Rigoberta Menchú

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Rigoberta Menchú in 2018

Rigoberta Menchú Tum Spanish: [riɣoˈβeɾta menˈtʃu]; born 9 January 1959) is a K'iche' Guatemalan human rights activist, feminist, and 1992 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Menchú has dedicated her life to publicizing the rights of Guatemala's Indigenous peoples during and after the Guatemalan Civil War (1960–1996), and to promoting Indigenous rights internationally.


  • I think that it’s very important, and what’s really crucial here is the memory of the victims and the search for the truth, and also the commitment to substantiate the truth. So the truth is foremost, because they accused us of being liars. They tried to denigrate the memory of the victims.
  • It’s clear that there is no peace without justice. There is no peace without truth.
  • I don’t want to be controversial, but I do see that under Ronald Reagan and Bush’s administration there was a fantasy created of a third World War. And this fantasy really damaged the mentality of the military in Guatemala and Guatemalan fascists, and they still believe that communism exists. I don’t know what they’re referring to, but the truth is that here in Guatemala, women were raped, girls were raped, they strangled children, they assassinated and wiped out entire indigenous peoples, just because they thought they were so-called subversives and communists. So humanity really has to look into what occurred.

Quotes about Rigoberta Menchú

  • The Mexic Amerindian woman has inherited the sexism instituted by dominant Mexican and U.S. society compounded by the sexism within certain oppressed indigenous cultures. In neither the creative literature nor the ethnographic documentation, did I hear her speak for herself. Only in 1992, the quincentenary of European conquest, was the world delivered the voice of one Mesoamerican woman, the Mayan Rigoberta Menchu who received the Nobel Peace Prize for her ongoing activism on behalf of her people's human rights.
    • Ana Castillo Introduction to Massacre Of The Dreamers: Essays On Xicanisma (1994)
  • One of the most interesting classes I took, "Europe and the Americas," detailed the systematic and brutally efficient decimation of indigenous peoples and cultures. One of the required books, I, Rigoberta Menchú, recounted the struggle of indigenous Guatemalans. Later on, in "Imagining the Holocaust," I heard the horrific account of what happened to Jews during World War II. At Stanford I was forced to pull back from my tight community and understand how a common thread ran through so many other cultures around the world where people had to fight for their rights.
    • Julian Castro An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream (2018)
  • Rigoberta Menchu lives on as a symbol of defiant survival.
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