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Economic Development of Central America Econ. 4200 - Spring 2004 – Dr. Taylor - page 62 / 153

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Assaulted by the Ladino world, highland Indians withdrew into their own culture and built social barriers between themselves and the changing world outside their villages. (These barriers persist today)

For the Guatemalan governments that have thought in terms of economic progress and national unity, the Indians have always presented a problem.

Traditionally, the white world has perceived them as a burden. "Backward," "custom-bound," "superstitious," "uneducated” and “inassimilable" are terms used to describe the Indians.

Indian "backwardness" is best explained by elite policies calculated to keep Indians subordinate: Social, political, and economic deprivations have consistently and consciously been utilized by governments anxious to maintain the Indian in an inferior status.

However, between 1945 and 1954, however, there was a period of remarkable social reform in Guatemala…

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