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New community radio in Guatemala

Tuesday 29 March 2016, by SIGNIS

Huitan, March, 29th, 2016 (Cultural Survival). A new community radio was born in the Maya Mam territory of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala: Radio Huitan 89.1FM.

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Pedro Lucas, Mayor of Huitan, his council and other members of the community

This Indigenous community radio station focuses on community development through a local perspective. Huitan is a municipality with approximately 14,000 inhabitants, 96% of which are Maya, and speak the Mam language.

The Cultural Survival website, partner of this new radio, notes that “the history of this community radio began in 2010 when consultation processes began regarding mining activity that was proposed to begin in the region. These consultation processes inspired some local leaders to develop a radio so that they could inform families in the community of what was happening regarding mining concessions, what the benefits and dangers would be to the population, and most importantly what their rights were regarding their land,”.

On February 26, 2016, the radio was inaugurated. During the ceremony, the Mayor, Pedro Lucas, congratulated the radio and expressed his support to the members of the Board of Directors. The representative from the Commission of Education emphasized the educational role of the radio, as it will be promoting the use of the Mam language, the culture and it will provide a space for bringing consciousness to the community on the importance of education for their children. Finally, the radio will provide a space for children to develop and produce their own programming, with the help of community leaders.

Rubelio Mendez, vice president of the Board of Directors, spoke on the programme of the new radio, “The radio will attempt to promote the political activity of our communities; it will promote a strong stance on the rescue of the Maya identity, the economic self-sustainability of the collective, and a strong focus on education and a culture of peace.”

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