Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Elisabeth Burgos-Debray papers
Collection Number: 2001C89
Creator: Burgos-Debray, Elisabeth
20 manuscript boxes, 5 oversize boxes, 2 card file boxes
(12.5 linear feet)
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: Correspondence, writings, sound recordings and transcripts of interviews, and printed matter, relating to the trial of the
French revolutionary journalist Régis Debray in Bolivia; revolutionary movements and political conditions in Bolivia, Cuba,
Venezuela and elsewhere in Latin America; women in Cuba; and the Guatemalan Indian leader Rigoberta Menchú.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Boxes 24-26 closed until 2012 July 1. Box 27 closed during the lifetime of E. Burgos-Debray. The remainder of the collection
is open for research.
The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to
copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives
at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see
or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], Elisabeth Burgos-Debray papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.
Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2001, with an increment received in 2007.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in Socrates is larger than the number of boxes
listed in this finding aid.
||Born, Valencia, Venezuela
||Active in campaign for the release of Régis Debray from prison in Bolivia
||Works for the French government as head of the Instituto Cultural Francés in Seville and as a cultural attaché in Madrid
||Interviews Rigoberta Menchú and collaborates on the book
Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y asì me nació la conciencia
||Awarded Premio Casa de las Americas
Scope and Content of Collection
The Elisabeth Burgos-Debray papers contain materials largely pertaining to Latin America in the past forty-five years, with
a particular emphasis on the history of guerrilla movements in the 1960s and 1970s; the experience of civil war in Guatemala
in the 1970s and 1980s; and aspects of political and social life in Cuba during the Castro era. Consisting of correspondence,
writings, and numerous recorded interviews, the papers reflect the personal biography and career of Burgos-Debray, who in
her youth was active in the radical politics of Latin America in the 1960s. She later became an anthropologist and journalist,
while also collaborating on a number of books relating to Guatemala and Cuba.
In 1967, Burgos-Debray married Régis Debray, a French intellectual then imprisoned in Bolivia on charges of having aided Che
Guevara's ill fated guerrilla campaign in that country. Debray's case became a
cause célèbre in France and elsewhere, and an international effort was undertaken to secure his release. The substantial
Régis Debray file in the papers includes letters written from prison by Debray to Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, as well as the extensive correspondence
conducted by Debray's parents on their son's behalf. There is also a large quantity of clippings in this file relating to
Debray's trial and imprisonment, many of which also contain details on the capture and execution of Guevara by the Bolivian
Régis Debray and Elisabeth Burgos-Debray were later divorced, and Burgos-Debray pursued her academic studies in France. In
1982, her interviews with a Guatemalan woman, Rigoberta Menchú, formed the basis of a book,
Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nació la conciencia. In the work, which was translated into a number of languages, Menchú recounts her life story while describing the ravages
of Guatemala's civil war in the 1970s and early 1980s as experienced by its indigenous population. Menchú's book later become
the subject of controversy as to the veracity of certain passages and the exact circumstances of its creation. The Burgos-Debray
papers contain drafts of the book (in the
Speeches and Writings series) and recordings of the original interviews of Menchú done by Burgos-Debray (in the
Sound recordings series).
Speeches and Writings series contains a number of articles written by Burgos-Debray in recent years on issues of contemporary Latin American politics.
These show the evolution in Burgos-Debray?s political views from a position supportive of Fidel Castro's revolution to one
of open criticism of human rights violations in Cuba. In the 1990s, Burgos-Debray transcribed and edited books by Daniel "Benigno"
Alarcón Ramirez and Jorge Masetti, former Cuban officials who broke with Castro and went into exile. The papers contain drafts
of these books (Works edited by Elisabeth Burgos-Debray series), as well as the original interviews on which they were based
Sound recordings series).
An important component of the collection is an extensive series of sound and video recordings of interviews conducted by Elisabeth
Burgos-Debray with a wide range of Latin American political personalities (
Sound recordings series, and
Video recordings series). The recordings are organized on the basis of their original arrangement by Burgos-Debray and are grouped by the
name of the country they pertain to. Among the interviewees are former participants in guerrilla warfare in Venezuela, Guatemala,
Colombia, and Peru, as well as several survivors of Che Guevara's rebel army in Bolivia. There are also interviews with former
military officials involved in campaigns against these same guerrilla movements.
There are recordings of interviews with a number of prominent Cuban women, including officials in Castro's government. There
are also many done with Cuban exiles, among them former political prisoners, human rights activists, and former combatants
in the early period of armed struggle against the Castro government. There are also interviews conducted in recent years
with political figures in Venezuela, including one with Hugo Chávez and others with members of the opposition to Chávez.
The collection is organized into 11 series: Biographical file; Correspondence; Speeches and Writings; Works edited by Elisabeth
Burgos-Debray; Régis Debray file; Subject file; Photographs; Printed matter; Sound recordings; Video recordings; Additional
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Guatemala--Politics and government.
Bolivia--Politics and government.
Cuba--Politics and government--1959-1990.
Venezuela--Politics and government.
Latin America--Politics and government--20th century.
Indians of Central America--Guatemala.