I know this isn't even my own writing, but it's a good editorial from the newspaper of the upper-class of Guatemala about poverty in the Highlands (region where I live). I'm translating this article from the Prensa Libre, 3 February 2008.
The above article was the only one published about the story of the sixty dead children that I could find.
Children of the Highlands: The (cold) climate is not to blame for the death
of children in Totonicapan.
Death by pneumonia of more than 60 children of the rural area reflects the
true face of the dysfunction of Guatemala, where the riches (of the
upper class) obscure the poverty in macroeconomic indicators, making the
poor of Guatemala appear to be folklore.
From the capital city with a beautiful renovated airport, in which the
construction of luxury apartment towers compete with villas of the magnates,
it's very difficult to comprehend how it is possible that a curable disease can
bring about the deaths of 60% of the children that contract it.
Nor is it easy, from the capital, to have any idea of the contions of live
of the rural communities far from the mirrors of consumerism, whose profits
depend on the decisions of a political circle that does not profit from our
understanding of such poverty, either.
This, without forgetting that the primary concern of the majority of
elected officials is not to work towards the well-being of the nation, but
to prefer to use public funds, orginally destined to the
investement in health, education, housing, and nutrition, to ensure
reelection and handing government contracts to family and friends (in
violation of Constitutional and social law).
It's very important to understand that the children of Guatemala have
been forgotten by the recent government (which left January 1) and all those
before it. If this was not true, the 62 children of Totonicapán never would have
died, because they would have access to decent health centers, equipped with the
medicines, supplies, equipment, and basic services that the entire
(Guatemalan) population has a right to have, simply by living in this
These deaths should weigh on the souls of everyone and every government
official that have committed themselves to public life. In them one can find the
negligence and apathy to make the changes to benefit the general public, their
weakness in plain sight of the circles of power and their (the
politicians) disinterest in completing the obligations of their titles.
The climatic changes have passed in Guatemala for many yearx, with varying
intensity. Everyone knows when it will rain and whin it will freeze: when the
wind beats on the houses and when the rivers flood. No government can hide
its ineffectiveness claiming these events are unforeseen... even less when the
victims (of the cold rains) are a segment of the population most harshly
punished for their poverty of every type.
It is urgent that the authorities wake from their dream and face the
national reality unflinchingly and intelligently. As such, each one of these
deaths should represent a mark on the soul of those who are responsible for
these children's protection under the law.