guatemalan civil war

But truth was unwelcome. It interfered with the objectives set by Reagan’s national security team in 1981. As reported by the journalist Robert Parry, working from a document he discovered in the Reagan Library, the team’s goal was to supply military aid to the right-wing regime in Guatemala in order to exterminate not only “Marxist guerrillas” but also their “civilian support mechanisms” – which means, effectively, genocide.

The task was carried out with dedication. Reagan sent “nonlethal” equipment to the killers, including Bell helicopters that were immediately armed and sent on their missions of death and destruction.

But the most effective method was to enlist a network of client states to take over the task, including Taiwan and South Korea, still under U.S.-backed dictatorships, as well as apartheid South Africa and the Argentine and Chilean dictatorships.

At the forefront was Israel, which became the major arms supplier to Guatemala. It provided instructors for the killers and participated in counterinsurgency operations.


- Noam Chomsky,

Ronald Reagan’s Secret, Genocidal Wars,

July 18, 1982:

Two hundred and sixty-eight campesinos (‘peasants’ or 'country people’) are killed in the Plan de Sánchez massacre in Guatemala.

Those murdered were mostly ethnic Achi Maya people who were killed by the country’s military and paramilitary allies. 

During Guatemala’s Civil War, left-wing insurgents fought against the government. After President Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt took power in 1982, he sent the military on a campaign to break the insurgency.

On July 18, troops and paratroops entered the village, separated children and girls 15 to 20 years old. They raped the young girls, broke their arms and legs, and killed them. They tortured the elderly citizens, saying they were guerrillas, threw grenades at people and fired weapons. They took the village’s children and smashed them into the ground after executing the village’s other citizens. 

Massacres like Plan de Sánchez were part of a 'scorched earth’ strategy, and Plan de Sánchez was reportedly targeted because the government suspected villagers were harbouring or supporting guerrillas. 

Survivors were told they would be killed if they spoke out about what happened or revealed the location of several mass graves they had been forced to dig. When democracy returned to Guatemala in the late '80s and early '90s, survivors began telling their stories. 

A criminal investigation into the massacres was launched in 1993, but it was delayed by a National Reconciliation Law that guaranteed amnesties to suspected perpetrators. The survivors realized the government was not going to help them, so they lodged a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 1996. 

Democratically elected President Alfonso Portillo partially recognized the state’s complicity in the massacres during his term. In 2004, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights established Guatemala was liable in the case and ordered financial and non-monetary compensation to survivors and relatives of the deceased. 

Guatemalan courts convicted five members of the Patrullas de Autodefensa Civil paramilitary of murder in 2012. They were each sentenced to 7,710 years in prison.

Studying the Guatemalan Civil War makes me so angry.

Like seriously? Arbenz was a bit liberal and he liked the working class so he MUST be a communist, right? Oh, wait, no. He just allowed communists the right to party formation like a democratic society is supposed to. Or is that only okay when the political party is something the US likes? Also:




Sometimes 1950s era US foreign policy makes me want to kill myself.

Dust (orig. Polvo) [2012] (UR would be R, 3 ½ Stars) - Guatemalan/German film collaboration about German documentary film crew that comes to Guatemala to make a film about rural survivors of a massacre during the decades long civil war in Guatemala during the Cold War only to find (on reflection unsurprisingly) one of the survivors of the massacre that had occurred decades ago acting very strangely.  Why?  Well, honestly what would/should one expect?


Regina José Galindo | Guatemalan

Móvil | 2010

During the 1980′s there was a huge surge of migration from Guatemala to the U.S.A due to the Guatemalan Civil War. It has not ended and continues to this day. The experience of Guatemalans while crossing Mexican territory is horrendous by both the nation-state and the day to day xenophobia/racism faced and an outstanding amount of people die in Mexico. The dead bodies of Guatemalans return to Guatemala from Mexico in these kind of coffins by airlift.  In this performance art piece, Regina enters this coffin and the audience is allowed to push the coffin around as they please. 

Artist Statement:

Las drogas van al norte. Las armas van al sur. Los cuerpos vivos van al norte, vienen muertos al sur. Mi cuerpo permanece dentro de un carro para transportar cadáveres. El público mueve este elemento de la manera y hacia las direcciones que quiera.

The Drugs go up north. The weapons go down south. The living bodies go up north, they come down dead to the south. My body is placed inside the coffin used to transport dead bodies. The public moves this element as they wish and in the directions in which they want.

(Comisionada and producida por MUAC, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo. Ciudad de México, México. 2010)

Commissioned and producd by MUAC, Museum of the Uni of Contemporary Art, Mexico City, Mexico. 2010

Information Graphics

By: Jennifer Montiel Quintana

The word cloud i decided to make was about a woman activist that i truly admire, her name is Rigoberta Menchu. She is a Guatemalan woman that has travel all over the world to advocate for woman rights and nonviolence for indigenous groups that have been oppressed by the government. She has been a noble peace prize for publicizing  the rights of Guatemala indigenous people during and after the Guatemalan civil war. The word cloud presents the many things she has and continue to fight for not only for her people but for anyone that have been oppressed. Many of these words are very much relatable to many social and political movements all over the word bring knowledge, hope, and rights. Guatemala has been part of a genocide where many woman have been sexually abuse and men killed for land and rights. Menchu has represented all those many domestic indigenous people that have been wrongly treated by the government and private business owners.

This interactive infographic gives a well presentation to amount of people are speaking spanish in the world, internet, and United States. As you can see they present numbers, images and certain coloring to give the viewer  good illustration to the information they are addressing. As you can see in this image it talks about the amount of people that interact with each other in spanish and how it will become a second primary language in the united states in a couple more years. It informs us that spanish is a very important language and will continue to dominate the world.

As you can see in this interactive infographic you can see how the designer used a unique way to display the they types of alcohol drinks and the about of alcohol it carries. The way they decide to present the information on a periodic table adding the name of the beverage an illustration of the drinks and the key type that the beverage falls into. It offers the viewer in regards to the alcohol drinks and how i can affect them. I believe it helps people know what type of drinks they will like and how they can manage their consumption. 

Washed By Rain By Marie Anzalone

The May Issue of The Rising Phoenix Review is underway!

Our feature poem of the day for May 6th is Washed By Rain written by Marie Anzalone. This piece is about the Guatemalan Civil War. 

Here is an excerpt from the poem:

and I keep a remnant of a charred anciano’s shirt, solely for remembrance     that you never know what you can do until demanded by a uniformed soldado   holding a torch to your home and a knife to her throat.

Washed By Rain By Marie Anzalone