LONDON — Erick Barrondo won Guatemala’s first ever medal in Olympic history with silver in the men’s 20 kilometres walk on Saturday. The 21-year-old finished behind China’s Chen Ding. Barrondo will compete in the 50 km walk on August 11.
“Guatemala is a nation that has suffered much, but it has also dreamed. I will be the happiest man in the world if tomorrow someone puts down their arms on the ground, takes a pair of shoes and goes to the stadium to train,” Barrondo said emotionally, according to Nuestro Diario.*
According to one Guatemalan blogger, “He won gold at the Panamerican Games in 2011. After his event he flew to Guatemala City and no one picked him up at the airport. No one was there to greet him. He then had to catch a chicken bus to get to his small village many hours away. It will be a different story when he gets home in a week.”
Guatemala first participated in the Olympic Games in 1952 under the democratically elected government of Presidents Arevalo and Arbenz.
Guatemala is the home of the ancient Maya, one of the great civilizations of the world. Miguel Angel Asturias won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1967. Rigoberta Menchú won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.
In 1954, the United States overthrew the democratically elected government of Guatemala. Military dictatorships assassinated almost 200,000 people in the next 40 years. The bishop of Guatemala, Juan Gerardi, was bludgeoned to death in 1998 for publishing a report on behalf of the Catholic Church documenting the killings. The Guatemalan government engaged in mass killings of Mayans, obliterating entire villages. The cold war and the war on drugs by the United States have devastated civic society and the economy in Guatemala for decades. Guatemala has a total population of 14 million. 55% live in poverty. The average education level is 4.1 years of education. The gross domestic product was $2,000 to $4,000 per person in 2011, according to the Economist.
No justice, no peace. The United States beginning in 1946 engaged in unethical and illegal non-consensual experiments intentionally infecting Guatemalan people with syphilis, gonorrhea, and chancroid. Click here for more information on justice for Guatemalan people . . .
Top photo Prensa Libre. Momento emotivo. El guatemalteco llora al momento en el que es aplaudido. Foto Romeo Rios.