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Resumen: En Guatemala, la configuración de obras testimoniales derivó de su propia dinámica política, si bien, la revista Casa de las Américas –que se desarrolló como un elemento difusor del discurso revolucionario en América Latina– mantuvo relación con intelectuales guatemaltecos. El Testimonio fue configurado culturalmente como un espectro propio para expresar la realidad que desarrolló una espiral de violencia, así como un instrumento por el cual se  permitiera denunciar los hechos atroces de la contrainsurgencia. La lucha política configuró estrategias de la lucha ideológica que son visibles en estas obras, por ello, la necesidad de mostrar un conjunto de textos concernientes al conflicto armado interno es pertinente ante la constante reinterpretación histórica guatemalteca, donde la voz de los actores principales del hacer histórico obtienen un marco de referencialidad que se vincula al desarrollo historiográfico. El devenir histórico enunciado en las obras testimoniales se complementa con el trazo de su desarrollo frente a la dinámica cultural, política y social, en la que se reconocen sus motivaciones como militantes de las organizaciones revolucionarias.

Revista Historia Autónoma

The countries comprising the Central American region are in general a source of testimonial works, which relates socio-political changes lived in a violent manner during the decades of the sixties, seventies and eighties. In particular, the experience of the armed struggle in Guatemala prompted the production of a literary and testimonial discourse emerging from the context that began after the triumph of the Cuban revolution. As part of a strategic function in the process of social changes from the sixties –in particular, the military uprising on November 13, 1960– to the signing of the Guatemalan Peace Accords in December 1996.

The genesis of the testimonial genre concerned the literary journal Casa de las Américas, which was involved in the dissemination of the matter of Gender in Latin America especially in that “The testimony also issued an anthropological and political purpose but with literary value promoted, for example, by ECA at the Catholic University José Simeón Cañas in El Salvador”. The impetus of testimonial works in Guatemala is part of the cultural development that arises from the revolutionary struggle of the country. It is one of the expressions of that development that he obtaines to show as part of the rebellion against the system, which already entered in the field of literature and history, and has a liberating role to people that display their experience to whom reads them and knows they are educational and revealing. According to Jose Luis Balcárcel, testimonies as literary works serve as an instrument of revolutionary struggles:

Literature, like all art, has to do in some way, or several, with the processes of national liberation. Not say only an ideological argument, but it is likely to ostulate a historical one. This is demonstrated by various national and liberation movements, through the study of their development. Literature contributes to the formation of conscience which they are formed by and origin movements. Literature, along with other artistic and cultural events, plays an important role in the processes of national liberation, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the specific and peculiar circumstances of those concerned.

Guatemalan Testimonies have been published within the framework of the armed struggle in Guatemala, giving the impression that they are limited in quantity, compared to those produced in other Central American countries. In fact, the entire Guatemalan Testimonies have remained isolated from international criticism, and also have lacked the recognition they deserve, which leads to their being ignored and very little expansion. Nevertheless, at least one of them has transcended not only like a testimonial work, but as a reference to the same genre while it has been the subject of countless studies around the testimony of the protagonist and the tracks that converge around of testimony genre: I refer the publication of Elizabeth Burgos entitled Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nació la conciencia, first published in 1983.

The work compiled by Burgos overshadowed, to some extent, to other works of the Guatemalan origin. However, it coexists with other texts from diverse forms showing who support Gender: in Guatemala her work has developed testimonies that host their own characteristics and mingle with the literary trends of the region, arising mainly from
the armed conflict faced by the Central America countries. That is the reason why Gender in Guatemala is characterized as part of a regional trend. Mario Roberto Morales said that:
[…] the fact that the testimoniante is not necessarily an eyewitness to what it tells but it can be a personalized ficcionalización of what happened, not causing a big surprise in Central America, where the testimony and testimoniality accounts as axes of the narrative of the last twenty years and have explored the relationship between history and fiction with great breadth and exuberant wealth of resources, without restricting the genre ever to the requirement of an eyewitness. What has characterized the Central American Testimony has been the imaginative and multivocal character,
which means you can actually be a multiclasista, multiethnic and intercultural expression, and not exclusive of ubalternity illiterate and oral, as required by the U.S. theory of testimony.
Guatemalan testimonial works that can be considered part of the testimonial production within the historical and literary archetype describe the experiences of the guerrillas –both rural and urban–, the peasant and indigenous struggle, international cooperation, the disagreements of the armed movement in that the criticism comes to light, and as well as other topics related to the period of Guatemalan insurgence. For the arising historical problems, the testimony is the main information tool, where the exercise of conveying the experiences of Testimoniantes works as a cathartic, and a requirement of a psychological and subjective of what people lived, which shows an immediate intention of complaint.

JUAN CARLOS VÁZQUEZ MEDELES
Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo
Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas

http://www.revistahistoriaautonoma.es/www.revistahistoriaautonoma.es/Numero_1_files/Guatemalan%20testimonies….pdf

 

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