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Introduction: Social Movements, Indigenous Politics And Democratisation In Guatemala, 1985–1996

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Chapter Summary

The visibility and political impact of indigenous peoples throughout Latin America has grown considerably during the last two decades, and indigenous peoples have struggled successfully to become important political actors within civil society, political society and the State. There are between 35 and 40 million indigenous peoples living in Latin America, 90 per cent of whom live in Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. The initial field research was carried out during 1997 and 1998, in a post-war socio-political context shaped by the experiences of political, social and cultural ?continuity? and ?rupture? precipitated by democratisation within the arenas of civil society, political society and the state. Defensoría Maya emerged in 1993, formed through the merger of two human rights networks in the highland departments of El Quiché and Sololá.

Keywords: civil society; democratisation; Guatemala; human rights; indigenous peoples; Latin America; political society



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