Interview with Lolita Chávez: the coronavirus crisis from the K’iche’ Mayan perspective

(Euskal Herria, 2018-4-15) Interview, transcription and translation by A Planeta.

 

Interview with Lolita Chávez, a reference in the struggle for women’s rights and a K’iche’ Mayan leader in Guatemala, and an activist in defense of Mother Earth. She has suffered assassination attempts and has received death threats in her country, so she lives as a refugee in the Basque Country.
We talked with her about this crisis that has arisen around Covid19 and also about its effects on her Mayan community, and in which she has so much to say as a traditional healer.

A Planeta: As we said before, welcome to this new session of A Planet. With us today is Lolita Chávez, a K’iche’ Mayan activist from Guatemala, who needs no introduction because of her great trajectory defending human rights and, above all, the rights of women and of the ancestral peoples, indigenous people of Abya Yala, what we usually call Latin America. Hello Lolita, how are you?

Lolita: Kaixo! Saqarik konojel, qin ya Jun riutzil uwach. Maltiox Chawe kita nu tzij (Good morning to you, I give you a good greeting to your being. Thank you for listening to my word).
Thank you also to those who listen to us and to those who can be linked to this liberation of our voice.

A Planeta: Greetings, a pleasure to be able to share these moments with you – as we were saying, these are difficult moments, we are continuing in this crisis of the coronavirus, each one contained in our home, but I suppose that for you it will be more difficult because you are also outside your town, your community, your family.

Lolita: Well, what can I tell you? It has been a very difficult situation, a situation that I never imagined for me, because I live right in movement. For me, I am very much linked to the territorial struggles in Abya Yala, but also to the territorial struggles that are taking place in the Spanish state, but also in Europe, and to live this, with all sincerity, I tell you that it has been and is a terrible experience.

Look, my emotions are very strong. I want to be in my territory, I was not born to be outside my territory, and because I am also a territorial activist, and for justice, it is important that I return. I dream of being in my house and now that I heard all this coming and saying “stay at home”, that expression so strong that I think that in this coloniality, in this racist expression and this expression of exclusion, not very well said. I am with this consciousness, because the messages also touch, and the messages hurt, and when I heard “stay at home” for me it was like a blow to my being. Because I said to myself “in which house? And where do I stay, if what I really want is to return to my house and return to my territory and I can’t”.

And then I was moved quite a bit, not only because I had to be trough it here in a state where individualism and arrogance are imposing themselves more and more. Ambition, which is transforming humanity, a very materialistic ambition to the detriment of all life. But I also went there. I went to Guatemala with that analysis. We are defenders and we analyze life a lot, the historical contexts, and I’m honest, I was very scared, very afraid, to think how the state of Guatemala was going to take it, how it was going to act against my people, because it has always been like that. It has been a perverse situation, but it is so out of hand. Then I began to locate myself, and it was difficult because when my people, and I have a life linked to the Cosmo-being, we relate to these unknown expressions, then why does it happen, why this disease, who generated it, why it was generated, what consequences it brings for humanity, our analysis is very complex. Our Cosmo-being and our consciousness, the West doesn’t have this relationship with the web of life, so maybe they don’t understand me. But it is quite complex to the extent that we come to analyse it, from the micro to the macro. So that’s how I’m living it.

A Planeta: Of course. I understand it, and well, we are going to talk a little bit about how it is understood from the ancestral cosmovision of the people of Abya Yala, but also to tell you that that is what this conversation is for: not only to know about you and everything that you can bring to us on this subject but also for that, so that we can stay connected as the people that we are and which it’s impossible for us right now. Because that connection that I know that you have with the sisters there, in Guatemala, in K’iche’, but also in other places. You commented that the government in many cases uses these situations and crisis to continue its policies and impose new ones. In the previous conversation we had with the leader of the Embera people in Colombia, he also told us this. What is the situation also now in the communities in Guatemala? Has this crisis of COVID19 been used to continue developing policies or implementing new ones?

Lolita: Yes, look, when I heard about this situation, I immediately went back to it, and it is necessary to know the history of my people in order to be able to denounce it from here.
And to be able to see the situation also from the expression over there. So it is also interesting to make that link, to know what is happening here in Europe and what is happening over there in Abya Yala, and mainly in Guatemala. So I began to see – I generally do not get the information from the mass media, because what they offer there is more of the oligarchy – but analyzing this I said to myself that we are also going to have to link up to see what is happening in Guatemala. Effectively what I was aware of, that fear, is happening. From the first moment that it was known in Guatemala about the existence of this pandemic, the elite system began to be activated in relation to the pandemic being an expression of opportunity to also keep the profits. That is the harsh reality of my country. Immediately, several expressions were agreed upon, directed mainly by the president, who is a sold out president, who has not been the first nor the only one, most of the presidents of Guatemala have been treacherous. This one is called Giammattei, but that was Pérez Molina, Alvaro Colom, I can give you a long list…

A Planeta: Yes, we’ve heard those names…

Lolita: Within the expressions, I could give myself the expression of where I was going to go. At the beginning (the president) began to take advantage of wanting to free his murdering businessmen and his businessmen who have trials within the justice system, which does not work because it is also a system with expressions of influence trafficking, from where what prevails are the interests of the transnationals and the oligarchy. So one of the first expressions he made was that he began to demand the justice system to take away the cases that the peoples, the communities, the defenders, the organizations started. We have cases against the companies for human rights violations, then cases were eliminated.

Another expression was also the proposal to make hyper-million dollar loans with the banks, national and international, to inject money into the big companies and leave the people in debt. Loans were made, I tell you, for more than 3.5 billion dollars.

It is worth mentioning here that the country of Guatemala is still, the country’s statistics qualify it as a low risk rating. This means that the bank interest rate is increasing and this was not discussed, it was not informed to the people. He went and used his congressional control mechanisms, a congress where there are some corrupt deputies, deputies also who kneel before the oligarchy for that approval. And in fact, multi-million dollar loans were approved linked to the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) and the BCIE (Central American Bank for Economic Integration) and the World Bank and another. So, that was another expression.

Another expression was the curfew. And this curfew, look, for me it was an expression of a very strong blow to my people, because my people have also suffered from attacks. And my K’iche’ people have been very persecuted by the military and the paramilitary, the Kaibiles, and this for us is also an expression of a perverse attack against the revolutionary movement in K’iche’. These were also expressions that occurred, racism against the people increased, people were fired in many companies in an unjustified way, taking advantage of this pandemic situation there was a lot of expression of dismissal. And the health system also fell into a tragic crisis because that was already there, and the worst thing was that this oppression of a coup d’état or curfew was only for the people so the big mining, hydroelectric, monoculture, and oil companies continued to operate and plunder
the territories.

A Planeta: So, we see that it’s a little bit like what’s happening here, but in the context of Guatemala, of a people in debt and who have been so repressed, that they are still much more repressed, as we had imagined. Tell us, because recently you have participated in a virtual meeting with ancestral healers also from Abya Yala, from the continent. We find it a very interesting initiative. What have you talked about this crisis? What are the proposals, initiatives?

Lolita: It was really enriching for me too, or even an inspiration of love.

To Planeta: I really liked the expression of love. It is very necessary.

Lolita: Yes! Because look, in so many situations of chaos, of expressions of hatred, of stigmatization of sick people, to be called upon, was an expression of the Mesoamerican initiative of women defenders where we are also in a network several defenders of Mesoamerica. Pikara also joined with other organizations and joined expressions of art, healing and advocacy. It was a gathering of witches then. And this was very nice, because in the midst of so much chaos, in the midst of so much uncertainty, to be called to an expression of being light and of analysis, but with the deepest that we can claim our expressions, was nice.

We gathered more than 300 defenders and healers, almost reaching 400. The nice thing was that we invited not only defenders of Abya Yala and healers of Abya Yala, but also from the Spanish state and more, I think there were some from Europe. And I think there were some from Africa, because that medium also allowed it.

And what happened? What happened is that we made a rather critical analysis, because we are very critical. You have listened to me, I am quite critical of the impositions of neoliberalism, against capitalism, against racism. Against invasions and transnational corporations. But we also made proposals, proposals for paths, and that in the web of life is very important, because if we are as the grandmothers would say in time not time, because that is what my ancestors would call this path, or the long night, which was also the name of the pandemics in my Mayan territory. Because this is not the first pandemic that we have experienced, from 1520 to 1821, only in this period we have experienced 59 pandemics of those recorded, and many more have passed. But we have come to light.

So, what was proposed there: there were expressions of territorial cosmogonies, spirituality, ancestral medicine as a cosmic-political path, but also community, territoriality and autonomy, the path of community economy, of reciprocity. And it was very very nice. And to see the compañeras. Because there we exposed. Miriam Miranda, who is also from the Garifuna people of Honduras, was there, and she has a very organized expression throughout her journey. Then they listened to me. And then they also listened to other compañeras who were given the time, from different peoples: from the Mapuche people, from other territories… and then via messages they wrote. If they didn’t have time for all of them, they wrote too.

A Planeta: I imagine that 300 women on the internet in a meeting like this must be very difficult. How are you going to process all that? Are you going to continue with these meetings? What is the next step?

Lolita: We are on that path, we as healers are also important now in the sense of giving reflection, analysis, but also proposals to the world, which have collapsed. So we will continue. In these days a summary of what we talked about comes out, of the dialogue of knowledge that we had. Afterwards, other expressions will come out in short messages of all the expressions, because there we talked about medicines. For example, there are medicines that are being carried out in the territories that are not linked to ancestral medicine, that are working, giving a response to this pandemic situation or also giving this expression of prevention. Much was said about the immune system, and we also talked about how we can transcend in the face of these situations not only the pandemic itself, but also what it generates around it. And what it generates around it is a link in relation to what states do, what governments, businesses, the media, the oligarchy do. They have generated terror, we are in shock, or in the issues of fear, guilt. In these expressions there were quite a lot of light and I think they’re going to move forward. And in fact we are going to continue to meet in whatever ways we can.

A Planeta: I hope to see those results, whatever you discuss, because it will certainly be very interesting and important for all of us. Here we still believe too much that we know it al,l and we don’t know many of these things. You have spoken a little about what you talked about there, but tell me a little more as an ancestral healer, how do you see this pandemic? What can be the solutions? How do you see it as a healer?

Lolita: To analyze it, I had to go back in time, as I mentioned, to connect with time and with the history and the memory of my ancestors. It gives me that security of where to walk, because sometimes that uncertainty and not knowing this kind of where it came from. There are various expressions of the powers that be throwing themselves around like the plates among them and saying “no, that was the United States, the fucking Yankees”, “no, that was them”. Anyway, then this uncertainty must also be unblocked because it generates quite a lot of terror. And also analyzing that long night I was talking about and that is part of my walk with my people. These events are known to impact, impact the community, impact the territory, and impact not only personal memory, but also collective memory. And it is a context where the crisis and those scenarios, depending on how they are taken by the communities, become acts of normality or are transcended.

So this is where the importance of how communities and people allow themselves to be linked to normality comes from. That is why I call for humanity not to call for a return to normality, because we were not in normality. I hope that we can say “let’s go back to normal, let’s go out again, let’s go back to being in this, let’s go back to tourism, let’s go back to our daily lives as always”. No. Not that. Why not? Because for the native peoples this normality that was for humanity was killing us, it was extinguishing us, and not only the peoples, but biodiversity, the mountain. That is why I was attacked, persecuted and criminalized, because we do not want that normality that they call neoliberalism. That is the reflection in principle, like reading the history of my people and knowing where it comes from in order to know it, because I did not know what Covid-19 was and now I am understanding that it is a virus that was generated by a laboratory, either through negligence, intentionally or through human negligence.

It does not matter: I know that humanity is taken by millionaires, and this must be taken up by the community. This is a great message that they are sending us: they are killing us, and they will continue to make these expressions. It is not good that world powers such as the United States or other powers are the ones that are leading our way. Europe cannot be led by presidential governments with criminal minds that only want money. This is the call for humanity to reconnect with complementarity and reciprocity, with Mother Earth, with air, with water, with the sun, against the expressions of the earth, and that is possible.

I know they are going to call me crazy, or say that our proposal is not worth it, that we are in another world. It doesn’t matter: we are transmitting that as native peoples we are giving a challenge to humanity, and this challenge is to return to being a humanity linked to the time of the cosmos; which is very difficult, because it is to return to the lunar cycles, to return to the times based on how the air and the community of plants are, how the other communities of the mountains are, but for the native peoples it is very important not to allow themselves to be manipulated by the powers that be. Because we also analyze the expressions of Trump, who is a man who generates terror and wars; but we have to listen to him to see what neoliberal policies, what policies of extermination they are doing. And there are two paths: one is the path of hope of the native peoples or the path of death and destruction of Trump, of the world powers and the transnationals. We have no other path, so humanity must not fall into ambiguity.

A Planeta: Of course, I agree with all of this. I suppose that the role that community plays is also very important in that healing and in that return to our roots, to our being; and that you also have a very deep-rooted value of community, which many times is what they try to attack and where they try to do harm, from the powers that be.

Lolita: We have lived this from generation to generation, but the situation is also a journey of war, of pandemics, of attacks, of invasions… In other words, for us, returning to our origins has helped us to recover our Mayan being. I don’t know how many people will connect with us, nor if it will reach them or not, beyond the fact that it can echo in Europe, it can have an echo in the original peoples. I know that this message will get through, I thank you because you do not censure us, because I am censured from all sides. There is a page where they invite me and then they tell me: “not, that you can’t go out, because you have to speak more moderately, because you can’t talk like that about this business issue”; then, they censor us a lot. You can’t imagine how much censorship we defenders have had! How much we have to swallow the bitter taste of saying why humanity is so unfair to the defenders of the original peoples! But I know that this will reach my Mayan people, and I know that it will reach other indigenous peoples of Abya Yala, and that is why I say this. The Mayan people, for example, are saying: when we have lived through the pandemics, how have we gotten out of this situation; we have had very strong economic crises, they have left us in impoverishment. Can you imagine that the State of Guatemala leaves the K’ìche’ people 85% extremely impoverished? They are policies of extermination, that is to say “very well, the Basque people are going to be recriminated because they have this community organization or they have this world view, then, we have to attack them”. That’s what the country of Guatemala is like.
So what have the grandmothers taught us? And this is going to give light to the people.
In principle, consciousness of common origin, recovery of the land.
The other is to recreate and reinvent ourselves: it is possible to live, to improve our food. Yes, we have been linked, because sometimes companies come and link us to other food, for example, Monsanto puts insecticide and pesticide in, so we have to recover healthy land.
Connection to intergenerational engagement, i.e. where we have failed. If you see, here those who have died most are the grandfathers and grandmothers, then it makes us aware. What we missed, what is the mistake there and to understand that we have mistakes and to say “well we missed, it’s okay” and we will come back. That’s why it’s back to the origin.
It also asks us for better organization, the recovery of ancestral health, creativity in art, the self-government, to know more about the unknown, and that from town to town we can have our own demands and that we know how the oligarchies and the transnationals are acting in all this, because they are making their agenda.

If I tell you about this, it is the people’s agenda, because I know that my people are going to take it up again, because they have dealt before with more than 59 pandemics that I have told you about. But we also have to have the other agenda. We are talking about two agendas: the agendas of the native peoples and the agendas of the oligarchies and the powers that be. And I would ask humanity: what agenda are they staying on? Who are they going to support? This is what we call the removal of privileges, and it is not worth talking about sisterhood or solidarity, as long as it is not seen that people are defending water and the mountains we will be criminalized. They are attacking us more and more, they are militarising us and they are going to continue attacking us because we are the obstacle to this false development; and that is what we are calling for, for us to be able to denounce these injustices from Europe.

A Planeta: As you rightly say, I believe that this pandemic should help us to ask ourselves many of the things you are saying and to analyse and take a position. But I think that what we are achieving, maybe because of the reclusion, etc., and also because of the collective paranoia that is created, to close ourselves off to a kind of thought that is a little blocked and that does not move forward. But hopefully it will serve for what you are saying and for us to analyze more, and that this interview will also serve to make us aware of other realities and other experiences.
Do you practice traditional Mayan medicine freely in your communities, or has it also been the object of repression as have other Mayan cultural expressions such as spirituality, language, etc.? Do you use it freely?

Lolita: Look, there are territories in Guatemala where we are without a state, that is, where the state does not reach. Guatemala because it is racist, in the internal communities, yes, but at the national level there has been a pejorative, racist expression of exclusion, but also of marginalization and cruelty, as well as criminalization. The spiritual guides, the ajiom that we say and ajq’ij have also been persecuted. We have been persecuted from the expressions of this nation. That is why the grandmothers call us to take care of ourselves so that we are not exposed to expressions of attack. The pharmaceutical companies are the ones that mainly persecute us because our healing is not only linked to the Cosmo-being but also to self-healing and healing through medicinal plants and through therapies that are given in the communities themselves. Ancestral therapies that do not need money in between, but rather are expressions of reciprocity in the web of life between communities. For example, there are spiritual guides who are within a territory and go to other territories, and then the other healers go to another territory, it is like barter or something like that, without money getting in the way. This is not convenient for the pharmaceutical companies, because we don’t use western medicine either, but we use the plants and we carry it in our being.
I had an eye problem, I don’t know what they call it in the west, I had cataracts in my eyes.

A Planeta: Cataracts, yes.

Lolita: When I was little, about seven years old, and I was going to be blind, my mum took me on a tour guided by my grandmother where we needed to meet with healing guides and see my nawal. What happens is that in Guatemala or in the Mayan people a disease does not come alone, just like that. We have to claim what is our mission in walking in the web of life, and then in this mission is necessary to link the nawal we carry, and in nawal we carry also gives us the inspiration of who we are and where we go.

A Planeta: Is the nawal like the spirit so to speak?

Lolita: Yes, the nawales are linked to energy. If you’ve seen the Mayan calendar, it’s a little bit complex to explain what it is, you can explain it like that in a moment, but it’s linked to time. Our expression is linked to the Cosmo-being. The Cosmo-being is linked to time-space and movement, in this time-space and movement. There is a cosmic relation of energies and dimensions. So it depends on when you were born and what day you were born. That is your nawal. A nawal depends on the energy and how was the movement, time in space and cosmos. That is what guides you in your journey. So each person at the time of birth has its energy, which gives life to your spirit and as that is responsible for guiding and protecting it. I don’t know if I’m explaining myself.

A Planeta: Yes, yes. Very well.

Lolita: Yeah. So these manifestations are linked, like energy relationships, not only to plants, animals and beyond, but also to the moon, the sun, the air, in short, and other energy expressions. Then, it is also linked to dreams. It’s all very complex. For us, every being has a mission in the Cosmo-being, and if this mission is not well directed, grandmothers also tell us that one gets sick. Or, for example, people and nations also have missions. So that’s what I’ve been taught.
I got sick when I was a little girl and then my mother took me to heal with a guide, and I healed. I healed without Western medicine. I remember a lot about the relationship with onions, garlic and carrots. That’s why it’s always part of my Cosmo-being and that has also made me have that link. But also when… imagine my assassination attempts, when they tried to murder me with a large calibre weapon, the ancestors also took me to heal. The grandmothers took me to the mountains and we did Mayan ceremonies. We also did temazcales. The whole relationship with massage… Our healing is not unrelated to a social-economic-political life of art. Instead it’s part of it. It is NOT like in the West that art is separated, health is separated, the spiritual question is separated.

A Planeta: In western medicine it does come down just to the symptoms. Temazcal is also very integrated in Mayan medicine, isn’t it?

Lolita: Yes, yes. The temazcal also helps how your being can… what happens is that it is linked not only to the body. For example, now if we are talking about this problem, this problem is not only of the body, I am hearing that here they speak of “yes, age”, the symptoms, right? And the symptoms are: that it’s fever, that it affects first the throat, then the lungs… in short and that’s how it looks in the body. The healing within the cosmic process, within the Mayan people, is also linked to the being, that’s why I talk a lot about the Cosmo-being, because that Cosmo-being is linked to the cosmic energies, so the cosmic energies also reflect what links with the mind, the spirit, the body, of course the body too, but also with the energies. So the temazcal helps you for what? It helps not only the body, it frees your pores, in short … but it also supports the spirit, it frees the spirit, and it also frees the expression of energy, energy linked to medicine, because when one from the temazcal. We also use ancient plants within the temazcal and when we link up, that is like returning to the origin, it’s like you return to your own mother’s womb, or the womb of Mother Earth.

A Planeta: Because Lolita, many people here are not familiar with the term, but temazcal are like steam baths, right? But that is very integrated in the Mayan tradition. Not only Maya, because it is also done by many other native peoples of Abya Yala, even from the north

Lolita: Yes, it’s a steam bath.

A Planeta: I don’t know if we could finish here, because we could spend hours and hours with all that you have to say, but one curious thing that seems to me, as a feminist that you are and that we also claim, is a curious fact that the healers that you gathered with in that virtual meeting, you were all women. On the one hand that indicates the role you play in your cultures and that many times, I suppose that Western influence and olonization has tried to undermine the role of women in your cultures. But then also, regarding healing, this indicates that women have a relevance in your culture and your health, right?

Lolita: Yes, look, we as healers also carry the feminisms that arise from within the territory. I am part of community feminism and: why are we feminists? We are feminists insofar as we fight against patriarchy, against hegemonic powers. We are also against the powers that are at the height of expression of neoliberalism and capitalism and racism. And we are there too, because it is important to make it known. We also talk about the pandemic, but not only about the pandemic, we also talk about violence. It is outrageous how not only the hegemonic powers, not only the world powers, but the oligarchies too are taking advantage of this. It is important to make it known, to denounce that the confinements have generated institutionalized mistreatment. And this must be denounced. I remember that the day I heard the expression “we can’t get out”, one of the first calls I had (because they call us to denounce, to demand justice) was a colleague who suffers from violence at home. It is not right. And it is a call to society to look beyond our noses, beyond the navel of Europe, to look also at what compañeras are dealing with in their houses. I remember that when I was in Guatemala, because they told me – for example, many of my compañeras who were from K’iche’ went to work in Guatemala, in the houses – , I would say, “Oh, behind that window, behind that sealed door, what is there, what may be moving there? That’s what I’m wondering now. Behind the closed doors, behind the confinements, what is going on? What is women’s workload? What is the violence against women? What is the sexual violence against girls? There have been femicides. In Argentina there is a known case where a woman came out of necessity and was caught by the police and then, she was killed in police custody. So, in the confinement there has been torture in the houses. So, the protocols of torture used in states of war are also used by machistas, sexual rapists in the houses. So we are feminists when it comes to fighting violence against women, and we will not allow this to continue. That is why this is a call to the sisters, to the compitas, to our fightmates, who are in the territories, which we have declared, we have agreed not to silence. We need societies that are more humane, more just in terms of what we are going through. This is also being done, not only by the male chauvinists but also by the housewives who also suffering a partner which includes working and confinment, but who is not confined, but more than anything else kidnapped, or exploited, enslaved, using the discourse of the epidemic. You’re enslaving compañeras. So, we say, beyond the confinement, we need to denounce it because this also happened in my town.

When it came to mining, everyone wanted to speak against mining, and we succeeded. But we said: “yes, we are going to speak against mining, but we are going to speak about violence against women”. That’s what I’m telling you now “we’re going to talk to stop this pandemic, we’re going to fight and we’re going to get out, as they say here, together men and women” But that’s an unbelievable lie… I’m telling you, the government says it, but it’s false. We’re not going to get out of this together men and women. It’s not true. But we defenders are going to come out together as soon as we can denounce it, but not silence it. That is, we have to meet on these roads to free lives.

A Planeta: No, and it’s clear that it’s going to fall mainly on the working class, and as you well say, through all this conversation. in the South, in the indigenous communities, and above all on women, right? And that’s the message. But going back to the subject of the healers’ virtual meeting, it’s striking that all of you were women. Is that because…?

Lolita: Yes, there was a transgendered woman too. It was very strange because the invitation became general, in other words, those of us who were going to speak were expressing ourselves, the names were said, the call was made, but those who signed up, most of them are compañeras, defenders, healers, women. It is impressive how men are not on this path of healing… something is happening

A Planeta: Well, a greater awareness, but I suppose it is also knowledge that is transmitted, isn’t it? I suppose that in this case, in your cultures, it will be among women?

Lolita: Look, in the community it’s not just among women. In the communities it’s like that, general. But I think that Europe… I think that the message for Europe is that it also needs to be humble, to be simple and to say “very well, we are going to learn from the native peoples”. Humanity has a historical debt to the original peoples. And this is the future. The future depends on how much we can unite. The beings of light, how much we can recover territories in community and how much we can unite humanity without leaving the most excluded, the most marginalized and the most violently isolated. And how much we can unite ourselves in the web of life. This is the reactivation of our being. Reactivate, for example, in medicine. There is already one here, but it is like an imposed law. I talk about rue and they puzzle. That is, their hair bristles when I say “rue is for this”, “garlic is for this”, they do not understand me. Or because it has permeated their beings through the oppressor that was internalized in each person. Even people who are close to us. I’m not saying, about Trump. Trump is a lost case, I’d say, is a loss of humanity, he’s a criminal being. I’m not telling you about the president of the Spanish state. No, I’m talking about the people around him. People who are close to us don’t have that awareness and it’s hard for them to connect with us. I have even gone, for example, to some talks and people… there are many beautiful people, I greet the feminist movement, I greet Ongi Etorri Errefuxiatuak, I greet the movements of political prisoners, but sometimes some people, people from universities, make expressions like if we are speaking in another language. As if we were UFOs.

A Planeta: Yes, above all because, I understand that the codes they use and their ambitions are very different, aren’t they? But well, that’s right and we hope this interview also serve for that, Lolita, to get a little closer to what you have to offer; to put an end to this Eurocentric, colonialist arrogance, etcetera, etcetera. And to recognize the great values that you have. All the struggle that you are carrying out. Not only the native peoples but also, within them, you women, right? And well, I suppose that your ancestors, your women, have told you about your nahual, and I suppose they have told you that you have a very great mission and that you are carrying it out very well, building bridges between so many communities, so many countries, places, and we wish you the best in this very difficult situation, which is for everyone, but above all for you much more, because of your situation as a refugee and as an activist who has suffered repression so strongly.

Lolita: Yes, look. I never imagined that I could connect, that so many people from internationalisms could be linked to our side of love through. And I know that with this energy we are going to manage to link and interact… And I am very inspired by Euskal Herria (Basque Country.) which has been an expression of resistance, rebellion, revolution. And every time I see stories of Euskal Herria and of other peoples, of the Kurds, of the Saharan people, with the Lenka people, with the Bribri people, that is going to inspire me. Because you don’t know that every day I have to look for ways to be inspired. Every day is a therapy. I have to live with therapy permanently, because don’t think that I’ve already overcome the perverse attacks from when they told me with weapons in front of me “son of a bitch, we’re going to kill you”. So, I say… But I want to go back. I dream of going back to my territory. You can’t imagine when I see in the illustrations, when the children are with their family. Even in confinement, even in this crisis. It hurts me so much not to hug my daughter and son. And having to live this here. But I say “that was my fate” and I’m going to process it. Seriously, I appreciate it. I thank you… you know how much I thank the nice people who come to our fights. You don’t know how much I appreciate when they help us denounce the transnational corporations because, by the way, the corporations are operating there and repressing us. There are evictions. They continue to burn the mountains. In K’iche’ there are still fires. It is not only the confinement which is now a reality. There are many realities that are going on. So I say “I want to go back, I want to go back alive, I want to go back healthy”, and for whatever reason I know that in my territory there are many situations… They tell me “why do you want to go back, if they are going to kill you there?”. I know. There they live in community and I lack my community, spirituality and that. I want to be there. For what I have in Europe, I salute Europe and I salute their beautiful ways here, but it is not my world.

A Planeta: Of course

Lolita: My original Mayan people are there and I want to go back. And I hope that you will also continue to support us with denunciations. There was always the possibility that they would take away my passes because I am criminalized. They would tell me “no, but if you go back they will put you in jail”. But, I hope that this force will unite and that they will continue to put pressure on the state of Guatemala so that I can return. But if I can’t, we’re going to keep fighting and we’re going to generate new internationalisms of the native peoples. Europe, other worlds, Africa, Asia and others, we can connect for the network of life. I will continue to fight. The inspiration for territorial struggles wherever I go.

A Planeta: Keep it up, Lolita. and well. Here you will have us for all what you may need and to make sure you can go home, because, only you can see what this means for you. We can only imagine a little bit, but, we don’t wish anything else, that you can go back with your family, with your community. Because after all that we have talked about here today, we can see how big and how strong you feel it and what it means for you. So, meanwhile you have us here. A pride that you think we are valid on your path and a lot of strength. We will keep going.

Lolita: Eskerrik asko (Thanks a lot)

A Planeta: Zuri (to you), Lolita. Eutsi gogor (Hold on tight there). We’re still on.
Lolita: The fight goes on
A Planet:a: Strong!

(Collective transcription by Fernando Garate, Manoli Etxeberria, Arantzazu Zubeldia, Jabi and Martin)

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