by admin | May 10, 2024 12:47 pm

Guatemala, with a population of over 18 million people, is unique. It is the only Central American country with a near-majority indigenous population. Guatemala’s indigenous population is composed of the Maya, Garifuna, and Xinca peoples.

This essay focuses on the Maya. They consist of 22 subgroups and make up nearly 40 percent of the overall population. I focus on three systemic injustices the Maya people face: land ownership, the impact of the 36-year civil war, and the ongoing environmental crisis.

I also show the importance of grassroots activism and how the Catholic Church stands in solidarity with this resilient population as they struggle against oppression.

Because of the pervasive legacy of colonialism, Guatemala is a divided nation that relegated its indigenous population to a state of perpetual underdevelopment. The Maya were historically denied the opportunity to fully participate in the social, economic and political life of Guatemala. To this day, nearly 80 percent of the Maya live in poverty. The problem of land distribution illustrates the impact of this ethno-economic divide.

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