Guatemala’s Indigenous Peoples Endure Poverty and Contested Land Rights

Guatemala’s Indigenous Peoples Endure Poverty and Contested Land Rights
Indigenous authorities from Nebaj village during a protest, Guatemala City, May 30, 2015 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the legal status and socio-economic conditions of indigenous peoples in a range of countries.

The recent arrest of an indigenous leader in Guatemala sparked outrage among the country’s indigenous communities, which claim the government is systematically discriminating against them. In an email interview, Jennifer N. Costanza, an independent scholar who focuses on indigenous rights and the politics of resource extraction in Latin America, discussed indigenous rights in Guatemala.

WPR: What is the legal status of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples, what legal struggles have they fought in recent years, and what gains have they made?

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