Magazine article New Internationalist

And Now for the Good News

Magazine article New Internationalist

And Now for the Good News

Article excerpt

THOUSANDS of Guatemalan refugees who fled to Mexico a decade ago are returning home. Some 45,000 exiles have been living in muddy camps along Mexico's mountainous southern border since abandoning their country at the height of military violence in the early 1980s. But all the mainly indigenous, peasant refugees are expected to be home shortly after four years of tortuous negotiations between Guatemala, Mexico and the UN. The first 2,500 made the historic first crossing on 20 January this year.

Guatemala's 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu was at the spectacular highland border - post of La Mesilla to greet them. 'I know what they are feeling,' she said. 'It's like a knot in the throat... as if even the hills are talking to you.' Guatemala's independent human rights attorney, Ramiro de Leon Carpio, described the event as 'a gear in the wheel that will take us to peace.'

Fighting in the last unresolved war in Central America is now only sporadic, but many of the refugees are still haunted by memories. …

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