written with a G, for military Government.” “You can retry them but they’llnever be innocent.” “My heart is Ixil.”Ixchiu explained that she and others are fighting for the integrity of Guatemala’s justice system, but also for a legal recognition of Maya law andthe laws of all indigenous communities.
A female face
Across Latin America and Spain, feminist organizations led the solidaritymovement. In Honduras, one of the core organizers of the protest outside theGuatemalan embassy in Tegucigalpa was Helen Ocampo, a member of afeminist studies group.“We are in solidarity with the women who were attacked, raped and killed,”she explained in a phone interview.Neesa Medina, from the Center for Women’s Rights in Honduras, was also atthe protest in Tegucigalpa. “It was an action of solidarity among women thattranscends what happens in our own country,” she said. She explained thatthe call for solidarity protests came from a group of women in Guatemalarather than from organizations or political parties. Medina joined the solidarityeffort, she explained, because she recalled the images from the trials, inwhich she could see the women’s pain, and she identified with them. “I can’terase the images of the Ixil women from my mind, nor their stories. That’s whywe will keep standing up for the role of women in indigenous communities, not just as victims but as fighters,” she said.In Madrid, Mercedes Hernández, the president of the Guatemalan Women’s Association, also helped organize solidarity protests. To her, the entirestruggle for human rights has a female face, and the history of resistance inLatin America can be seen as the history of the rights and struggles of women. In Guatemala, widowed women spent decades organizing to defendhuman rights, assuming community leadership roles and full responsibility for the children when men were killed in the conflict. All Latin American countrieshave these women. In Argentina, for example, the Mothers of the Plaza DeMayo — an organization of women whose children or grandchildrendisappeared during the country’s military dictatorships — are the mostprominent group defending human rights.Yet, this organizing history is often buried, in part because the originalviolence is never fully acknowledged. Hernández explained that the truth