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Film about Mayan massacre in Guatemala reverberates around the world



São Paulo – A Curse of the Weeping Woman (La Llorona, 2019), by Jayro Bustamante, will be the first film from Guatemala to compete for a Golden Globe. The feature is categorized as terror, suspense and magical realism, and competes in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. The awards are distributed on February 28, Sunday. In addition to being the first work in Guatemala to compete for the prestigious award in Hollywood, the film is notable for being a creative portrait of a true horror story. The feature mixes the history of Chorona, a classic of Latin American folklore, with the massacre of peasants of the Mayan ethnic group by military men who led a dictatorship in the country between 1981 and 1983.

250,000 women, men and children were slaughtered during the period. For his crimes, former President Efraín Ríos Montt was convicted in 2013. However, his sentence was overturned in higher courts and he died in 2018 without serving a day of sentence for the atrocities committed against peasants.

The film

On the one hand, the horror of reality when the military government decimated heirs of the Maya within a logic well known to Brazilians: the dictatorial government accused the workers of peasant women of collaborating with Marxist regimes, such as Cuba and the Soviet Union. On the other, the legend of a woman who drowned her children and her sorry soul wanders weeping through the villages in search of redemption.

The film’s protagonist, Alma, sees her children drowned by soldiers during the massacres and is prevented from crying by the executioners, under pain of her own death. After that, she ends up working at the home of a retired military man as a domestic worker. Their wails and cries in the nights begin to torment the murderous chief.

“In addition to the pride of having a Guatemalan film nominated, the story he tells is very relevant. Thank you, ”said Lucrecia Hernández Mack, leftist deputy and former Guatemalan health minister. The director, Bustamante, also thanked the nomination. “Thanks to @goldenglobes for the nomination, for embracing our cinema and the recent history of our country that deserves to reach the international audience,” he said on a social network.

The competition

The nomination is already an achievement, however, the competition for the statuette will be tough this year. In addition to the Guatemalan film, there are competing films of great prominence such as the Danish Another Round (Druk, 2020), by Thomas Vinterberg. The feature features a caricature of the Danish people and their relationship to alcohol, in addition to dilemmas related to aging. One of the protagonists is Mads Mikkelsen. The renowned artist delivers a gala performance in an original and exciting work.

They also compete Life Ahead (2020), by the Italian Edoardo Ponti; a work that brings the legend Sophia Loren as a Holocaust survivor and her friendship with an orphan. Another exception in this pantheon of non-English films is a film from the United States. Minari (2020), by Lee Isaac Chung, is mostly spoken in Korean and deals with a family of immigrants in search of the “American dream”. We two (2019), by Filippo Meneghetti, deals with the hidden romance of two retired neighbors in France.

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Municipal schools in São Paulo record 3 deaths and 386 cases of covid-19 after returning to school




São Paulo – Municipal schools in the city of São Paulo had three deaths from covid-19 and 569 confirmed cases among students and professionals in 256 teaching units, according to a survey by the five unions that organize municipal education workers. Some of the teachers and other education workers are still on strike demanding the suspension of face-to-face classes due to the high risk of contamination by the new coronavirus, in addition to the imminent risk of collapse in health. The Municipal Secretary of Education of the government Bruno Covas (PSDB) does not divulge the cases and says only that 12 schools had to be closed since the beginning of classes.

For workers, there are no safe conditions for resuming face-to-face classes in schools in the city of São Paulo, especially in the midst of the worsening pandemic. Among the main problems, they point to the lack of ventilation in the classrooms, materials for protection and hygiene – such as 70% alcohol gel and masks distributed by the Covas government – of low quality, impossibility to maintain the distance in early childhood education units, lack of teachers, lack of support teams.


The Covas government itself assumed that the preparation of the schools was insufficient when, two days before the return to school, it began to inform families that the resumption would be postponed, because 530 schools were still under renovation or without cleaning staff hired to work in the units.

Workers also point out that there is a lack of clarity in the protocols for cases of covid-19 in schools. In some regions, only the person with symptoms is excluded. In others, everyone who had contact. In still others, the entire school is closed. Workers attribute this situation to the dismantling of the Health Surveillance Coordination (Covisa), last year, the body responsible for defining health rules, but which today is subordinate to the Municipal Secretary of Health. And, therefore, without decision-making power.

According to the Union of Workers in Public Administration and Municipalities in the Municipality of São Paulo (Sindsep), the resumption of classroom activities in schools in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic was not preceded by a technical opinion that estimated the risks, made projections and defined clearly the procedures when cases of covid-19 appeared in schools. Sindsep says that the information was passed on by professionals from the Municipal Health Secretariat, at the Technical Desk of Covid-19, on February 23.

Political and authoritarian

The RBA questioned the Municipal Health Department four times about the technical opinion that supported the resumption of face-to-face classes in schools amid the covid-19 pandemic, but had no answer. Last year, Covisa took a stand against back to school on several occasions. This year, however, the Covas government decided that the resumption could take place even during the red and orange phases of the quarantine, when the risk of contamination by the new coronavirus is substantially greater.

“The decision of Covas and the municipal education secretary, Fernando Padula, in February, was a political decision, without a favorable technical opinion from health experts from the city itself, or from Covisa, an organ that was dismantled by Covas and lost its autonomy . Health was consulted only on the elaboration of protocols for the functioning of schools, but not on the epidemiological risks of reopening at that time. This statement belies the Municipal Department of Education, which has stated that the reopening of schools has been based on the position of the Municipal Department of Health, ”said the president of Sindsep, Sérgio Antiqueira.

Workers are studying to report the situation to the Municipal Health Council and the Public Ministry

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