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Burden of Peace

Distributed by Alexander Street Press, 350 7th Ave/Ste 1100, New York, NY 10001
Produced by Bart Voorsluis, Annemiek Munneke, and Framewerk
Directed by Joey Boink and Sander Wirken
DVD, color, 77 mimn.
Middle School - General Adult
Activism, Central America, Corruption, Crime and Prosecution, Courts, Crimes Against Humanity, Criminality, Dictatorship, Genocide, Government, Human Rights, Indigenous People, Latin America, Law, Mayans, Women’s Rights

Reviewed by Caron Knauer, LaGuardia Community College, Long Island City, New York

Recommended with reservations   
Date Entered: 3/15/2017

While Claudia Paz y Paz, Guatemala’s first female attorney general (2010-2014), is presented as a fearless and tenacious human rights activist and prosecutor of her country’s corrupt military government that perpetrated genocide against indigenous Mayas as well as other unconscionable crimes, this documentary doesn’t deliver a fully dimensional portrait of her.

Some background information about the trials depicted is provided, and there are vividly filmed scenes of Paz y Paz on her way to court preparing the case to prosecute Efrain Rios Montt, the army general under whose watch approximately 200,000 Mayan Guatemalans were killed. Thanks to Paz y Paz’s efforts, Montt was convicted of crimes against humanity in 2013, the same year in which she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This documentary triggers an interest in what drives Paz y Paz, who now lives in America, and how she was able to get as far as she did in Guatemala. In February of 2017, The Washington Office on Latin America, (WOLA), where Paz y Paz served as a Senior Fellow, announced that she was selected to serve as the Secretary for Multidimensional Security for the Organization of American States (OAS). In this capacity, Paz y Paz will “promote and coordinate cooperation among the OAS member states and the inter-American system to assess, prevent, confront, and respond effectively to threats to security.” We need her and her talents now more than ever.