Continued Repression


Jose Rios Montt


The late 1970s and early 1980s were periods of un-imaginable repression in Guatemala. Under generals like Lucas Garcia and Rios Montt, the Guatemalan army committed at least 225 Indian village massacres. Not coincidentally, those are also areas of Guatemala’s greatest mineral wealth, including oil reserves.

Since 1954, the Guatemalan military has killed one hundred thousand people. Presently, there are forty thousand disappeared, people presumed dead but whose bodies have never been found. Families of the disappeared don’t know whether their relative is dead or alive.

In 1962, the first guerrilla group was founded to struggle against the oppressive conditions that the military and wealthy landowners created. In 1982, several guerrilla groups united under the URNG, the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity.

“Who in your family has disappeared?”

“My father, Rigoberto, My brother, Maynor, My brother, Otto, My brother, Armando, My uncle Moises, My uncle Salomon, My aunt, Lilian, My aunt Elizabeth, My aunt, Sipirana, My cousin, Damaris, My cousin Maria, My cousin, Hector, My cousin, Noe, My cousin, Abigail, My cousin, Claudia.”

-Jean-Marie Simon, Guatemala, 195 

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