Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/12/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Killings carried out between 1982, 1983 claimed 1,700 lives

The South American nation of Guatemala is finally addressing a very dark period in its 20th Century history. In the early 1980s, during the war between the government and leftist rebels, the military used the "rebel threat" as a ploy to exterminate rural Ixil Mayan villages accused of harboring insurgents. This tactic led to the genocide of 1,700 Ixil Mayans - and this grisly chapter is now being openly debated in the courtroom. 

Living in the mountainous villages in the country's northwest and mostly isolated from the rest of Guatemala and the world, the Guatemalan Ixil number around 95,000, less than one percent of the nation's population.

Living in the mountainous villages in the country's northwest and mostly isolated from the rest of Guatemala and the world, the Guatemalan Ixil number around 95,000, less than one percent of the nation's population.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/12/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Ixil Maya, Guatemala, genocide, Efrain Rios Montt, court trial


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - According to the United Nations, this is the very first time in history that a former head of state is being tried for genocide by his own nation's justice system. Efrain Rios Montt, now 86 years old, is the ex-military dictator who ruled Guatemala from 1982 to 1983. He will now have his fate decided in the courtroom.

It must be noted that previous accusations of genocide, such as in Rwanda or against Serbia, have been presided over by international judges. The Guatemala attacks are believed to be the only incident of genocide in the Western Hemisphere during the modern era.

While the trial must reopen festering wounds, it is hoped that the painful public testimony could help heal the national betrayal reflected in the faces of many Mayan victims.

Rios Montt is accused of authorizing a military strategy so brutal that it was labeled "scorched earth." His attorneys say the former dictator did not order any of the atrocities.

The genocide charges currently rest on the assertion that the army, under Rios Montt's orders, specifically targeted the Ixil because of their ethnicity, and not just because they were suspected of harboring rebels.

A 1999 report by a Guatemalan truth commission concluded that "agents of the state committed acts of genocide against groups of Mayan people." An attorney for Rios Montt has laid the foundation for the argument that no such ethnic targeting took place.

"I never heard a speech that said 'kill the Ixil, exterminate the Ixil,'" defense lawyer Francisco Garcia Gudiel said. Rios Montt "never gave an order, written or spoken, to exterminate a single Ixil in this country."

Also standing accused is the United States, in the court of public opinion. Critics say Washington, then under the leadership of President Ronald Reagan callously disregarded the situation -- and worse.

The Reagan administration claimed violence was decreasing during Rios Montt's tenure and lifted a U.S. arms embargo in 1983. Ironically, the U.S. has pushed for Guatemalan judicial reform that has made this trial possible.

Living in the mountainous villages in the country's northwest and mostly isolated from the rest of Guatemala and the world, the Guatemalan Ixil number around 95,000, less than one percent of the nation's population.

Many still speak the Ixil language, and most of the witnesses called to the stand so far have spoken through a translator. The horrific stories that more than 70 prosecution witnesses have revealed so far have been hard to hear in any language.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Americas

Mexican gun battle ends with 43 shot to death Watch

Image of The New Generation Cartel has killed more than two dozen police and soldiers since March.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A three-hour gun battle between government forces and a drug cartel at a ranch in the western Mexican state of Michoacan has ended with 43 shot and killed. Suspected gang members and police began a massive standoff. According to authorities, only one of the dead ... continue reading


Castro so impressed with Pope Francis he may 'go back to the church' Watch

Image of The pontiff

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cuban President Raul Castro thanked Pope Francis at the Vatican this past weekend for his work establishing a new Cuban-U.S. detente. Castro, known for his harsh treatment of dissidents - that has brought condemnation from the Vatican - said he was considering ... continue reading


Chile volcano erupts for third time, experts warn it may happen again Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After about half a century without any activity, the Calbuco volcano located in South Chile erupted last Thursday, a week after it signified its life with a roar. According to reports it released a large volume of smoke described as a "towering act" by Yahoo! News. ... continue reading


Long-lost tomb of Teotihuacan's first king may be closer with exciting new discovery Watch

Image of Because of the potential supernatural significance of liquid mercury in ancient ritual, Gomez hopes to find the elusive last resting place of a king.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Mexican archaeologist hunting for a long lost royal tomb in the bowels of Teotihuacan has made an exciting discovery. Sergio Gomez has found "large quantities" of liquid mercury in a chamber at the end of a sacred tunnel sealed for nearly 1,800 years. LOS ... continue reading


First U.S. Hispanic Saint: Pope Francis to canonize Junipero Serra during U.S. visit Watch

Image of Father Junipero Serra's canonization will

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis and the Vatican have announced plans to canonize the Blessed Junipero Serra during the Pope's visit to the United States on September 23. Serra will become the United States' first Hispanic saint. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Often times, the ... continue reading


Canadian couple takes to amazing floating fortress to get away from it all Watch

Image of Located off the coast of Tofino, British Columbia, Freedom Cove was built in 1992. The couple, who have two children, live in the home year round.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Wayne Adams and Catherine King  are an unconventional Canadian couple who have forsaken the bustle of city life with their floating fortress that they've named "Freedom Cove." Off the grid and self-sustaining, the pink and green floating home is a welcome respite ... continue reading


New species of prehistoric 'terror bird' found in Argentina Watch

Image of Researchers say that the Llallawavis likely lived around 3.5 million years ago, near the end of terror birds' reign. It stood about four feet tall and weighed about 40 pounds.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Birds, it is commonly believed, evolved from dinosaurs. However, between now and then, some horrific, carnivorous birds ruled the prehistoric world with an iron claw. A new species of "terror bird" has been uncovered in Argentina; paleontologists are gaining ... continue reading


Dozens of mummies uncovered in Peru's Cotahuasi Valley Watch

Image of Finding the reasons behind the selective destruction of the mummies and artifacts is a challenge.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tombs, containing at least 40 mummies each have been discovered in Peru's Cotahuasi Valley. Archaeologists say that at least 171 mummies have been unearthed at the 1,200-year-old ceremonial site. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Located on small hills ... continue reading


Underground tunnel between U.S. and Mexico found hidden in wardrobe Watch

Image of When soldiers raided the property, they also reportedly seized 44 pounds of marijuana and a truck being used by the racket to move the excavated earth.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An average wooden wardrobe near San Diego served a far more sinister purpose. Concealed within its doors was a small trapdoor that led to a secret underground passageway stretching some 500 feet towards the U.S. border. The Mexican military uncovered the ... continue reading


Rare video shows 'successful' exorcism on woman 'possessed by devil' Watch

Image of Laura was described by locals as

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A 22-year-old woman, only identified as Laura, was reportedly a good girl before the devil turned her bad, according to Argentina locals. In this disturbing footage, Laura is seen writhing in pain, screaming as Bishop Manuel Acuna performs an exorcism on her. LOS ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 44:1, 9-13
1 Next let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9
1 Alleluia! Sing a new song to Yahweh: his praise in ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:11-26
11 He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple; and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 29th, 2015 Image

St. Maximinus of Trier
May 29: Bishop of Trier, Germany, from 332, and a miracle worker. He was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter