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Yucatan government must communicate in Mayan language under new proposal

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Alejandro Cuevas Mena

Merida, Yucatan — Citizens have a right to be addressed in their native tongue.

That’s the idea behind a measure presented to Yucatan lawmakers requiring a sufficient number of state-government employees that are proficient in Mayan. Bulletins and other communications must also be in both Spanish and Mayan, under the proposal.

Alejandro Cuevas Mena, a PRD representative, introduced the bill on Wednesday.

Most government officials speak only Spanish, creating a disconnect with about a third of all Yucatecans, mainly in rural areas. The bill modifies article seven of the Code of the Public Administration of Yucatan.

An estimated 800,000 people speak Mayan in Mexico, where Spanish is most commonly spoken. The country has no official language, and about six million citizens speak indigenous languages. A large percentage of them are more proficient in Mayan than they are in Spanish.

“Throughout history, the authorities have shown interest in preserving and spreading the Mayan legacy, including, of course, the language,” Cuevas Mena said.

“This important sector of the citizenry is also interested in knowing and being informed about the programs and actions of the government; in many occasions they move as they can to the cities, but in some instances there is a communication problem when they do not speak Spanish,” he added.

“I am clear that austerity should be a characteristic of all governments, and that is why I also propose not to create more bureaucracy, but to provide and train the personnel who are working in the dependencies to perform this important function and even encourage the interest of public servants in our language,” he concluded.

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