Edited and with contributions by Liisa North and Alan Simmons, this collection explores the participation of the oppressed and marginalised Guatemalan refugees, most of them indigenous Mayas who fled from the army's razed-earth campaign of the early 1980s, in government negotiations regarding the conditions for return. The essays adopt the refugees' language concerning return - defining it as a self-organized and participatory collective act that is very different from repatriation, a passive process often organized by others with the objective of reintegration into the status quo. Contributors examine the extent to which the organized returnees and other social organizations with similar objectives have been successful in transforming Guatemalan society, creating greater respect for political, social, and economic rights. They also consider the obstacles to democratization in a country just emerging from a history of oppressive dictatorships and a thirty-six-year-long civil war.
Contributors include Stephen Baranyi (IDRC), Catherine Blacklock (Queen's University), Manuel-Angel Castillo (Colegio de Mexico), Alison Crosby (Consejeria en Proyectos), Gonzalo de Villa (Universidad Rafael Landivar), Brian Egan (Independent Consultant), Marco Fonseca (York University), Gisela Geliert (FLACSO-Guatemala), Jim Gronau (Coordinacion de ONG y Cooperativas), Barry Levitt (University of North Carolina), George Lovell (Queen's University), Catherine Nolan-Hanlon (Queen-s University), Liisa North, Viviana Patroni (Wilfrid Laurier University), Rene Potvin (FLACSO-Guatemala), Alan Simmons, and Gabriela Torres (York University).