua’s flag and of the movement he died for on the 5th of June.
“This land is ours! It does not belong to the State. It is ours, as indigenous people!” says 20 year old Guatemalan Lorena Sanchez when on the 3rd of May 2011 a state representative from Fondo de Tierras, a government department regulating access to land, arrived in Tzalbal to tell its people they are living on state property.