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Guatemala Mayans: from victims of discrimination to perpetrators?

Urias Goldman, a member of the Orthodox Jewish community, speaks during a meeting with leaders of San Juan La Laguna at the headquarters of the Human Rights Office in Guatemala City on August 27, 2014Fearful of losing their culture and land, ethnic Maya people in Guatemala — who have faced centuries of discrimination themselves — drove out a group of 230 ultra-Orthodox Jews, experts say. The Jewish group’s departure from San Juan La Laguna, on the banks of Lake Atitlan some 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the capital Guatemala City, followed failed efforts reach a deal Wednesday. “We are very pleased with the decision made by that group to avoid conflicts with (local) people,” Miguel Vasquez, spokesman for the San Juan Council of Elders, told AFP by phone. Most members of the small Jewish community are from the United States, Israel, Britain and Russia, and around 40 are Guatemalan.

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