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Maya Mural Reveals Ancient ‘Photobomb’

June 23, 2015

By: Ligia María

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An ancient Maya mural found in the Guatemalan rainforest may depict a group portrait of advisers to the Maya royalty, a new study finds. Most Maya murals depict life within the royal sphere, but the newfound mural, uncovered in the Guatemalan rainforest in 2010, shows a vibrant scene of intellectuals consulting with the royal governor, who is dressed as the Maya wind god.

Behind him, an attendant, almost hidden behind the king’s massive headdress, adds a unique photobomb to the mural, said Bill Saturno, the study’s lead researcher and an assistant professor of archaeology at Boston University.

“It’s really our first good look at what scholars in the eighth-century Maya lowlands are doing,” Saturno said. The murals also provide information about a man buried beneath them.

During an excavation, the archaeologists found the skeleton of a man dressed like the sages in the mural. It’s possible the man once lived in the room, which later became his final resting place, Saturno said. Read more…

Guatemala’s Indigenous Community Expresses Concern Over New Maya Museum

May 26, 2015

By: Ligia María

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“We are not myths of the past, ruins in the jungle, or zoos,” Maya human rights activist Rigoberta Menchú said in a 1992 interview shortly before she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. If she was speaking today, Menchú might have included “museum” among the list of things that Guatemala’s indigenous are not, after news of a proposed Maya museum in Guatemala City was announced last month.

Dezeen magazine reported on the plans to build Central America’s largest museum of Maya artifacts, Museo Maya de América (Maya Museum of America), in the Guatemalan capital. This comes less than two years after Mexico opened two new Maya museums, one in the resort town of Cancun, the other in touristy Merida. The $60 million construction of the new Guatemalan museum will begin in 2015 and will be completed through a public-private partnership, with the building scheduled to open in 2017. While the initial news of the museum was greeted with blind optimism in the press, a preliminary investigation by Hyperallergic into the realities of the proposed museum raises some serious questions about the exclusion of indigenous voices from the museum, the proposed museum site, and whether the institution would further weaken the public national museum that already exists.

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Mayas de Campeche pierden tradiciones por discriminación y rezago

May 20, 2015

By: Ligia María

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El presidente de la organización de los Pueblos Indígenas Mayas, Marcelino Mis Uc, señaló que aún enfrentan rezago en sus comunidades, por lo que es necesario orientar hacia ese sector las políticas públicas.

Campeche.- Algunas Organizaciones No Gubernamentales en Campeche aseguran que los 176 mil 115 personas que pertenecen a etnias autóctonas de 45 grupos indígenas diferentes, donde la más numerosas es la maya peninsular, aún sufren discriminación y rezago.

En el marco de la celebración del descubrimiento de América, el próximo 12 de octubre, el presidente de la organización de los Pueblos Indígenas Mayas, Marcelino Mis Uc, señaló que aún enfrentan rezago en sus comunidades, por lo que es necesario orientar hacia ese sector las políticas públicas.

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Cholitas paceñas: Bolivia’s indigenous women flaunt their ethnic pride

May 18, 2015

By: Ligia María

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Brilliantly co-loured skirts and fringed shawls swirl and massive gold earrings and brooches glitter as young women sway up and down a room in a 17th century hotel in downtown La Paz.

It’s Saturday afternoon, and modelling class is in session. But these are not size-zero supermodels wearing the latest European couture; they are petite indigenous women dressed in rakishly tilted bowler hats, shawls – and layers and layers of petticoats and skirts.

They are dressed in the traditional costume of the Aymara Indian women of La Paz – known as cholitas paceñas – an outfit which once which denoted membership of a marginalised and downtrodden section of Bolivian society, but now reflects the growing confidence and spending power of the country’s emergent indigenous middle class.

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Campesinos contra multinacionales

May 15, 2015

By: Ligia María

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“Una de las formas de operar del Estado guatemalteco es decir que el combate contra la pobreza se hace trayendo capital extranjero para la inversión en mega proyectos. Pero llegan esos capitales y el Gobierno lo único que hace es concesionar los bienes naturales de los pueblos a petroleras, a empresas que tienen el interés de establecer proyectos mega hidroeléctricos, o a mineras. Por eso tenemos problemas en diversas comunidades como San Miguel Ixtahuacán, Sipacapa, San Rafael las Flores, San José el Golfo, San Juan Sacatepéquez, San Pablo la costa, San Pablo Tacana, Santa Caterina“.

Quien cuenta estas cosas es Feliciano Velásquez, líder campesino guatemalteco y uno de los fundadores del Frente de Resistencia, En Defensa de los Recursos Naturales y los Derechos de los Pueblos (FRENA), que visitó Madrid a finales del año pasado. Estaba acompañado del abogado Ramón Cadena, director de la Comisión Internacional de Juristas de Guatemala (CIJ).

Este último insiste en el discurso de su compañero, agregando que el gobierno de Guatemala, desde la firma de la paz —en 1996 tras más de tres décadas de conflicto civil— se ha convertido en “el guardián de las empresas privadas”. Por otro lado, asegura, las empresas privadas transnacionales han adquirido tanto poder que superan al poder del Estado. “Y por eso es muy difícil hacerlas responsables de sus actos en el país. Por esa razón es que hemos venido, además de para informar de lo que está sucediendo en Guatemala, a pedirle al Parlamento español, al catalán y al europeo que establezcan un marco legal más amplio que permita establecer la responsabilidad penal de las transnacionales por los actos que realizan sus filiales en el extranjero”, agrega.

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Ancient Maya Cities Found in Jungle

May 12, 2015

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Original version, Spanish translation below

By: Ligia María

Traducción al Español, abajo

A monster mouth doorway, ruined pyramid temples and palace remains emerged from the Mexican jungle as archaeologists unearthed two ancient Mayan cities.

Found in the southeastern part of the Mexican state of Campeche, in the heart of the Yucatan peninsula, the cities were hidden in thick vegetation and hardly accessible.

“Aerial photographs helped us in locating the sites,” expedition leader Ivan Sprajc, of the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU), said.

Sprajc and his team found the massive remains as they further explored the area around Chactun, a large Maya city discovered by the Slovenian archaeologist in 2013.

No other site has so far been located in this area, which extends over some 1800 square miles, between the so-called Rio Bec and Chenes regions, both known for their characteristic architectural styles fashioned during the Late and Terminal Classic periods, around 600 – 1000 A.D.

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Giant Mayan Frieze Tells Ancient Guatemala Story

May 12, 2015

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Original version, Spanish translation below

By: Ligia María

Traducción al Español, abajo

Archaeologists working in a buried Mayan pyramid in Guatemala have discovered an enormous inscribed frieze richly decorated with images of gods and rulers, the Guatemalan government announced.

Dating to the 6th century, the carving has been hailed by local authorities as “the most spectacular frieze seen to date” and one of the best-preserved pieces of Mayan art ever discovered.

It was found at the pre-Columbian archaeological site of Holmul, in the northern province of Peten, by Guatemalan archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli below a 65-foot-high pyramid which was built over it in the 8th century.

Measuring 26 feet by nearly 7 feet, the 1,400-year-old carvings decorated the outside of a mysterious multi-roomed rectangular building. Found when Estrada-Belli and his team excavated a tunnel left open by looters, the monumental artwork depicts human figures in a mythological setting, suggesting these may be deified rulers.

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