Praise Guatemalan Community Radio Station for Persevering Through Unjust Government Raid

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Target: Alberto Recinos of Doble Via Radio Station

Goal: Praise community radio station owner for persevering through unjust raids and setting a good example for the community

During the 1996 Peace Accords in Guatemala, the indigenous people were granted the right to their own media by the United Nations. The promise of a voice, however, was sadly broken when the Guatemalan government ordained a telecommunications law that forbid any community-run radio stations. Only commercial stations that consider profit over people, such as MEGA, are permitted to operate. Despite the government’s silencing hands and intrusive raids, the community radio station of San Mateo, Quetzaltenango has persevered and continues to set a positive example for their youth.

Doble Via was established by Alberto Recinos ten years ago and is regarded as “the voice of youth and childhood.” Over time, it continues to benefit the community and has gained the support of the mayor, local leadership councils, the health center, women’s groups, Catholic and Evangelical churches, the Association Mujb’ab’l Yol, and over ten thousand community members.

The radio station is operated by forty local youth who address important matters and the construction of peace. According to Cultural Survival, an organization that partners with indigenous people to defend land, language, and culture, Doble Via “promotes dialogue, tolerance, local sports” and covers topics such as, “the environment, historical memory, Mayan cosmovision, citizenship, community leadership, community organizing, preventative health, HIV, drug and alcohol addiction, self-esteem childhood and adolescence, and gender equality.”

On October 11 2012, six members of the National Police Force and four agents of the Public Prosecutors Office invaded the station. They forced their way in and attempted to confiscate equipment. Luckily, before they were able to steal too much, the community gathered outside to defend their beloved station, its belongings, and its staff. The raiders fled in response to the crowd and were able to take about $1,400 worth of equipment.

Recinos and Radio Comunitaria Doble Via stood their ground in an unjust and invasive situation. They continue to fight for their right to have a voice and uplift the their people and culture everyday. Please sign the petition to show your support of a station that has prevailed through gritty circumstances with positivism and hope.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Alberto Recinos,

I would like to praise you for your wonderful community influence over the past ten years in San Mateo Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. You and your radio station, Doble Via, have been an outlet for youth and indigenous people to not only stay informed, but to also have a voice amid a stifling government. Prevailing through pressures to shut down and this invasive raid, you continue to set a beautiful example and preserve the meaning of culture.

I express my deepest apologies on behalf of many for the $1,400 worth of equipment that was wrongly stolen from you. I hope that with the support of your mayor, your community, and others who become aware of the situation through petitions such as this one, that you are reimbursed for everything and then some.

You give hope to many with your uplifting programs. I wish you the best in your endeavors and hope that the bill to legalize Community Radio in Guatemala is passed so you will no longer have to fight to be a positive voice for your people.

Sincere thanks,

[Your Name Here]

photo credit: culturalsurvival.org

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