Latin America

Alexander M. Lawton wins Harvard Student Essay Competition

Congratulations to undergraduate student Alexander M. Lawton, UConn winner in the 2015 Harvard FXB Health and Human Rights Consortium Student Essay Competition for his paper, “The Right to Health in Indigenous Guatemala: Prevailing Historical Structures in the Context of Health Care,” written for Anthropology Prof. César Abadía-Barrero’s course “The Right to Health in Latin America.”

Guatemala

The Right to Health in Indigenous Guatemala: Prevailing Historical Structures in the Context of Health Care

Many Latin American countries have been plagued by a history of conflict between repressive regimes and powerless civilians subjected to state violence. Guatemala’s history closely follows this trend, given the bloody armed conflict that occurred in the second half of the 20th Century. The country’s indigenous communities (composed primarily of Mayan descendants and making up close to half of the country’s population of 15 million) were particularly vulnerable to the State-sponsored violence.1 Some studies show that, of the 200,000 killed or disappeared, 83% were indigenous.2 Lasting effects of the civil war and a failure of the government to institute necessary reforms have created a dire health situation for Guatemala’s indigenous people…..