The Political Community
The “social apartheid” that exist in Guatemala separates Guatemala into two places and does not allow the country to be united, both democratically socially. The indigenous population is separated from opportunities. Without the minimal conditions, necessary for citizens to exercise their rights in practice there is not citizenship and therefore no “true” democracy. New democratic institutions must both address the anxiety existing among Ladinos and prove to be responsive to a sizeable segment of the national community that has previously been excluded based on language and ethnicity.
Authoritarian regimes which retain considerable power and the democratic transition is never fully consolidated, stable, or lasting. Dealing not only with the elimination of military control, but also addressing the country’s historical problems, including massive social inequalities. More than half of Guatemalans are descendants of indigenous Mayan peoples. Westernized Mayans and mestizos (mixed European and indigenous ancestry) are known as Ladinos. Most of Guatemala's population is rural, though urbanization is accelerating. Although the official language is Spanish, it is not universally understood among the indigenous population. According to the World Bank, Guatemala is the country with the second-greatest income disparity between rich and poor in Latin America, behind Brazil. On which sides of that divide Guatemalans sit depends largely on whether they are Indian. United Nations statistics show 70 percent of all Guatemalans who live in extreme poverty are indigenous. The administration made some progress on such issues as taking state responsibility for past human rights cases, supporting human rights in international forums, and pressing labor rights reforms, but it failed to show significant advances on combating impunity in past human rights cases, military reforms, and legislation to increase political participation. The political balance was once again disrupted in 2000 when allegations surfaced that the FRG had illegally altered legislation. Following an investigation, the Supreme Court stripped those involved--including President of Congress and FRG chief Rios Montt--of their legislative immunity to face charges in the case. At roughly the same time, the PAN opposition suffered an internal split and broke into factions; the same occurred in the ANN. Reforms essential to peace implementation still await legislative action.
The Accord on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Indigenous Accord) was signed in 1995 as part of...