Last month, former Guatemalan president Efraín Ríos Montt was convicted of genocide against the Ixil population on the testimony of nearly 100 witnesses from Chajul and the other towns in the region. Now, the conviction has been revoked by Guatemala’s highest court, due to a legal challenge raised by Ríos Montt’s lawyers. The legal and political saga continues in Guatemala City while Chajul waits for an answer.
The families of Chajul need your support. Behind the headlines about the trial are those that suffered the genocide. They have watched loved ones being violently taken from them and endured torture, rape, hunger, and displacement. They have had to choose between living as exiles in the mountains or patrolling their own communities, turning over their neighbors to violent hands.
Their children–youth like Esperanza–are becoming teenagers. They have grown up in the shadow of the war and suffered its repercussions. Many of their parents abuse alcohol or them; years of trauma are internalized and reproduced on the domestic front.
But Esperanza and her classmates want to heal their homes–and they won’t stop at that. Their futures are full of possibilities. LHI’s Youth Development Program provides 52 motivated Chajulense youth with resources for personal, professional, and academic success. But we believe the most valuable output of our program is something that doesn’t come from us, it comes from them: the imagination to envision options for their futures and the agency to realize their dreams.
Please give them the resources, so they can do the rest.