Rigoberta Menchu Essay

Rigoberta Menchu, a Quiche Indian woman native to Guatemala, is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for politically reaching out to her country and her people.

In her personal testimony tittled Rigoberta Menchu we can see how she blossomed into the Nobel Prize winner she is today. Following a great deal in her fathers footsteps, Rigobertas mobilization work, both within and outside of Guatemala, led to negotiations between the guerillas and the government and reduced the army power within Guatemala.Her work has helped bring light to the strength of individuals and citizen organization in advocacy and policy dialogue on the world scale. In a brief summary of the book I will explore why Rigoberta Menchu is important to Guatemalan development, what she did, and how she helped her people overcome the obstacles thrown their way. As far back as Rigoberta Manchu can remember, her life has been divided between the highlands of Guatemala and the low country plantations called the fincas. Routinely, Rigoberta and her family spent eight months working here under extremely poor conditions, for rich Guatemalans of Spanish descent.Starvation malnutrition and child death were common occurrence here; rape and murder were not unfamiliar too.

Rigoberta and her family worked just as hard when they resided in their own village for a few months every year. However, when residing here, Rigobertas life was centered on the rituals and traditions of her community, many of which gave thanks to the natural world. When working in the fincas, she and her people struggled to survive, living at the mercy of wealthy landowners in an overcrowded, miserable environment.By the time Rigoberta was eight years old she was hard working and almost capable of picking enough pounds of coffee to earn the unfair daily wage supplied by the finca. Although Rigoberta lived in a traditional Indian society, she learned about the world outside of the fincas and the Altiplano at a very young age. She experiences the death of her younger brother at the finca.

She feels angry and afraid of what her future holds for her as an indigenous girl. Rigoberta again feels scared, yet compelled, after her first trip to Guatemala City with her father.She starts to crave change for both herself and for her community as she gets older. She yearns for an education and hopes to learn Spanish so that she may explore the world outside of the Altiplano and the fincas; she desires to learn about the world outside and its people. She is offered a job as a maid in the home of a wealthy landowner located in Guatemala City, and she jumps at the chance, seeing it as an opportunity to learn Spanish. However, after arriving in Guatemala City, she begins to understand the discrimination against her people.

Even the dog at the landowners home is treated better than her. It is here that she meets Candelaria , an Indian woman like herself, working for the same wealthy landowner, but who speaks Spanish and dresses like a ladino. Candelaria often rebelled and disobeyed by neglecting chores and talking back to the mistress of the house.

Rigoberta doesnt follow in Candelarias footsteps immediately, but Candelarias rebellious and defiant disposition has an impact on Rigoberta soon after Candelaria is fired and kicked out of the house.As Rigoberta returns from home she discovers her father has been sent to jail for not cooperating with the ladino landowners. The ladinos attempted to uproot Rigobertas community and take their land through fake documents and misleading claims.

Her father, the community leader, gave his all to prevent this from occurring because he knew it was unjust. This is the first of several times in which Rigobertas father was sent to jail. Rigoberta, her family, and the community members, work hard to pay his administration and lawyer fees to set him free.After the landowners, the government, and the army repeatedly attempt to manipulate, deceive, steal from, kidnap, rape, and kill the Indigenous populations, they decide its time to take a stance and defend their lands, people and their culture and revolt against the Guatemalan powers. Led partly by Rigobertas father, the Indigenous communities formed the Peasant Unity Committee, or CUC, and gathered their resources to use against the powerful ladino government and landowners.By this time, Rigoberta has taken on a strong leadership role within her community and plays a major part in helping the Indigenous populations develop strategies to defend their land against the Guatemalan army. They used simple weapons such as traps, machetes and lime juice to outsmart the army keep the army away for good..

Rigoberta continues on the road as a representative of the CUC; helping surrounding Indian communities secure their lands and outmaneuver the Guatemalan army.As the CUC became increasingly significant, Rigoberta and her family are viewed as a great threat to the army and landowners. Their lives were at great risk. First, Petrocinio, Rigobertas brother, is kidnapped, tortured, and burned alive as Rigobertas entire family and surrounding villages are coerced to watch.

Then, Rigobertas father leads a protest in Guatemala City and is killed in a fire along with other peasant protesters occupying the Spanish Embassy in hopes of gaining international attention to their cause. Finally, Rigobertas mother is kidnapped, raped, tortured, and murdered.Rigoberta reacts by turning away life as a married woman and the chance of motherhood in order to become more involved in the peasant cause within Guatemala. She led strikes and other rebellious actions across the nation until she herself became in great danger and had no option but to go into exile in Mexico. Although Rigobertas younger sisters joined the guerilla army to fight for the rights of Guatemalas Indian peasants, Rigoberta decides to take on a diplomatic role, by telling stories of her people and putting legislation into place as a way of fostering the rights of Indians.In the second section (the critical commentary) you should focus your analysis and discussion on two key issues that the author raised and that you think are important for understanding the causes of underdevelopment and why. It is on these two issues that you should do additional research. You should incorporate materials from the course as well as draw on additional academic sources as needed.

You should also address any weaknesses that you think exist in the book, for example where the argument is weakened or you are not fully convinced by the authors analysis.In this section you should also identify and assess the effectiveness of possible strategies for overcoming the two key issues youve selected for your paper. You may suggest alternative strategies from those mentioned in the book as part of your conclusion (e. g. as questions or avenues for future research). Social Marginalization and Legal Reform are two key issues that Rigoberta addresses numerous times and that clearly contribute to, if not to be blamed for, the underdevelopment of Guatemala.Guatamala is home to one of the worlds most unequal distributions of land and wealth. The dispute over land ownership was one of the key reasons for the outbreak of civil violence decades ago and much of the violence spoken of in Rigobertas testimony.

The bad guys in Rigobertas testimony are the landowners who never stop plotting to steal cultivated land of the indigenous people through deception and trickery. The indigenous population views land and nature as their sacred mother of man and land possession is essential for them to continue their traditions and culture.However, with the boundaries or displacement forced upon them they cannot not live their customs out (Rigoberta, 57). The lack of stable working opportunities for the indigenous people marginalizes them more so.

Again they are unable to live out their beliefs when they spend months on end working for rich landowners in the fincas for unfair wages In Rigobertas struggle Corruption and the lack of available resources are two major themes that come up time and time again in Rigoberta and her peoples struggle.These two factors hinder the improvement of life for the Indian and peasant populations within Guatemala, ultimately disallowing for development of the country as a whole. Corruption is no stranger to the Global South. I came across it daily in my time there. It can be as little as an officer demanding money from the local orphanage collection box or as major as taking someones life or locking them up in jail, as in the case for Rigobertas father.

Rigoberta speaks of many incidents.