Copyright 2004 Donna DeCesare
The most comprehensive coverage of Central America in years.
Award-winning radio to use as an educational and learning tool.
Youth reporter Estella Hernandez making a radiodiary
Classroom in Santa María Tzejá

One of the few stores in Santa María Tzejá

A store in Santa María Tzejá

Teacher Juana Perez and the book she uses in middle school, Ricardo Falla's "Massacres in the Jungle"

Segment 5:
Santa Maria, part 2
Reporters/Producers: Maria Martin, Sam Eaton, Walter Morgan, Angelica Luevano
Central American Collaborator: Youth Associate Estela Hernandez

We return again in this edition of our special series: "Despues de las Guerras: Central America After the Wars," to the story of one village, Santa María Tzejá, a small community in Guatemala's northern rainforest. Santa María Tzejá was destroyed during that country's bloody civil war and resettled in the years afterward. In this story we focus on the youth of the village. They are trying to move forward into the future while dealing with the ghosts and the wounds of the past. Maria Martin of Graciasvida Productions has our special report, co-produced by Youth Radio's international desk, in association with National Geographic.

After the remote Guatemalan village of Santa María Tzejá was viciously sacked by the military in 1982, survivors fled into the surrounding rain forest and eventually to Mexico; some went even further, to the United States. Others stayed behind, falling into the military's hands. Today the community is rebuilding with the help of villagers past and present. The story of the village of Santa María Tzejá embodies the forces and conflicts that define the country today. The story of the village's history was told in Segment 1: Santa María: The Tale of One Village. This segment tells the story of the present and future of the village through the perspective of Santa María Tzejá's young people, especiially a young Mayan woman who recorded a radiodiary and interviewed other young people for this piece.

For more information about the issues raised in the segment Santa Marta Tzeja: Youth Voices (The Tale of One Village, Part 2), see the following books and articles.
(Note: this is not intended as a complete list. Check back for more recommendations and an opportunity to make your own recommendations soon.)

Carmack, Robert M., Harvest of Violence: The Maya Indians and the Guatemalan Crisis. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992.

Falla, Ricardo. Massacres in the Jungle: Ixcan, Guatemala, 1975-1982. Boulder: Westview Press, 1994.

Heptig, Vince. A Mayan Struggle: Portrait of a Guatemalan People in Danger. Ft. Worth, Texas: Maya Media, 1997.

Russel, Grahame. Unearthing the Truth: Exhuming a Decade of Terror in Guatemala. EPICA and CHRLA, May 1996.

Manz, Beatriz. Paradise in Ashes: A Guatemalan Journey of Courage, Terror and Hope. Berkeley: 2004.

Perera, Victor and Daniel Chauche. Unfinished Conquest: The Guatemalan Tragedy. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

Sanford, Victoria. Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003.

Wilkinson, Daniel. Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal and Forgetting in Guatemala. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.

Youth Radio

Casa Alianza Regional Office Report: Child Rights Under Scrutiny Press Release 6 June, 1997.
Central American states due to report to UN on street children by November. Contrasting official and NGO reports.

Tiempos del Mundo (Argentina): More Honduran girls prostituted. Reuters, 28 February 1998 (English and Spanish).
Young girls being taken to Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.

Kovaleski, Serge F.: Child Sex Trade Rises in Central America. The Washington Post, 2 January 2000.
The sexual exploitation of girls and boys, largely by U.S. males, has reached alarming proportions in Central America, according to children's rights advocates who say the region is now a priority in their struggle against child prostitution and pornography.

Muñoz, Néfer: 7.5 Million Children at Work. IPS, 3 August 2000.
More than 7.5 million Central American children and adolescents have lost their right to recreation and studies because they must go to work in order to help support their families. Children performing dangerous industrial jobs, young people hired to commit crimes and babies sold into adoption in industrialised countries are all part of the panorama.

Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala:

UN verification mission in Guatemala

The Guatemalan Human Rights Commission:

The Commission for Historical Clarification

The Guatemalan Truth Commission report

Discovering Dominga: Guatemala and the Maya

Center for Human Rights Legal Action site about General Fernando Romeo Lucas García

Conciliation Resources (CR): Violent Truths: The Politics of Memory in Guatemala

Produced by GraciasVida Media Center, the independent journalism resource for Latin America.

For more information, contact:
Producer Maria Martin email:
or telephone: 415.670.9717

Funded by
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
and the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

© Maria Martin

Photo at top left © Donna DeCesare