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Guatemalan Genocide

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Sarah Kaminsky

on 7 February 2013

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Transcript of Guatemalan Genocide

Guatemala Genocide Civil War Genocide Changing parties 2 Dehumanization Polarization Extermination Classification 1 Denial 3 4 5 6 7 8 The 8 Stages of Genocide Symbolization Organization Preparation Distinguishing people by religion, race, ethnicity, or nationality. classified by Guatemalan gov.
Victimized group: native Mayans
since Spanish Conquest (16th century), Mayans oppressed, considered inferior to the Spanish
Became enemy of the gov. during Civil War- supporting communist regime Names or symbols given to the classification of people One group denies the humanity of the other. Spanish and Americans thought of Mayans as lower than them
spread propaganda to people that Mayans must be exterminated before communist beliefs overpowered gov.
Easy to convince army and people who the target was and made their actions acceptable State organized militias that provide deniability of state responsibility. Special army units are trained and armed.
commandos used to carry out executions and "disappearances"
death squads consisted of criminals
"The White Hand"
"Eye for Eye"
The CIA masterminded organization and training of the Guatemalan gov. forces to put a capitalist regime in place
Guatemala gov. attributed 90% of the atrocities
gov. spread propaganda that Mayans were a communist coup and supported the guerrillas
U.S. role:
against communism, helped in genocide
trained and supplied equipment and arms to army extremists attempt to intensify divisions between groups
Mayans seen as outsiders and were mistreated
626 villages were vandalized and destroyed
scorched earth policy- crops destroyed, livestock killed and water fouled victims identified and separated due to ethnic or religious identity
government and troops go to Mayan inhabitated areas
separated women, men and kids
military would pay one member of the community to spy on others- destroyed trust
mass questionings in public mass killing
began in 1982
soldiers marched into Mayan villages on celebration or market days where people were gathered together
men, women, children were beaten, imprisoned, raped, brutally killed
orders given to ensure executions caused maximum suffering perpetrators deny that they committed the crime.
"The Silent Holocaust"
blocked all investigation until driven out of power
Guatemalan army "unable" to bring up records of the time period 1981-1983 during genocide
retired generals and gov. deny that this occurred American Influence caused a seesaw of dictatorship vs. democratic Guatemalan rule in 1940's -1990's The battle between communism and democracy caused war and corrupt leaders, eventually leading to a genocide 1944 Juan Jose Arevalo becomes president Introduces social democracy reforms
social security
land to peasants 1954 Carlos Castillo becomes president from a coup Removes socialistic
land reforms (with help of US) 1960 Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes came into power after the murder of Castilllo Autocratic rule
War broke out in 2 years after the coup
"left wing" vs. Gov.
guerrilla groups Guatemalan Army defined themselves as 'killing machines”
Killed men, women, children, and elderly
The army attacked 626 villages
The Mayan's were brutally murdered, others were forced to watch, and at sometimes to take part in The "Killing Machines" Buildings were vandalised and destroyed and the “scorched earth” policy was applied meaning that the killers destroyed crops, slaughtered livestock, fouled water supplies, and violated sacred places
Children were often beaten against walls, and thrown alive into pits where the bodies of adults were later thrown
Victims of all ages had their limbs amputated, or were impaled and left to die slowly
Others were drenched in petrol and set alight , or disembowelled(to cut open the abdomen) while still alive
The wombs of pregnant women were cut open, women were routinely raped while being tortured Mayans already set apart from Spanish people due to severe social and economic oppression
distinct cultural definitions: clothing, language, physical appearances
an easy target The deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group. The Victims The Mayan Indians were the victims
200,000 registered deaths by the commission
military blamed for 93% (186,000) of the killing and Guerilla warfare only 3-4% (6,000-8,000)
1.5 million displaced(lacking a home, country)
150,000 driven to Mexico to find protection Victims were Targeted because... There was economic and social discrimination against the Mayans even though they made up more than half of Guatemala’s population
They were made slaves by wealthy European landowners
targeted by Guatemalan government and guatemalan army
targeted because the government accused them of creating a communist coup
forces against mayans: a combination of racism, discrimination and psychological warfare
gov. couldn’t fight the guerrillas because they were hiding in the mountains
plan was to keep the population from joining them by spreading terror Group of Mayan's who were targeted by the Guatemalan Gov. and Army "What You Can't Hide. Is Genocide" Mayan mother shielding her children from the Guatemalan soldiers Platoon of the Guatemalan Army a.k.a the "Killing Machines" Guatemalan Soldier who was one of the many soldiers that terrorized the Mayans' Miliatry Dictator Jose Ephrain Rios Montt Takes away voting rights for illiterate "Let's remove the water from the fish so that he fish will die" quoted from Jose Ephrain Rios Montt
"Water" is the general population plan to attack the Mayan people so that they will not join the guerrillas Jose Ephrain Rios Montt the dictator behind the mass killings of the Mayan's during the Guatemalan Genocide 1966 Cesar Mendez restores democracy Testimony Rigoberta Menchu Survivor of the genocide- lived in exile for 14 years
Noble Peace Prize winner defending the rights of Mayans
"My mother was tortured. They kidnapped her and it was said that she was eaten by animals. My brother was kidnapped and tortured. My other brother was executed by firing squad. Their bodies have never been found. They are in some mass grave"
"We live in two separate worlds. We are on the outside. When they see that out villages out taking up land, that the Maya want to become teachers, doctors, when they see that we demand rights to education, inclusion in society, they are troubled" Recent Arrest of Jose Rios Montt former Guatemalan president during Genocide
ran as congressman. Immunity for 12 years
immunity lifted Jan 14, 2012
arrested recently and will stand trial
involved 1982-1983- bloodiest times
charged against genocide and crime against humanity
says "not responsible because he wasn't on the battlefield" 1970 Carlos Arena elected from the promilitary military had more power than the people 1982 Mass killings of "left wingers"
& indigenous people Inter-American Human Rights Commission blamed guatemalan government for illegal killings in 1981 Efrain Rios Montt becomes president from a coup Changed constitution took away congress took away political parties police force stationed in the countryside and the rural areas reclaimed guerrilla land
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