The Guatemala Guerrilla Who Never Stopped Fighting
A rebel since sixteen, Santiago Boc Tay finally laid down his arms after decades of war, but still vows he will show the next generation that revolutionary change is possible.
Photos by Anna-Cat Brigida
Santiago Boc Tay laid down his arms on December 29, 1996 in front of government officials, international observers and his fellow comrades as part of a ceremony marking the end to a 36-year civil war in Guatemala. For sixteen years, Boc Tay had fought with other guerrillas, battling for social justice, land rights and respect for his indigenous Mayan culture. But on that December day when a peace accord was finalized, his hopes for revolutionary change in the Central American nation withered.
“The advances that we wanted to democratize the country were not won,” says Boc Tay. “But it’s also clear that we laid the foundations for democracy in Guatemala.”
In the past year, another movement for democracy and social justice has taken shape in Guatemala. Thousands filled Guatemala City’s central plaza every Saturday from April to September of last year, demanding the resignations of corrupt officials. Former president Otto Perez Molina and vice president Roxana Bald…