In 1988, WW Norton published Guatemala: Eternal Spring, Eternal Tyranny, my book of color photographs and testimonies illustrating the height of the Guatemalan government's war against its citizens. The chapters covered each the three military dictatorships that had governed Guatemala from 1980 until 1986 including images of the effects of massive repression, “scorched earth” rural counterinsurgency, and the Army's occupation of four hundred rural villages.
In 2009, with a grant from the Soros Foundation and another from a private U.S. charity, I produced a second edition of the book. There were two goals: to publish Guatemala in Spanish and to use local resources to do so. In 2010, we published Guatemala: eterna primavera, eterna tiranía. With the exception of the digitization of the Kodachrome transparencies, every aspect of the book -- English to Spanish translation, copy editing, Photoshop, design, and even printing -- was accomplished in Guatemala. We were particularly pleased to succeed on this score since it allowed us to spend the grant money in Guatemala and, just as important, it proved that a quality book could be produced in Guatemala.
We published one thousand copies. Guatemala: eterna primavera, eterna tiranía was number one on Guatemala's best seller list during Summer 2010, and it was number three overall for 2010.
Guatemala was priced at $50 and was sold exclusively in Guatemala City. It sold out in eight months; I then re-invested 100% of the profits in a third student edition which will be published in January 2012. This third edition has a print run of four thousand copies. Our goal is to price it at a 75% discount off the true cost of production in order to render it affordable to students and Guatemalans of limited means. We also plan to donate 1,300 copies to public schools and universities together with a teacher's guide. ODHAG, the Archbishop's human rights office, is in charge of distribution.
With a generous grant from the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, we were also able to organize a traveling exhibit of the photos which included two sets of forty photos each that were shown simultaneously in two locales over an eight month period, ultimately encompassing almost twenty highland villages and towns in Guatemala. The exhibit was launched with a ribbon cutting ceremony presided by U.S. Ambassador McFarland at the National Palace last year and culminated at the San Carlos University in August 2011. It received new life when a human rights group used the photos in a highly visible street exhibit in downtown Guatemala City in September 2011.