Oxlajuj B'ak'tun: Mayan Era Change

HUEHUETENANGO, Guatemala — Events here during the much-awaited end of the Oxlajuj Baktun, a 5,129-year period in the long Mayan calendar, provide a clear reflection of the divisions and challenges faced by Mayan communities today. The media exploited inaccurate apocalyptic rumors the Maya never predicted, the government and business sectors viewed it as an opportunity to…

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COBAN, GUATEMALA — On February 27th, 2012, The Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (FAFG) began an exhumation inside the former Military Garrison of Cobán, one of Guatemala’s largest cities. Three months later, forensic anthropologists have recovered the remains of close to 100 victims of Guatemala’s 1960-1996 internal armed conflict. One mass grave has revealed the remains…

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GUATEMALA CITY — After 9 days and more than 120 miles, members of the Indigenous, Peasant and Popular March (Marcha Indígena, Campesina y Popular) arrived at the center of Guatemala City. On March 27, independent photojournalist James Rodríguez captured these images from the ninth and final day of the march, in which an estimated 15,000…

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GUATEMALA CITY — People from all sectors of society gathered on the streets of Guatemala City to show their outrage at the murder of Argentine folksinger Facundo Cabral, which took place on Saturday, July 9. Photojournalist James Rodríguez snapped these images at the vigils and protest marches commemorating Cabral this weekend.

Pools of cyanide are lined with high density polyethylene. But if they tear, drippings from the pond may contaminate underground aquifers.

MAZAPIL, Mexico — Five years ago, a new neighbor arrived in Mazapil, promising employment, medical services and development for local peasant communities in Cedros, Las Palmas and Vergel, among others. But the new neighbor, Goldcorp’s Peñasquito Mine, has turned out to be a controversial addition to the community, as allegations have surfaced that the mine…

To begin viewing this photo essay as a slideshow, click the first image. This photo essay is adapted from “Gold Fever: Artisanal and Industrial Mining Extraction in the Industrial Triangle,” which originally appeared on Feb. 28, 2010, at MiMundo.org. The images, by James Rodríguez, were produced with the support of Oxfam America. Captions by Roque…

VILLALOBOS, Guatemala — Guided by witness testimony, the Association of Family Members of the Detained-Disappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA in Spanish) and the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG in Spanish), began to exhume a possible clandestine mass grave on Dec. 10, 2009. A former member of the Estado Mayor Presidencial — an infamous military hit…

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TODOS SANTOS CUCHUMATAN, Guatemala — High up in the Cuchumatanes sierra, Maya Mam communities have safeguarded their customs and traditions for centuries. Nevertheless, exploitation, violence, discrimination and the ever-present effects of globalization, continue to force men and women out of their communities and into the risky venture of migration to “El Norte” — the term…