Wikileaks: Colom called Nobel Prize Laureate Menchú “a fabrication”

March 10, 2011

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colomo referred to Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú as a “fabrication” created by French anthropologist Elizabeth Burgos, according to a WikiLeaks cable published on Jan. 16.

The comments were apparently made in July 2008. The remarks came during a contentious time where the government had police arrest 47 community leaders in San Juan Sacatepéquez for opposing the construction of a cement plant there.

Indigenous communities protested the Guatemalan corporation Cementos Progreso, believing cement production would use up the area’s water supply and cause pollution.

Colom seemed to believe Menchú manipulated the indigenous communities into starting the protest.

Menchú’s long battle for indigenous rights in Guatemala became known around the world after Burgos transcribed a series of interviews with the Mayan leader. The subsequent autobiography “I, Rigoberta Menchú” was published in 1983.

According to Latinamerica Press, after the cable was published early this year by the Guatemalan press, Menchú responded: “It is embarrassing for a president to be involved in a situation of this sort. If he really made those statements, I think it’s disrespectful and rude.”

Colom, who promised to build better relations with Guatemala’s indigenous community when he came to power in 2008, said he had apologized to Menchú for the incident during a telephone call.

“I have always had an excellent relationship with Mrs. Rigoberta Menchú and I apologize if the former U.S. ambassador misinterpreted my words. I have paid my respects and the conversation was as amicable as always,” he said.
 

You may be interested

Adaptive surfing, part III: Riding the waves with Noah
sports
35 views
sports
35 views

Adaptive surfing, part III: Riding the waves with Noah

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 25, 2018

Part III in a series on adaptive surfing in Costa Rica. Read Part I, about the country's association for disabled…

It’s frog orgy season
Environment and Wildlife
1137 views
Environment and Wildlife
1137 views

It’s frog orgy season

Lindsay Fendt - May 25, 2018

The rainy season is upon us. For many of us that means hiding indoors for the next few months, but for Costa…

Costa Rica’s guilty voters
No Sugar Please
98 views
No Sugar Please
98 views

Costa Rica’s guilty voters

Álvaro Murillo - May 25, 2018

By what I have done, and by what I have left undone. A relative of mine is 70 years old…