San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Guatemala’s Menchú To Form Political Party

PARIS – Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú is organizing a Guatemalan Indian political party that she would be willing to lead, although the rights activist said a run in the 2007 elections would be difficult.

“A political instrument is needed to take the indigenous people to power; the traditional parties are currently the private property of people with money,” Menchú said in a telephone interview from the southern French town of Pau, where she is taking part in the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples.

This political situation is “a vice,” according to Menchu, who plans to form a party that “takes indigenous people to power.”

Indians account for about half of Guatemala’s population of 12 million.

“The only path for gaining recognition of indigenous rights is to participate politically,” said Menchú, who serves as a goodwill ambassador for conservative President Oscar Berger’s administration.

The Guatemalan press published the results of a new poll Sunday showing that the majority of people would vote for an Indian for president in, the 2007 general elections and Menchú was the most respected political figure in the Central American nation.


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