James Rodríguez: revisiting genocide in Rabinal, Guatemala

I've been following the blog of Guatemala-based photojournalist Jaime (James) Rodríguez in recent months, and just spent some time with one recent entry about the rural village of Rabinal, where "one of the most atrocious cases of human extermination prompted by so-called economic development" occurred 25 years ago. This July, a group of human rights activists from Mexico, Canada, and the US visited Rabinal to better understand and aid that community's ongoing search for justice and reconciliation.

What I find so moving about Rodríguez' work is the sense of closeness with these places, and these people, that permeates each shot. These are not abstractions, they of individuals and families and homes. They are not past tense, and we're connected to them in ways we might not realize. Work like his makes these stories a little harder for the world to ignore. Snip:

Nicolas Chen, a survivor from Rio Negro, often visits the museum where a number of his murdered relatives' photographs are on display. Here, Mr. Chen caresses the photograph of his daughter, Marta Julia Chen Osorio, where the caption reads: "She was murdered when her gestation period was about to be completed. The soldiers, acting as medics, induced a forced cesarean with machetes. The assailants, who wanted to see how a child grows inside a mother's womb, accomplished their feat. How is it possible that someone can take the life of defenseless human beings so unjustly?!"

Link to "The Chixoy Hydro-electrical Dam and Genocide in Río Negro." See also these recent entries on his blog (some of which include video from related documentaries in progress): The People of Nueva Linda; Nueva Linda: Along the Side of the Road (video link here); We Are Not Squatters, We Are Natives of Guatemala.

Note: he publishes everything in both Spanish and English — I'm linking to the English versions here, but pick your flavor as you wish.