Elisabeth Burgos-Debray

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Venezuelan anthropologist Elisabeth Burgos-Debray (born in Valencia, Venezuela, in 1941), former wife of the French philosopher Régis Debray, was the editor of Rigoberta Menchú's controversial autobiography I, Rigoberta Menchú. She was director of the Maison de l'Amerique Latine in Paris and of the Institut Cultural Français in Seville.

Rigoberta Menchú's book[edit]

Rigoberta Menchú told Burgos her life in a series of interviews. [1] Menchu claims in the book that she couldn't read or write in Spanish very well. She also adds that her spoken Spanish was poor. For this reason, Burgos took on the role of assembling Menchu's testimony. Menchu's story speaks to her experience as an indigenous woman, as well as atrocities committed by the Guatemalan military.

Menchu's story is considered one of the major texts of Latin American "testimonio." In the U.S., the title of the narrative went by the name of I, Rigoberta Menchu, and in the original Spanish (Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nació la conciencia. In the text, Burgos also adds quotes from the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Mayans. Those epigraphs foreshadow the narrative of the testimonial of Menchu. The translation into English became an international phenomenon.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Burgos and Debray had a daughter, the writer Laurence Debray (born 1976).


  1. ^ Atkinson, Paul, Handbook of Ethnography, (Sage Publications Ltd, 2002), 397.

Further reading[edit]

  • Beverley, John. Testimonio: On the Politics of Truth. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.

External links[edit]