Jewish community 'forced out' of Guatemalan village
Publish Date: Aug 29, 2014
Jewish community 'forced out' of Guatemalan village
Members of the Orthodox Jewish community attend a meeting with leaders of San Juan La Laguna community at the headquarters of the Human Rights Office in Guatemala City on August 27,2014. AFP PHOTO / Johan ORDONEZ
  • mail
  • img

GUATEMALA CITY - A community of 230 Orthodox Jews from several countries Thursday began leaving the Guatemalan Indian village where they have lived for six years after claims and counterclaims of discrimination and threats.

Their exit from San Juan La Laguna, on the banks of Lake Atitlan and 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the capital Guatemala City, follows a meeting on Wednesday in which Jewish and indigenous representatives failed to reach an agreement.

"We are a people of peace and in order to avoid an incident we've already begun to leave the village," Misael Santos, a representative from the Jewish community, told AFP.

They had received threats, Santos said.

"We have a right to be there, but they threatened us with lynching if we don't leave the village," he added.

Most members of the small Jewish community are from the United States, Israel, Britain and Russia, and around 40 are Guatemalan. Approximately half are children.

Since October, the local indigenous population has accused the Orthodox Jews of discriminating against them and of violating Mayan customs.

The Council of Indigenous Elders said the Jewish community "wanted to impose their religion" and was undermining the Catholic faith that is predominant in the village.

"We act in self-defense and to respect our rights as indigenous people. The (Guatemalan) constitution protects us because we need to conserve and preserve our culture," council spokesman Miguel Vasquez told AFP.

Related Stories

Gaza ceasefire splits Israel govt

Iran 'will arm Palestinians' after Israel drone downed

Israel triples intake of Ugandan students


The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Dutch court blocks bid for Rwandan extraditions
A Dutch court on Friday blocked the extradition of two Rwandan men accused of involvement in the central African country''s 1994 genocide...
Burundi risks genocide, US envoy warns
BURUNDI is at risk of genocide, warns Thomas Perriello, US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, days after President Barack Obama slapped sanctions...
Refugee crisis tests Sweden
Aneta Moura, who emigrated to Sweden from Greece 43 years ago, says the last ethnic Swede has moved off her street in Malmo's Rosengard neighbourhood and youths with nothing to do hang out on the streets at all hours....
What-Would-Magufuli-Do goes viral on twitter
Just a few weeks into office, new Tanzanian President Magufuli Pombe is trending on social network twitter....
Syrian paper recounts rescue of downed Russian pilot
Syrian special forces launched an operation "behind enemy lines" to rescue the surviving crew member of a Russian warplane downed by Turkey, Syria's Al-Watan newspaper reported on Thursday....
US Republicans move to dump Trump
Many say the populist crazy talk is typical of the White House primaries, but Republican frontrunner Donald Trump's increasingly incendiary remarks are leading some conservatives to brand him a "fascist" and party rivals to ramp up attacks against him....
Is Uganda ready for the pope's visit?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter