Menchú, Rigoberta rē˝gōbĕr´tä mĕncho͞o´ [key], 1959–, Guatemalan social reformer. Of Mayan descent, she and her family were caught in Guatemala's bloody civil war. Protesters against human-rights abuses, her father, mother, and younger brother were killed by Guatamalan soldiers, and in 1981 Menchú fled the country and settled in Mexico. At home and abroad, she has worked to secure and protect the rights of indigenous peoples in her country and to promote intercultural peace. For her efforts, Menchú was awarded the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize. In 1998 her autobiographical I, Rigoberta Menchú (1983) was attacked as partly fabricated, provoking international controversy. She was a candidate for the Guatemalan presidency in 2007 and 2011, but won only 3% of the vote both times.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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