By Liisa L. North, Alan B. Simmons
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Additional info for Journeys of Fear: Refugee Return and National Transformation in Guatemala
The NCOS have been taking on some of the tasks of civil society, tasks having to do with both development and the participatory organization of social movements. The problem with this phenomenon is that the NGOS are, in effect, replacing the state by carrying out the tasks that the latter either does not or cannot take on. Moreover, the NGOS have become substitutes for social actors, since they, despite good intentions in some cases, assume the responsibilities of those actors. This happens most frequently in the case of the very heterogenous range of foreign NGOS that sponsor projects from diverse philosophical perspectives.
CHANGING POWER RELATIONS? The problems and conflicts reviewed above may appear overwhelming. Yet they were being addressed in a situation that differed significandy from what prevailed from the 19505 to the late 19805. The differences - arising from developments within and outside Guatemala - sustained hopes of continued movement toward genuine democratization and sustainable peace with social progress. , 1995; Solares 1993; Warren 1998); women's and environmental 25 Historical Perspective concerns were finding organized expression for the first time (see Blacklock's and Egan's chapters); human rights organizations occupied centre stage in political debates; and a great number of nongovernmental organizations that dealt with issues ranging from health and popular education to entrepreneurial training had sprung up.
The negotiation agenda between the URNG and the Guatemalan government included all those issues that had remained unaddressed since 1954: democratization, respect for human rights and indigenous rights, socioeconomic reforms, and demilitarization among them. The obstacles on the path to a viable peace and sustainable future development appeared overwhelming. Indeed, as the political system began to open up in the mid-ig8os, those obstacles were in many 14 Journeys of Fear respects more daunting than ever.