José Cecilio del Valle of Guatemala

José Cecilio del Valle

On the eve of celebrating Central America’s independence from Spain, and six years before its 200th anniversary, a Guatemalan remembers José Cecilio del Valle, his long-forgotten great-great-great grandfather, a key player in the region’s independence and one of the great thinkers of his time. (1780-1834) Mexico and Central America became independent from Spain on Sept. 15, 1821, but it would take […]

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Who signed Guatemala’s Declaration of Independence?

In reviewing my ancestry, I found that my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, John Witherspoon (New Jersey), signed the Declaration of Independence of the United States. Perhaps that is why I became more interested in who signed the Declaration of Independence of Guatemala on September 15, 1821. The 18th century brought rising commerce and an emerging merchant community in Guatemala. The Free Trade […]

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Freedom and Independence

Independence Day Run (photo: Rudy Girón/

Freedom is the absence of constraints and dependence. In the personal realm this can be confusing. For example, does being without constraints mean a solitary life? Or, how does a person reconcile freedom with the responsibility of a family? Independence holds admiration and aspiration for some, while others turn away in fear. We can be free, yet also be connected […]

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