Short Story: “Miguel de Los Ángeles”

RIDER is a youth network that seeks to strengthen the capacity of young leaders by creating spaces for participation on relevant platforms. RIDER is a youth initiative in the western region of the country. RIDER works in the areas of citizen participation, entrepreneurship, education, and gender and social inclusion. It brings together young leaders from associations, collectives, and organizations that operate in the western part of Guatemala. RIDER’s members are youth specialized in various fields who share a common goal and vision: greater representation and opportunities for the youth of the country. You can find RIDER on Facebook at @RIDERxela or send them an email at redporeldesarrolloregional@gmail.com

Recently, RIDER organized the «Jóvenes Escribiendo El Futuro (Youth Writing the Future)» conference with the goal of giving young people a space to express themselves through writing. Participants researched, analyzed, and reflected through their writing on our country’s current and historical events. At RIDER we believe that it is essential that youth know our reality and history to be able to shape a better future. The first edition of the Jóvenes Escribiendo el Futuro conference was titled #HablemosDeRevolución (#Let’sTalkAboutRevolution) to commemorate the anniversary of the 1944 revolution and highlight analysis of the achievements of Guatemala’s Democratic Spring. This round had 57 participating young authors from 10 departments from the west, north, and south of the country. Here we reprint a story by one of the winners.


By Dinora Centes

His feet touched water. Sitting while resting and refreshing himself in the stagnant remnants of the rain, he thought, no, he was no longer thinking, the midday sun had beaten him, now he just wanted to get back, but it was too far. So was the capital. He had no escape, nowhere to go. Better to just keep on.

From a distance he saw the usual group of patrol cars. He didn’t greet them. He felt his face sink into the ground and couldn’t speak. Air stopped reaching his lungs.

-“What are you doing and why are you out at this hour?”

He didn’t respond. He couldn’t.

-“Put him in the car and let’s go, we’ll figure it out later.”

He was still sprawled on the ground when two giant men picked him up by his legs and threw him in an old and dusty car, full of other men who, like him, wore the sun inscribed on their skin. He didn’t complain, nor could he cry. He didn’t know that tears were a right in any language. His bare feet were asleep and cold, and for a moment he thought he had lost them. Within two hours María is going to be happy, she’s going to have the baby, then nothing, not happiness nor sleep. Hunger and war. Government politics.

-“What’s your name?”

What are you going to say, Miguel de los Ángeles? That you left home looking for a midwife, but she arrived at your house before you did? Nothing. You can’t, Miguelito, first because nobody is going to believe you and second because you don’t know how to talk. Well, yes you do, but you can’t here, Miguelito. This is the land of the white man and his authority. Your authority is there in the hills, in the cornfields, and according to the father, hopefully, let us pray to God the Almighty, in heaven. But Miguel, what good will heaven do for you now?

-“Leave him be. Maybe he’s mute. You mute?”

— Dinora Centes is a young activist from the Department of Guatemala. She completed her studies in the field of Sociology at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala and is an avid reader and writer. She currently participates in -MALVA-, a popular feminist collective. She is committed to the education and training of the country’s girls and women in hopes of building a more inclusive country