Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rigoberta Menchú Founds Own Political Party

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, indigenous activist Rigoberta Menchú, began the process today of creating her own political party "Winaq" for the general election in 2011.

Menchú, whose ethnicity is Quiche, signed the papers at the Department of Political Organizations of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) which legalized Winaq as a committee for the creation of the political party.

The indigenous leader explained that after this step the TSE must authorize the necessary documents to create the party that her followers have "wanted and dreamed of".

"Today we are legally recognized and will seek the participation of citizens throughout the national territory," she added.

Menchu said they want to build a party that responds to the people and the indigenous peoples "because politicians often create an organization in the capital, deal only with petty issues, and only remember the community when there are elections."

"We are going to be the difference," said the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who participated in 2007 for the first time as a presidential candidate, unsuccessfully, with the party "Encounter for Guatemala, which is headed by the leftist congresswoman Ninth Montenegro.

According to the ethnic leader, traditional parties are "in crisis" because "they only remember our people when there are elections, but have not secured the dignity of indigenous peoples." She went on to say, "the goal is to make a party where they see and feel real ethnic equity and civil rights in Guatemala, where many people have no awareness of those rights and so live as slaves We have an obligation to raise these hopes that were established in the Peace Accords signed in 1996."

Menchú clarified that for now is not the time to discuss whether to participate as a presidential candidate in general elections in 2011. "None of those in the executive committee (24 members) is a candidate until it is decided at the general assembly," she said.

"The most important thing now is that we are authorized to initiate and seek membership in the 22 departments that make up the country, she concluded.

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