Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro said on Friday he had decided to offer asylum to former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who has petitioned several countries to avoid capture by Washington.
“In the name of America’s dignity … I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to Edward Snowden,” Maduro told a televised military parade marking Venezuela‘s independence day.
WikiLeaks said on Friday that Snowden had applied to six more nations for asylum, bringing to about 20 the number of countries he has asked for protection from US espionage charges.
Maduro said Venezuela was ready to offer him sanctuary, and that the details Snowden had revealed of a US spy program had exposed the nefarious schemes of the US “empire”.
“He has told the truth, in the spirit of rebellion, about the US spying on the whole world,” Maduro said.
“Who is the guilty one? A young man … who denounces war plans, or the US government which launches bombs and arms the terrorist Syrian opposition against the people and legitimate president Bashar al-Assad?”
“Who is the terrorist? Who is the global delinquent?”
Russia has shown signs of growing impatience over Snowden’s stay in Moscow. Its deputy foreign minister said on Thursday that Snowden had not sought asylum in that country and needed to choose a place to go.
Moscow has made clear that the longer he stays, the greater the risk of the diplomatic standoff over his fate causing lasting damage to relations with Washington.
Earlier on Friday, Nicaragua said it had received an asylum request from Snowden and could accept the bid “if circumstances permit”, president Daniel Ortega said.
“We are an open country, respectful of the right of asylum, and it’s clear that if circumstances permit, we would gladly receive Snowden and give him asylum in Nicaragua,” Ortega said during a speech in the Nicaraguan capital, Managua.
Ortega, an ally of Venezuelan president Maduro, did not elaborate on the conditions that would allow him to offer asylum to Snowden, who has been at the eye of a diplomatic storm since leaking high-level US intelligence data last month.
Options have been narrowing for Snowden as he seeks a country to shelter him from US espionage charges.
A one-time cold war adversary of the United States, Ortega belongs to a bloc of leftist leaders in Latin America that have frequently taken up antagonistic positions with Washington.
Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in the Americas, has benefited greatly from financial support from Venezuela, and Ortega was a staunch ally of late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez.
Last January, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that he and Venezuelan parliament president Diosdado Cabello were both the target of an assassination plan – without unveiling the conspirators’ identity.
In March, he said the Pentagon and the CIA were hatching a plan to murder opposition leader Henrique Capriles and frame him for it. In April, he said U.S Ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich and Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega were conspiring with Salvadoran hit men to assassinate him.
This month, former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was added to the conspiracy theory list. He also said that the spirit of dead President Hugo Chavez had visited him in the form of a little bird. If we add all those stories together, we might suspect that Nicolas Maduro is suffering from paranoia and has lost his sense of reality.
At first glance, Maduro’s ill-tempered reaction to a statement by Peruvian Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo asking Unasur, the Union of South American Nations to call for “tolerance and dialogue” in Venezuela only reinforces this impression. Maduro called the Venezuelan ambassador in Lima for some tough talks and ended up settling the matter with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala himself.
“You may be Peru’s foreign minister, Roncagliolo, I know you well, but you cannot give your opinion on Venezuela,” Maduro said in a televised speech. “I hope that is not the position of President Ollanta Humala.”
Roncaglioli has since resigned “for health reasons.”
Peru currently holds the chair of Unasur. After Maduro was elected president in April, Unasur indeed made a Roncagliolo-inspired statement calling for dialogue and the “preservation of a climate of tolerance for the good of the entire Venezuelan people.”
I would suggest however that there is a clear political calculation behind all of Maduro’s actions. Even if the strain of the mess he is in causes him to make mistakes, Maduro is essentially a rational political actor.
Let’s take for example his visceral and disproportionate reaction to Roncagliolo’s statement. Like Fidel Castro and Chavez showed, there is nothing less novel during difficult times than to invoke the specter of foreign conspiracies and threats in an effort to try and unite the home front.
This is particular necessary as Maduro’s leadership is being pilloried, even from within his own political movement. In great part, the reason for this is because the double-digit polling lead Maduro enjoyed during the campaign transformed into a 1.5% margin victory against Capriles.
However, the response to the Roncagliolo statement serves a different purpose on the external front. It is there to prevent other countries from agreeing with the Peruvian foreign minister, and avoid the risk of Unasur interfering in the Venezuelan crisis.
In this context, Maduro’s recent tour of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay serves the same purpose. Maduro’s trip coincided with another statement by a Unasur minister. Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro recently said there was no need for another Unasur meeting to discuss the political situation in Venezuela. The meeting had been called… by Peru. “The situation has developed positively, political tensions have eased and social tensions have practically disappeared,” said Almagro.
Neutralizing the neighbors
Maduro’s behavior is aimed at making sure there is no regional intervention in the Venezuelan situation. Every time it seems there could be some meddling from South American neighbors, the Venezuelan government makes a minor concession to neutralize its neighbors’ intrusion.
For instance, after the elections, the partial vote recount that opposition leader Capriles has asked for and threatened to appeal to Unasur if he didn’t get – and that Supreme Court had initially said was “impossible” – was finally approved by the Venezuelan National Election Board (CNE) just hours before the Unasur summit.
Thus, the recount did not look as though it was the product of international pressure, but a governmental initiative instead. As a result, the summit limited itself to declare it took “positive note on the CNE’s decision.”
Similarly, Maduro’s reaction to the Rancogliolo statement led to a “gentlemen’s agreement” to restore legislative work in the Venezuelan parliament. Since the election, the pro-government majority within the parliament had been barring the opposition from participating in parliament and refusing to pay the opposition MP’s salaries.
This is the carrot-and-stick method. The greater the threats or the bigger the stick the Venezuelan government brandishes, the smaller the carrot or peace offering has to be.
A final element that has to be taken into account is the foreign aid Venezuela provides to its allies – there is no shortage of examples. After the Uruguayan foreign minister’s positive statement, some were quick to point out that 40% of the oil Uruguay consumes is imported from Venezuela under very preferential terms.
In itself this is proof enough of the influence that Venezuela has on Uruguay. On the other hand, the same thing could be said about foreign aid doled out by the U.S. government. A 2006 USAID document states: The 1950 Point Four Program focused on two goals: Creating markets for the United States by reducing poverty and increasing production in developing countries; diminishing the threat of communism by helping countries prosper under capitalism.
Clearly, Venezuela is not the only country with a political agenda when granting aid. That being said, the purpose of that help does not usually tend to be something as crass as the buying of consciences. We should remember that until recently, USAID operated in Bolivia, headed by proudly socialist President Evo Morales.
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Photo by – Nicolas Maduro Facebook page
Obama, who has betrayed democracy in America, unleashing execution on American citizens without due process of law and war without the consent of Congress, provoked Maduro’s response by suggesting that Maduro’s newly elected government might be fraudulent. Obviously, Obama is piqued that the millions of dollars his administration spent trying to elect an American puppet instead of Maduro failed to do the job.
If anyone has accurately summed up Washington, it is the Venezuelans.
Who can forget Chevez standing at the podium of the UN General Assembly in New York City speaking of George W. Bush? Quoting from memory: “Right here, yesterday, at this very podium stood Satan himself, speaking as if he owned the world. You can still smell the sulphur.”
Hegemonic Washington threw countless amounts of money into the last Venezuelan election, doing its best to deliver the governance of that country to a Washington puppet called Henrique Capriles, in my opinion a traitor to Venezuela. Why isn’t this American puppet arrested for treason? Why are not the Washington operatives against an independent country — the US ambassador, the counsels, the USAID/CIA personnel, the Washington funded NGOs — ordered to leave Venezuela immediately or arrested and tried for spying and high treason? Why allow any presence of Washington in Venezuela when it is clear that Washington’s intention is to make Venezuela a puppet state like the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Japan, and on and on.
There was a time, such as in the Allende-Pinochet era, when the American left-wing and a no longer extant liberal media would have been all over Washington for its illegal interference in the internal affairs of an independent country. But no more. As CounterPunch‘s Jeffrey St. Clair has recently made clear, the American left-wing remains “insensate to the moral and constitutional transgressions being committed by their champion” — the first black, or half-black, US president — leaving “Rand Paul to offer official denunciations concerning [Washington’s] malignant operations” against independent countries.
Against the Obama regime‘s acts of international and domestic violence, “the professional Left — from the progressive caucus to the robotic minions of Moveon.org — lodge no objections and launch no protests.” St. Clair has written a powerful article. Read it for yourself here.
I think the American left-wing lost its confidence when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Chinese communists and Indian socialists turned capitalist. Everyone misread the situation, especially the “end of history” idiots. The consequence is a world without strong protests of Washington’s and its puppet states’ war criminal military aggressions, murder, destruction of civil liberty and human rights, and transparent propaganda: “Last night Polish forces crossed the frontier and attacked Germany,” or so declared Adolf Hitler. Washington’s charges of “weapons of mass destruction” are even more transparent lies.
But hardly any care. The Western governments and Japan are all paid off and bought, and those that are not bought are begging to be bought because they want the money too. Truth, integrity, these are dead-letter words. No one any longer knows what they mean.
The moronic George W. Bush said, in Orwellian double-speak, they hate us for our freedom and democracy. They don’t hate us because we bomb them, invade them, kill them, destroy their way of life, culture, and infrastructure. They hate us because we are so good. How stupid does a person have to be to believe this BS?
Washington and Israel present the world with unmistakable evil. I don’t need to stand at the UN podium after Bush or Obama. I can smell Washington’s evil as far away as Florida. Jeffrey St. Clair can smell it in Oregon. Nicolas Maduro can smell it in Venezuela. Evo Morales can smell it in Bolivia from where he cast out CIA-infiltrated USAID. Putin can smell it in Russia, although he still permits the treasonous “Russian opposition” funded by US money to operate against Russia’s government. The Iranians can smell it in the Persian Gulf. The Chinese can smell it as far away as Beijing.
Homeland Security, a gestapo institution, has “crisis actors” to help it deceive the public in its false flag operations.
The Obama regime has drones with which to silence American citizens without due process of law.
Homeland Security has more than a billion rounds of ammunition, tanks, a para-military force. Detention camps have been built.
Are Americans so completely stupid that they believe this is all for “terrorists” whose sparse numbers require the FBI to manufacture “terrorists” in so-called “sting operations” in order to justify the FBI’s $3 billion special fund from Congress to combat domestic terrorism?
Congress has taxpayers paying the FBI to frame up innocents and send them to prison.
This is the kind of country American has become. This is the kind of “security” agencies it has, filling their pockets by destroying the lives of the innocent and downtrodden.
“In God we trust,” reads the coinage. It should read: “In Satan we follow
Millions of Venezuelans, Cubans and people around the world have paid homage to Latin American revolutionary Hugo Chávez Frias in recent days. Some 33 heads of state and representatives of 50 governments attended Chávez’s funeral.
In the first hours that he lay in state, 2 million grief-stricken Venezuelans bid their beloved Comandante farewell, in a line that stretched as long as five miles. From Mexico City to New York City, countless vigils are being organized by supporters, inspired by Chávez’s revolutionary spirit and life.
But President Barack Obama—in a 60-word statement with not one word of condolence—just promised more “policies that promote democratic principles” in Venezuela.
Obama’s cynical attitude sums up Washington’s role ever since Hugo Chávez became president. The U.S. government has spent billions of dollars to back the Venezuelan right-wing elite in one plot after another to try to overthrow him and the Bolivarian Revolution.
Hugo Chávez’s tragic and untimely death may have whetted the U.S. government’s appetite, but the imperialists are deeply mistaken if they think they can turn back history.
The massive outpouring in Venezuela is not just an expression of deep sentiment for a fallen leader. The cries of “We are Chávez!” and “Chávez Vive!” are a resounding commitment by the people, the masses who brought him back from the grip of a U.S.-sponsored military coup in 2002.
Today, they are more determined than ever to defend the Bolivarian Revolution.
Preparing for the future
When Chávez announced on December 8, 2012, that he had to return to Cuba immediately for another cancer surgery, he was very likely aware that his condition was terminal and little time remained.
He conducted himself to the end of his days in the heroic manner that characterized his life.
In what would be his last public pronouncement to the Venezuelan people, Chávez said: “If something were to happen, I repeat, if I were to become incapacitated in any way, not only should Nicolás Maduro conclude the [current] term, as the Constitution dictates, but, in my firm opinion, as full as the moon, irrevocable, absolute, total—if in that scenario new presidential elections are convened, as mandated by the Constitution—you should vote for Nicolás Maduro as president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. I ask that of you from my heart.”
He was never able to speak to his people again.
Those fateful words are extremely important, because now the election for a new president must be held within 30 days of Chávez’s death.
On March 9, the National Elections Commission set April 14 as the date to elect a new president of Venezuela. The date was extended to give time for nominations, preparation of voting machines, and a 10-day campaign period and to accommodate a Sunday date.
In the meantime, Maduro has been sworn in as interim president, and is the designated candidate for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Presumably, the right-wing opposition candidate will be Henrique Capriles, who lost to Chávez last Oct. 7.
Chávez’s enormous authority enabled him to convey to the 7 million members of the PSUV what is today a matter of pressing urgency, to unite behind a revolutionary candidate who can once again defeat the opposition.
Chávez recognized that his word would carry enormous weight among the masses, to weather the onslaught of right-wing propaganda and assault sure to come after his death.
Hugo Chávez had an abiding confidence in the people because he understood them. He came from them, from the most humble roots of Venezuelan society.
Hugo Chávez’s youth
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was born July 28, 1954, in the small, remote village of Sabaneta, Barinas state in western Venezuela, the second of six children. Hugo and his older brother Adán—today governor of Barinas—were raised by their grandmother Rosa Inés, while the parents Elena and Hugo, schoolteachers with a meager income, lived close by with the youngest four. This was a common tradition among extended families.
Some of the stories of Chávez’s youth come from his neighbors and relatives, in the book “Our Chávez” by Cuban authors Rosa Miriam Elizalde and Luis Baez.
The village of Sabaneta had no electricity during their childhood, and the family struggled to get by. In one moving account, little Hugo was turned away from his first day at school because his grandmother couldn’t afford to buy him a pair of shoes.
But he learned resourcefulness from his elders, selling candies at school that his grandmother made, to bring home some coins.
Chávez’s young life imbued in him an enormous spirit of solidarity and generosity with the people, especially the most oppressed. As president, one of Chávez’s very first acts was to provide free school lunches for hundreds of thousands of poor children. School attendance shot up dramatically.
Years later, in July 2001, when this reporter joined thousands of people as they marched with Chávez down the streets of Caracas, he patiently took the time to receive embraces and handwritten notes from the people, to hear their encouragement or petitions for help. He made sure their needs were addressed.
Yet Chávez did not see himself as an individual whose good works alone would be enough to resolve Venezuela’s problems.
He began to adopt a concept of revolutionary societal change while in Venezuela’s Military Academy, which he entered at the age of 17 in 1971.
In the academy and army, Chávez’s radicalization was fueled by various factors, his brother Adán’s socialist influence, his own growing rebellion against military corruption and abuse, and the broader scenario of Latin American struggle.
In “Our Chávez,” he explains his political maturation: “The Hugo Chavez who started at the Academy was a boy from the countryside, a plainsman with aspirations to be a professional baseball player; four years later, a second lieutenant emerged who had set out along the revolutionary path. …
“At that stage, I began to read Fidel, Che, Mao, Plekhanov, Zamora … and books like The Bigwigs by Américo Martín; ‘The role of the individual in history’; ‘What is to be done’. And of course, I had already begun a thorough study of Bolívar.”
In 1982, Chávez formed a secret organization, the MBR 200 (Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement), of like-minded officers inside the military willing to take on the government. He would be their commander in the historic attack on the government in 1992.
Meanwhile, Carlos Andrés Pérez became president—his second term—in 1989. He immediately accepted the economic dictates of the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a multi-billion-dollar loan. The neo-liberal agreement suddenly doubled gasoline prices and hiked the price of other goods. It caused a massive spontaneous rebellion by the people in the streets of Caracas.
The uprising of Feb. 27, 1989, and government massacre that followed is known as the “Caracazo.” It is estimated that up to 3,000 people were murdered by security forces.
This brutal repression convinced Chávez and his colleagues of the need to deepen their preparations.
In the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 4, 1992, Chávez and his movement carried out their military action to attempt a takeover of Miraflores presidential palace, but they were attacked as soon as they approached. Traitors inside the movement had revealed their plans.
Historic words: “For Now”
By the end of the day, Pérez’s military defeated Chávez’s forces and was about to carry out an assault on troops loyal to him in two other regions. To avoid further losses of his men, Chávez appeared on television to tell his troops to stop the fighting.
In his TV appeal, the rebel lieutenant colonel said, “Comrades, unfortunately, for now, the goals we set for ourselves have not been reached in the capital. … we here in Caracas were not able to take power. … I assume responsibility for this Bolivarian military movement.”
Those two words, “for now,” electrified the vast majority of the population. Never before had a soldier taken on the corrupt government to vindicate the people, and he had promised to return.
In prison, Chávez became such a hero in the eyes of the oppressed, that during the presidential elections, wherever the bourgeois candidates spoke, people at the political rallies would chant for his freedom. The next president, Rafael Caldera Rodríguez, pardoned Chávez and his colleagues in March 1994.
At first reluctant to participate as a candidate in Venezuelan elections, because of his distrust of capitalist elections, Chávez was urged on by many people. He finally decided to run for president in the 1998 elections.
With no funds and only broken-down vehicles for transport, he traversed the country to denounce the traditional capitalist parties of Democratic Action and COPEI as those responsible for the country’s crisis. Huge crowds mobbed him every step of the way.
Chávez won in December 1998 with 56.2 percent of the vote under the banner of his Fifth Republic Movement. He assumed office in February 1999.
The words he spoke in his oath were unlike those of any previous president. “I swear that with this moribund constitution, I will carry out and push for the necessary democratic transformations so that the new republic will acquire a new Magna Carta fitting for the new times.”
In a process that has been repeated in Ecuador and Bolivia, the new Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela was adopted in 1999. It was the 26th constitution in Venezuela’s history, but the first that was ever approved by popular referendum, with 71.78 percent of the vote.
Free health care, free education, a ban on privatizing the country’s national resources, recognition of Indigenous and other minorities to their own culture and language, and a democratization of the political process are a few of the provisions.
Chávez was swept into office with a massive outpouring of support of the most oppressed, and he responded with all his energies and power at hand to initiate immediate and urgent programs to address the poorest sectors of the population, as well as working to empower the people at the base to defend the gains.
But it was after the right-wing’s fascist coup of April 2002—when people mobilized by the tens of thousands to demand his return and the military forces loyal to Chávez rescued him from the fascists—that the acceleration of the revolutionary process became possible.
Hugo Chávez’s legacy
Before Hugo Chávez, Venezuela was a classic model of capitalist underdevelopment: obscene opulence for the Venezuelan elite and foreign capitalists, and poverty and hopelessness for the majority. Under Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolutionary process, a whole panorama of revolutionary social programs lifted millions of Venezuelans up out of despair.
His courage and vision transformed his people into a combative force that has learned to defend what it has gained, the right to housing, health care, literacy, education, culture and most of all, independence and dignity.
Before Hugo Chávez, Latin America was fractured and under the heel of neo-liberal policies that benefited only the banks and big business. In the 1990s, Cuba was virtually alone in the Western Hemisphere, struggling mightily to defend socialism after the demise of the Soviet Union.
Chávez embraced the Cuban Revolution as his own and proudly defied U.S. imperialism, by forming together with Cuba the historic alliance of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas—ALBA. After decades of the sacking of Latin America and the Caribbean, an unprecedented process of anti-imperialist unity and transformation has begun in the continent.
One of Hugo Chávez’s greatest legacies was his fight for a socialist Venezuela, to expand and make permanent the gains that have been fought for so far.
From the viewpoint of Marxism, history and especially revolutionary change are made by great social forces and through the agency of class struggle. Marxism rejects the method of bourgeois historiography that places the role of “great men” as the central factor in the major events and developments that shape an entire historical era.
But Marxism also recognizes that particular individuals have played an indispensable part in molding together the social and political forces that created entirely new historical forces. The Russian Revolution for instance changed the character of the class struggle everywhere for the 20th century. Lenin played a unique and indispensable role during the revolutionary process, and without him it is unlikely that the Bolsheviks could have seized and retained state power.
Fidel’s leadership was another such example. His initiation and leadership of the Cuban Revolution was indispensable to its victory.
Lenin and Fidel did not simply ride a wave of revolution; they actually helped mold the forces that led to a re-shaping of history
So too with Hugo Chávez. The unique role he played in the last 15 years also molded together the forces of Latin American integration and unity on an anti-imperialist and socialist basis and changed the dynamics of the class struggle not only in Venezuela but throughout the continent. Chavez, like Lenin or Fidel was not a “superman,” but his role in the creation of ALBA and the larger unfolding process in Latin America was unique and indispensable during the past decade.
Today, the people and the struggle have been dealt a major blow with the loss of this great leader. But the social and political revolutionary movement that he catalyzed will offer up other leaders dedicated to pursuing the movement until final victory.
Upon his death, comrade Chavez has entered history not only as revolutionary life well led but as a source of confidence for all those who have been shaped by the movement he inspired—the millions who are oppressed and have been the object of extreme exploitation but have entered the political process now as actors demanding to be the shapers of their own historical destiny.
Hugo Chávez Frias Presente!
Rigoberta Menchú. (Photo/ skylightpictures)
Menchú, and other 20 “wise men” are gathered in Caracas since Thursday, to work on helping Chavez’s health improve by performing Mayan healing ceremonies.
“I am absolutely positive President Hugo Chavez received cosmic energy because our medicine comes from the deepest places of Mother Earth,” Menchú said during an official event, reported AFP.
According to the news agency, the 1992 Peace Nobel Prize met with Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro and other members of the cabinet.
Menchú said she thought that Hugo Chavez’s energy is “extraordinarily strong” and this will lead him to overcome small and large obstacles in his way.
Alluding to the cancer he is being treated for, Menchú said Chavez just needs to regenerate his body tissue in order to regain his health, reported AFP.
“This is not something folkloric. We focus our energies from the wisdom of our Mayan ancestors,” Menchú said, before asking everyone to get rid of all pessimistic thoughts surrounding the health of Hugo Chavez, reported AFP news agency.
Mayan healing ceremonies are full of sophisticated rituals dedicated to Mother Earth, Dr. Amir Farid Isahak told The Star Online.
“Their traditional medicine is similarly wholly dependent on the healing powers provided by the earth – its soil, water, plants and creatures. Most of their remedies come from the jungle,” he said.
“Mayan traditional medicine is actually very sophisticated. Mayan traditional healers try to harmonise their lives and their patients’ lives with Mother Earth. Mayan traditional healing is holistic healing, with full awareness that the body, mind, emotions, spirit and environment are all interconnected. Their healers know that healing occurs only when there is balance and harmony in the patient’s life. They also heal with love from their hearts.”
Updates on Hugo Chavez’s health
According to the Associated Press, Hugo Chavez is currently being treated at the Dr. Carlos Arvelo Military Hospital in Caracas.
“The breathing insufficiency that emerged post-operation persists, and the tendency has not been favorable so it is still being treated,” said Information Minister Ernesto Villegas on Thursday during a televised statement. Chavez is reported to be breathing through a tracheal cannula and unable to talk.
Menchú said, ”[Chavez’s] words, health, dreams, wishes will go on through all frontiers – regardless if he’s able to talk or not.”
The information on Chavez’s health status is the first one to be released to the public since the President returned to Venezuela, after a long stay in Cuba, where he was being reportedly treated for an unspecified type of cancer.
Hugo Chavez, who was recently re-elected for six more years and has been in office for 14, has not spoken publicly since December 11, and according to Venezuelan officials, besides receiving care for the respiratory infection, he is also undergoing treatment for his cancer. The type of treatment is said to be “complex” but has not been specified.
Rigoberta Menchú Tum (born 9 January 1959) is an indigenous Guatemalan woman, of the K’iche’ ethnic group. Menchú has dedicated her life to publicizing the plight of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples during and after the Guatemalan Civil War (1960–1996), and to promoting indigenous rights in the country. She received the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize and Prince of Asturias Award in 1998. She is the subject of the testimonial biography I, Rigoberta Menchú (1983) and the author of the autobiographical work, Crossing Borders.
Menchú is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She has also become a figure in indigenous political parties and ran for President of Guatemala in 2007 and 2011.