Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent
Friday August 17, 2007 The Guardian
The 1992 Nobel peace prize winner, Rigoberto Menchu. Photograph: EPA
She was wearing a Mayan dress, the traditional attire of indigenous people in central America, and the hotel’s response was also traditional: throw her out.Staff at Cancun’s five-star Hotel Coral Beach appear to have assumed this was another street vendor or beggar, so without asking questions they ordered her to leave. Except the woman was Rigoberta Menchú, the Nobel peace prizewinner, Unesco goodwill ambassador, Guatemalan presidential candidate and figurehead for indigenous rights.
The attempted eviction, an example of discrimination against indigenous people common in central and south America, backfired when other guests recognised Ms Menchú and interceded on her behalf.The human rights activist was in the Mexican coastal resort at the request of President Felipe Calderón to participate in a conference on drinking water and sanitation and was due to give interviews at the hotel.
David Romero, a journalist and newsreader who was due to interview her for state radio Quintana Roo, told local media that hotel security tried to eject Ms Menchú from the lobby. They relented when told who she was. It was said not to be the first time a hotel has tried to throw her out.
Ms Menchú, 48, was awarded the 1992 Nobel peace prize for protesting against human rights abuses during Guatemala’s brutal civil war.
Commentators noted the irony of upmarket resorts discriminating against real Maya while trying to attract tourists with fake Mayan architecture and spectacles.
Tanya DePass is the founder and Director of I Need Diverse Games, a non-profit organization based in Chicago, which is dedicated to better diversification of all aspects of gaming. I Need Diverse Games serves the community by supporting marginalized developers attend the Game Developer Conference by participating in the GDC Scholarship program, helps assist attendance at other industry events, and is seeking partnership with organizations and initiatives.
Tanya is a lifelong Chicagoan who loves everything about gaming, #INeedDiverseGames spawn point, and wants to make it better and more inclusive for everyone. She founded and was the EIC of Fresh Out of Tokens podcast where games culture was discussed and viewed through a lense of feminism, intersectionality and diversity. Now she’s a co-host on Spawn on Me Podcast. Along with all of that, she’s the Programming Coordinator for OrcaCon, she often speaks on issues of diversity, feminism, race, intersectionality & other topics at multiple conventions throughout the year. Her writing about games and games critique appears in Uncanny Magazine, Polygon, Wiscon Chronicles, Vice Gaming, Paste Games, Mic, and other publications.
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