By Gabriela Vargas-Cetina
Steffan Igor Ayora-Diaz / Beth A. Conklin
/ Les W. box / Katie Glaskin / Frederic W.
Gleach / Tracey Heatherington / June C.
Nash / Bernard C. Perley / Vilma Santiago-
Irizarry / Timothy J. Smith / Sergey
Sokolovskiy / David Stoll / Gabriela Vargas-
Cetina / Thomas M. Wilson
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This pressure has been less than expected because, despite their grandiose claims, the former guerrillas and their allies have little connection with the majority of the indigenous population. Most indigenous voters failed to turn out for the Consulta Popular, a constitutional referendum to demilitarize the country and establish equality for Mayan culture (K. Warren 2002). In the populations hit hardest by the war—Quiché, Huehuetenango, and Baja Verapaz Departments—Mayas have voted heavily for a former dictator, the retired general Efraín Ríos Montt, whom the human rights movement would like to indict for committing genocide in the same areas.
Protected from scrutiny, debatable propositions harden into pol itical litmus tests. Political litmus tests The Moral Economy of Hyping the Contemporary Mayas / 41 define the boundaries of morally permissible discussion, discourage the communication of unwelcome information, and become the basis for further inflation, creating further distance between our representations and the people whom we wish to support. The Not-Truly-Indian Paradox and the NGO House of Mirrors Let us now turn to the moral economy behind these practices.
As for the ex-g uerrilla coalition, it did so poorly that, having failed to win 5 percent of the vote, it has disappeared as a legally recognized party. A similar investment in indigenous rebellion, resulting in another public relations bubble, occurred with the 1994 Zapatista insurgency in Chiapas, Mexico. Here media imagery of an indigenous Mayan uprising against the North American Free Trade Agreement elicited a wave of support from the Mexican and the international left. Many anthropologists were impressed by the contrast between the Zapatistas’ military strength, which was minimal, and their remarkable symbolic resonance, and so they became known as the first cyber-g uerrillas in history.