Essay On Guatemalan Civil War

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The Central American country of Guatemala fought a bloody civil war for over 36 years. The internal conflict began in November of 1960 and did not end until December of 1996. The key players that fought where the Guatemalan government and the ethnic Mayan indigenous people that where extremely leftist compared to the Guatemalan government. The indigenous persons where joined by other non-government forces known as the Ladino peasantry and other rural poor. This civil conflict would escalate to a bloody series of events that inevitably would see the Guatemalan government regime held responsible for acts of genocide and other human rights violations.
Guatemala held democratic elections in 1944 and 1951, they resulted in leftist government groups holding power and rule of the country. Intervention from the United States and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) backed a more conservative military minded regime. A military coup took place in 1954 to over throw the elected government and install the rule of Carlos Castillo Armas. Carlos Armas was a military general before the coup and with the CIA orchestrated operation he was made President from July 8th 1954 until his assassination in 1957. Upon his assassination, similar militant minded presidents rose to power and continued to run the country. Due to the nature of military dictatorship, in 1960, social discontent began to give way to left wing militants made up of the Mayan indigenous people and rural peasantry. This is the match that lit Guatemala’s Civil War, street battles between the two groups tore the country and pressured the autocratic ruler General Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes to fight harder against the civilian insurrection. Similar to the government Abductions th...

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...y records from August of 1982 connected the General to Operation Sofia. These documents detailed a series of counterinsurgency sweeps though Guatemalan regions to kill the enemy guerillas and destroy their bases with extreme force.
The prosecution proved with evidence that General Rios Montt was guilty of 1,771 indigenous people, forced displacement of 29,000 people, at least nine cases of sexual violence and various cases of torture (Burt 2). The violence was overwhelming when described in court and included powerful testimonies that showed indiscriminate massacres, rape, infanticide, destruction of crops to induce starvation, abduction of children (Burt 2). The use of defense patrols was also produced as evidence against the General, citing that these where used as methods to undermine local populations and instill fear amongst the citizens of these villages.
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