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Rigoberta Menchu Tum Chat Transcript
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Live Webcast, February 18, 1999!
Rigoberta Menchu
 
 
Question:

Now I have a question from Prospect High School: They want to know what is the conflict between you and the government of Guatemala.

Well I think it's not exactly a conflict between the government and myself. I'm not subject to any political party I respect all the parties, I'm not a part of the government. I've maintained my autonomy as a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, as an indigenous woman, but also as president of the Menchu foundation. I have worked to build the foundation, and for it or myself, never to be an instrument of the state. We have some very specific plans and we have our own agenda, from working with international organizations, like the UN, and also an agenda within Guatemala. This is the role of a Nobel Prize recipient. I have decided not to be a government employee and I think I will work like that in the future.

The controversies that exist are about specific cases: for example, we are taking legal action against 25 individuals from the military who committed the last massacre in Guatemala in 1995, the Xamn case. In that case we have fought very hard with the courts, the judges, the justice system, and also the military. Then to fight against impunity needs a strong voice. I have not only condemned the human rights violations in the past, but I am against impunity, against the justice system that does not work, against improper investigations, for example, the investigation of Monsignor Gerardi, is not correct. This investigation of the assassination of Mr. Gerardi, has lacked substance, has been convenient for some people, in reality, contaminated. So Im against this. I continue fighting for human rights because, I think this struggle for human rights is not the struggle of a particular epoch, nor just a struggle of the past but it is a permanent struggle, including during a time of democracy and peace, the struggle for human rights should continue.

Therefore, I hope that with the new Guatemalan government well have better coordination, better compatibility, but I do not expect to be an employee of the new government. This is very important because, from time to time, people will ask if I will be a presidential candidate, and that, I will not do. I have my own mission for which I am very happy. Within the next month we are working on our agenda for the year 2000, for how to implement the International Year of the Culture of Peace. This International Year of the Culture of Peace must transcend borders and involve all nations, so we can together study a new possibility for creating peace and a new possibility for how to create peace in the world. So Im involved in these projects and I can't be in Guatemala all the time because my role goes beyond that.

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