Formal name: Guatemala.
Capital: Guatemala City (Ciudad de Guatemala)
Estimated population: 13,314,079 (July 2002 est.)
In 1996, three and a half decades of civil war formally came to an end in Guatemala. This conflict, particularly at its peak in the early 1980s, had been the cause of most of the displacement, both internal and cross-border, which has occurred in the country. While 20 per cent of the country's total population is estimated to have been displaced at least temporarily (one and a half million people), of these, between 150,000 and 200,000 crossed an international border, mostly to Mexico. Some 200,000 people are also estimated to have been internally displaced in Guatemala. Some 46,000 of those in Mexico were registered refugees and received assistance from UNHCR. A significant proportion of the remaining Guatemalans are thought to have continued north and entered the USA, some claiming asylum. Beginning in the early 1990s, refugees from Mexico began formally and publicly returning to Guatemala until mid-1999, by which time most had either returned or had opted to remain in Mexico, where they were finally being offered citizenship.
While some people undoubtedly remain displaced as a result of the conflict, the issue is largely regarded as resolved as far as the government and UNHCR is concerned. However, issues of access to land and huge inequities in the ownership of land persist. The vast majority of the fertile land remains the property of a wealthy elite of finca (plantation) owners. Peasants have continued to protest and demonstrate on this issue by legal proceedings and more direct action, including the illegal occupation of land. Human rights abuses continue to occur and have become more of a problem since 2000.
- CIA World Factbook - http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/gt.html#Issues
- LANIC - University of Texas resources - http://www.lanic.utexas.edu/la/ca/guatemala/
- AlertNet: Country Profile - http://www.alertnet.org/thefacts/countryprofiles/216111.htm
- BBC Online: Country Profile - http://news.bbc.co.uk//hi/english/world/americas/country_profiles/newsid_1215000/1215758.stm
During the period of colonization of the region in the first half of the sixteenth century, the Spanish colonialists coerced the indigenous Maya population into forced labour in the agro-export sector. Following independence in 1821, an oligarchic, landowning elite of Spanish, or mixed Spanish-Mayan ( ladino), descent emerged. The military-backed expropriation of land from the Maya, together with the socio-economic inequity between them and the ladinos in the country, subsequently intensified. The ladinos have continued to current times in monopolizing politics, capital, military power, and resources. The most fertile of the arable land continues to be owned by the larger landowners, while most of the Maya who do have plots scrape a living from subsistence agriculture. The extensive expropriation of land, and the widespread poverty that has ensued, ensure a surplus supply of labour, for whom work on the plantations at minimal wages in harsh conditions is an economic necessity. The legal requirement during colonial times for indigenous peasants to work on plantations for minimum wages has been replaced by economic necessity in recent decades.
Until 1945, Guatemala was ruled by a succession of dictatorial governments, interrupted by brief periods of constitutional rule. The decade that followed was unique in Guatemalan history, characterized by the introduction of social and agrarian reforms, and a new Constitution which codified respect for civil liberties and acknowledged ideological pluralism. The communist Guatemalan Workers Party (PGT) became close advisers to the successive presidencies of Juan José Arévalo (1945-50) and Colonel Jacobo Arbenz (1950-54) in matters such as the suppression of privileges for companies from the USA, which angered large landowners including American interests in the country, most notably the United Fruit Company (McClintock 1995). In the civil war that was eventually to follow, the guerrilla groups often referred to this period as the 'spring' in Guatemalan history which the revolution sought to restore.
In 1954, a CIA-backed coup installed a new military-backed general as president; he suspended the Constitution, reversed the socio-economic and agrarian reform measures, and returned the country to authoritarian rule. Between 1954 and 1986 a series of military and one civilian (but de facto military) government ruled Guatemala. Although a facade of democracy was constructed by holding elections, these were largely fraudulent, and the country became known as home to the highest number of violations of human rights in the Western Hemisphere. The justice system lost its independence and became subordinate to the counter-insurgency policies of the armed forces. The lack of plurality in politics and opportunities for reform are reflected by the consistently high abstention rates in national elections (63 per cent in 1996).
In response to the increasing power of the insurgents at the end of the 1970s, between 1980 and 1983, the army intensified its counter-insurgency campaign dramatically. These years were by far the most violent and destructive period of the entire conflict. Most of the massacres during the war were perpetrated during this assault, which is referred to by some as La Violencia. Essentially, the basis of this offensive was to take the war to the civilian population, particularly in rural areas and most notably in the north-western highlands, with the intention of destroying the support base of the guerrillas. This 'scorched earth' strategy resulted in 440 villages being burned to the ground, 75,000 people being killed or 'disappeared', and about one and a half million people being displaced. Most of these resettled after a short time, but some 200,000 fled over the border into Mexico and a similar number remained displaced within the country, many of them in hiding in the jungle. This military assault was primarily directed against the rural indigenous in the departments of Petén, Quiché, and Huehuetenango. By 1985, La Violencia is thought to have left at least 75,000 women widowed and 250,000 children orphaned.
In the wake of the 1981-1983 military onslaught in the highlands, the Guatemalan government, with the support of the military, launched a campaign of Security and Development, which continued at a reduced rate until the late 1980s. At the heart of this strategy was the resettlement of displaced persons in 33 so-called 'model villages', several of which were organised into 'development poles' or population and commerce centres. The army oversaw the provision of infrastructure, housing and services, which was provided by public and private agencies. But once the physical outlay was achieved, little development assistance, such as the provision of small scale loans, was provided. Most of the villagers are farmers and prior to the conflict their dwellings were surrounded by fields of corn, beans and other crops. However, in the model villages there was insufficient land for subsistence for the majority of households and work on infrastructure projects was one of the few economic opportunities open to them. These tended to be Food-for-Work programmes, providing food only to the worker and only for days actually worked. Consequently, malnutrition became a serious problem in many households. The military's campaign in the highlands created a situation of dependency and control in communities rather than one of development.
By 1984 the army had almost completely annihilated the guerrilla movement, and although armed resistance did continue until the signing of the final peace accord in December 1996, it was at an abated level. In the years that followed this emergency phase, the army became more selective in those it targeted. Typically, those it allegedly extra-judicially executed and 'disappeared' were leading politically/socially active members of the community including campesinos and cooperative leaders, human rights activists, journalists, union leaders, student activists, opposition politicians, catechists, and church leaders. Either they were never seen again or their tortured and mutilated bodies would reappear days or weeks later as a warning to others. There were scarcely no political prisoners. With time, threats and intimidation were often sufficient to scare people into non-resistant behaviour. With the police and judiciary system unable to resist its authority, the army, as well as the Civil Defence Patrols (PACs), were able to carry out these acts with complete impunity.
From 1985, the army began to allow the gradual and limited opening
of political and civil space. However, despite the return to civilian rule in
1986 with the introduction of a new progressive Constitution and talk of
democratisation and national reconciliation, the armed forces continued to
exert considerable influence on government and societal structures. The State
also continued to employ extra-judicial execution, 'disappearance', torture and
intimidation to contain those that it saw as a threat to its economic and
political interests (
Under pressure from other countries in Central America, as well as the USA and Europe, a dialogue aimed at peace and regional development began at the end of the 1980s. This evolved into a lengthy peace process, involving the signing of numerous peace accords, which was concluded in 1996. Refugees in Mexico returned to Guatemala throughout the 1990s, and by mid-1999, UNHCR declared this process concluded.
- International Peace Research Institute: Chronology of Events - http://www.prio.no/publications/reports/guatemala/Appendix_A.asp
- World History Archives: Chronology of Guatemala's 36-Year Civil War - http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/47/161.html
- US Department of State - http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2045.htm
- Guatemalan Government - http://ahguatemala.com/61dea8d6fb1a89b9d51ae0365ed721ed/government/
Guatemala is a Constitutional Democratic Republic, with an Executive led by a President who is constitutionally only permitted to rule for a single four-year term. The existing Constitution dates back to May 1994, but was amended in January 1994. The country comprises 22 departments, led by appointed governors, which in turn are comprised of 331 municipalities, run by elected mayors and city councils. The country's major political parties are: Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG), National Advancement Party (PAN), New Nation Alliance (ANN), and Unionists ( Unionistas).
The 1999 presidential and legislative elections were considered by international observers to have been free and fair. Participation by women and indigenous voters was higher than in the recent past, although concerns remained regarding the accessibility of polling places in rural areas. The president is both the chief of state and the head of government. The current president is Alfonso Portillo Cabrera, of the FRG, who was elected in 1999 and took office in early 2000.
The political balance was disrupted in 2000 when allegations surfaced that the FRG had illegally altered legislation. Following an investigation, the Supreme Court stripped those involved, including President of Congress and FRG chief Rios Montt, of their legislative immunity to face charges in the case. At roughly the same time, the PAN opposition suffered an internal split and broke into factions; the same occurred in the ANN. Reforms essential to peace implementation still await legislative action.
The population of Guatemala is extremely ethnically diverse. About 60 per cent (estimates vary widely) of the population are indigenous Amerindians of Maya origin, whose mother tongue is one of twenty-one distinct Maya languages. Although the Mayan population is dispersed throughout the country, it is mainly concentrated in the highlands in the north and the west. There are also two other ethnic groups: the Xinca people, who live mainly on the Pacific coast close to El Salvador, and the Garífuna, who live on the Caribbean coast. The rest of the population, known as ladinos or mestizos, are of mixed European and indigenous parentage or ancestry. They speak Spanish and identify with a dominantly Western way of life, particularly in terms of patterns of consumption. They form the majority of the population in the capital, Guatemala City. Although the ladinos dominate politics, major economic activities, and academia, they are not a homogeneous group. Large numbers live in levels of poverty similar to those experienced by the majority of the indigenous population. In recent years the distinction between indigenous and ladino has become largely cultural. A pure-blood Maya who migrates to an urban area, adopts Western styles of dress, and speaks Spanish may often be considered a ladino.
Geography, society, and economy
Guatemala is the largest country in Central America. With the largest economy in Central America, Guatemala suffers seriously from poverty and inequality. After Haiti, Guatemala is probably the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Approximately 75 per cent of the population are estimated to live below the poverty line, and almost 56 per cent to live below the extreme poverty line (World Bank 1995). Most social and economic indicators, including patterns of malnutrition, health, and education also point to extreme poverty. More than 90 per cent of the indigenous population live on an income which puts them below the poverty line, as compared to 66 per cent of the non-indigenous population. In addition, there is a high degree of inequality in land distribution, income, and consumption. Land is concentrated in the hands of a wealthy elite of landowners. The most recent agricultural census (1979) indicates that 2.5 per cent of Guatemala's 5.3 million farms control 65 per cent of agricultural land. The country is divided into twenty-two departments and 328 municipios. About 70 per cent of the population live in rural areas, residing in 20,017 communities, 87 per cent of which have fewer than 500 inhabitants. Guatemala covers an area of 108,889 sq km, two thirds of it mountainous, it is densely forested in the north with the more fertile agricultural land on the coastal plains.
- Instituto Nacional de Estasdística (INE) - http://www.segeplan.gob.gt/ine/bienve/mainbien.htm
Causes and consequences
For most of Guatemala's history since independence, the country has used its armed forces to repress any disquiet among peasants and workers. In the countryside, this has largely involved indigenous migrant workers who work the fincas, formerly compelled by legislation but more recently by economic necessity. In the 1970s, with escalating guerrilla activity and civil and political unrest, unionists, human rights defenders, and community leaders were increasingly targeted. These people were 'disappeared' or extra-judicially executed.
Between 1981 and 1983, when this campaign was at a peak, it
resulted in the destruction of 440 villages, the death or disappearance of some
75,000 people and the displacement of an estimated one million people
This military assault was mainly targeted against rural
indigenous peasants in the departments of Petén, Quiché and Huehuetenango. In
its efforts to wipe out any kind of opposition to their authority, the military
waged war against the entire civilian population but particularly the
indigenous in rural areas who they had come to regard as generally supportive
of the insurgency. Clearly, beyond their alleged political affiliation,
indigenous people were targeted simply because of their ethnicity in what
Supposedly voluntary, paramilitary forces, most adult indigenous
males in this region, were forced to contribute a number of unpaid hours per
week in the PACs, which numbered around one million men at one point
One of the groups most visibly affected by the civil war were those forcibly displaced, both internally and in exile. Of the estimated 200,000 Guatemalans arriving in Mexico during the 1980s, some 48,000 were settled in camps in Chiapas by the Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees (COMAR) and United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), who recognised them as refugees. These people had often fled as entire communities who joined other communities in the camps. Although the Mexican government (which is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees) was initially reluctant, it eventually bowed to pressure from multilateral agencies and local NGOs and allowed them to stay temporarily. Guatemalans in the camps were provided with refugee-like protection and emergency assistance in the form of food, health care, shelter and sometimes education. Generally well received by the local population, they were allowed to move around fairly freely and to work; many families gained access to land and credits.
Initially, in remote areas of Guatemala, and subsequently all over the country, the army's tactics became more selective in the post-emergency phase (since 1985), targeting particular individuals for extra-judicial execution, disappearance or intimidation. Typically, victims tended to be active and leading figures in the community, such as campesino and cooperative leaders, human rights workers, journalists, union leaders, student activists, opposition politicians and Church leaders. People who fled this persecution also largely went to Mexico, usually arriving as individuals, families or small groups. They were generally not recognised as refugees and thus were not entitled to UNHCR assistance. The total number of unregistered Guatemalan 'refugees' in Mexico was at least 150,000 during the 1980s, but many have now returned home. If apprehended by the Mexican authorities, they were usually deported back to Guatemala as economic migrants. As a consequence of this and their need to find employment, these people were forced to conceal their nationality and thus their ethnic identity and language. Women were disproportionately affected since, unlike men, indigenous women generally wore traditional dress and were less often Spanish-speakers.
Organized, armed resistance to the ruling elite, the armed forces, and those whose interests they protected began in the early 1960s in the form of former army officers turned left-wing revolutionaries. These foquista guerrillas operated in the country's ladino eastern regions, but failed to galvanize the population, neglected the Mayans, and were relatively swiftly defeated. Shortly afterwards, in 1962, the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) emerged, seeking political and economic reform through insurgent military operations. From the remnants of the foquista movement emerged the Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP) in 1972, and after spending eight years organizing secretly, the Revolutionary Organization of the People in Arms (ORPA) appeared in 1979. Both of the latter two groups principally operated in rural areas, mainly populated by Mayans. FAR (who operated in the Petén) and the PGT played more minor roles.
By the late 1970s, the insurgent forces, numbering as many as 12,000 combatants, were becoming increasingly militarized and had wide support or sympathy, particularly from the rural population. In 1982, the principal guerrilla groupings unified forming the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG), comprising ORPA, EGP, FAR, and a section of the PGT. By the end of the 1970s, large areas of the departments of Quiché, Huehuetenango, and San Marcos were effectively under guerrilla authority. They controlled towns, destroyed infrastructure, and carried out raids in other departments.
The guerrillas began talks with government officials in the late 1980s which became a formal peace in the early 1990s. The URNG became a legal political party in 1997, after the peace talks were completed and the conflict was officially over.
- The Latin American Studies Program: Guerrillas in Guatemala - http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova/guatemala-rev.htm
During the 1960s, in attempting to suppress the insurgency, the
army increasingly established itself as the dominant political force in
Guatemala and the most powerful and nationalistic military force in Central
However, as the decade drew to a close, any opposition to the prevailing system, and the interests it protected, was met with brutal, institutionalized terror by successive military governments. Indeed, by now the military was not only protecting the economic interests of the oligarchy but its own as well. It had established its own bank, credit institutions and its own publishing house, as well as the means to take over productive resources.
The tactics employed by the Guatemalan armed forces bear a strong resemblance to those adopted by troops from the USA in Viet Nam. This included resettling those who had survived and not fled, into thirty-three 'model villages' in which the military was able to monitor all aspects of daily life. They were trying to prevent any further opposition to their authority through surveillance and re-education.
Another key aspect of the strategy of the army was the introduction of Civil Defence Patrols (PACs) in 1982. Though these were ostensibly voluntary, in vast swathes of the country the majority of indigenous men aged between 18 and 50 years were compelled by the army to contribute a number of unpaid hours each week to these paramilitary forces, which became the first line of defence against the guerrillas. Under the authority of military commissioners, they acted as the eyes and ears of the army, being required to inform the military of those in the community they suspected of being subversives. If they failed to denounce fellow villagers, they often faced death themselves. Subsequently, the PACs themselves became perpetrators of human rights on a large scale, including carrying out killings, 'disappearances', and rapes. There were approximately two million patrollers in 1982-3, but the numbers were to dwindle to some 270,000 by 1996, just prior to their demobilization. During 2002 and 2003, former members of the PACs campaigned for compensation which, in April 2003, the government controversially agreed to pay.
Although up to one and a half million Guatemalans were displaced at the peak of the violence, many of these quickly settled into other communities, or fled to urban centres, while a smaller number were settled into the army-controlled 'model villages'. At least 200,000 people went into hiding within Guatemala, particularly in the north and north-western regions of the country. An estimated further 200,000 fled over the border into Mexico. Others fled to Belize, El Salvador, and the USA. Some left alone, leaving their families behind, but most were entire families and communities who had fled en masse.
Although they were initially reluctant, the authorities in Mexico granted refugee status to about 46,000 of the Guatemalans. (Mexico was not a signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees nor the 1967 Protocol until 2000.) UNHCR has been able to operate in Mexico thanks to two bilateral agreements signed in 1980, the year in which the large influx of Guatemalans to Mexico began. In these agreements UNHCR committed itself to providing assistance to the refugees through the Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees (COMAR), established by the Mexican government to assist the refugees. Until 1991, refugees in Mexico were categorized initially as border migrants and later as foreigners with the right to work. Since 1991, the General Population Law has included refugees as a category.
The refugees were settled into camps in the southern state of Chiapas by COMAR and UNHCR. Initially, the camps were established in the south of Chiapas close to the Guatemalan border, on the assumption that the refugees would soon be returning to Guatemala. The refugees were provided with protection and assistance in the form of food, shelter, health care, and sometimes access to education. Generally the refugees were well received by the local population, which consisted mainly of Mayans like most of the refugees. Like the regions they had fled from, Chiapas is poor and largely rural, where agriculture is the mainstay of economic activity. Although some refugees were allowed access to land and credits, there were restrictions on their freedom of movement and their ability to work in Mexico.
The existence of the refugee camps caused tension between Mexico and Guatemala. For many years the Guatemalan armed forces refused to recognize the refugees, as well as internally displaced persons (IDPs), as civilian populations. The security of the refugees very soon became a problem, as the Guatemalan army was conducting military operations against the refugees over the border into Mexico. Consequently, in 1985, provisional camps and then four settlements were established for about 20,000 of these refugees in Campeche and Quintana Roo, in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Here the Mexican authorities and UNHCR adopted policies geared towards self-sufficiency and integration. These refugees were either settled on land which was bought with grants from the international community through UNHCR, or on land allocated for the refugees' use by Mexican state or federal authorities. These policies seem to have been generally successful. By the early 1990s, these refugee communities had gradually become self-sustaining, no longer requiring basic assistance. They are regarded as having achieved a high level of local integration and as being productive members of society.
At least 150,000 of the Guatemalans who fled to Mexico at about the same time and under similar conditions were not recognized as refugees and thus received no protection or assistance (Salvadó 1988). If apprehended by the Mexican authorities, they were subject to deportation as illegal economic migrants. Some returned to Guatemala of their own accord once the violence had subsided. Those that remained were obliged to conceal their nationality and thus their ethnic identity including language, dress, and traditions. This disproportionately affected women as they were more often than men non-Spanish speakers and wearers of traditional dress.
Internally displaced persons (IDPs)
During the early 1980s in particular, at least 200,000 people were estimated to have become displaced within Guatemala. Many of those hiding in the highland jungle areas were considered to be guerrillas or guerrilla sympathizers by the army. These IDPs began to organize collectively to defend themselves from attacks by the army, not by taking up arms, but through surveillance and sharing information about movements of the army. They decided not to flee to Mexico but to remain in hiding in Guatemala, resisting domination by the army in spite of the harsh and dangerous conditions. Some established a collective voice, calling themselves the Communities of People in Resistance (CPRs). They developed collective means of production since this was safer and more practical. They also developed the ability for the whole community to pack up and leave at very short notice when an army patrol was approaching. After more than ten years in flight in the jungle, in 1993 they publicly declared their intention to come out of hiding.
- Global IDP Database - http://www.db.idpproject.org/Sites/idpSurvey.nsf/wCountries/Guatemala
- NTNU Research group on forced migration - http://www.idp.ntnu.no/conference/conference_papers.asp?page=literatur&literaturid=348552873
- Migraciones Forzadas Revista - http://www.migracionesforzadas.org/
- FMR: Land issues in Guatemala - http://www.fmreview.org/FMRpdfs/FMR07/fmr7full.pdf
In the second half of the 1980s, the beginnings of a dialogue emerged in Guatemala which became the precursor to the peace process. This peace process was a long and fraught one, culminating in the signing of a series of peace accords, the last of which, the Firm and Lasting Agreement, was signed at the end of 1996. The package of agreements signed by the government and the URNG in December 1996 included detailed commitments on political, legislative, social, economic, agrarian, ethnic, military, and public security issues, which were bound together into a national peace agenda.
Crucial for the refugees was the signing, in October 1992 after years of negotiations, of an agreement concerning the return of refugees from Mexico between the Guatemalan government and the representatives of the refugees in Mexico, called the Permanent Commissions of Guatemalan Refugees in Mexico (CCPP). This agreement has been the foundation upon which over 36,000 refugees have returned. The agreement obliges the government to: allow the refugees to return in groups; facilitate this return process including their documentation upon return; assist these returnees to reclaim their former land or to purchase new land; and allow them the right to organize and move freely. It also includes the right to be exempted from military service for three years following their return, and to ensure only a limited military presence in areas of return (Stepputat 1994).
Repatriation and local settlement
In the Guatemalan context, 'repatriation' is generally considered
a process undertaken by individuals, as the Guatemalan government was
proposing. However, the CCPP adopted the term
'return' to describe the process which they favoured, in which communities in
Mexico would go back to Guatemala in a collective, organized, and
refugee-directed manner. It was envisaged that 'return' would enable them to
maintain their identity both culturally and as communities, and link their
subsequent development to the social transformation of Guatemala as a whole.
The returnees were provided some protection by the presence of international
observers and development projects aimed at reintegrating them into the economy
and society generally (
In 1998, the Mexican government told those refugees still residing in Campeche and Quintana Roo that they could stay permanently and would eventually be entitled to Mexican citizenship. They had previously been entitled only to temporary work visas with no provision to adjust their status. The new Migration Stabilization Plan, funded by the UNHCR, set forth steps for the refugees to change their status and allow them legally to remain permanently in Mexico. The plan permits them to move freely in Mexico without the need for permission; to seek work as any Mexican would; and to have the right to live outside the camps or in settlements. The refugees in Campeche and Quintana Roo who are in settlements have mainly elected to remain where they currently reside and many are trying to purchase small plots of land.
- CERLAC Working Paper Series - http://www.yorku.ca/cerlac/papers/pdf/Hanlon.pdf
The peace accords were signed over a three-year period between March 1994 and the end of 1996. Formally, the peace negotiations only involved the participation of the government, the armed forces, and the URNG, with input from the Coordinating Committee of Farming, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations (CACIF). Civil society played a critical role in the form of the Assembly of Civil Society (ASC). However, the ASC was only allowed to make proposals to the official participants in the talks, not to negotiate at the table.
At the time, the ASC was made up of representatives of the following sectors of Guatemalan society: the National University of Guatemala, political parties, research centres, indigenous organizations, women's organizations, journalists, human rights groups, development NGOs, unions, religious institutions, and uprooted populations. The women's sector comprised over thirty women's groups including representatives of trade unions, academia, feminist groups, human rights, and indigenous organizations.
The first accord to be signed was the Global Accord on Human Rights in March 1994, the only agreement that was subject to immediate implementation. Following this signing, the Guatemalan government and the URNG together requested to the UN Secretary-General that he establish a mission to verify the implementation of the accord. The Mission for the Verification of Human Rights in Guatemala (MINUGUA) was deployed in November 1994, with the purpose of verifying the Global Accord on Human Rights and to strengthen key governmental and non-governmental institutions.
The Agreement for the Resettlement of Populations Uprooted by the Armed Conflict, signed in June 1994, was generally seen as sufficient in its commitments to address the needs and concerns of returning refugees and internally displaced people. This accord establishes guarantees for the resettlement of communities, including protection of the rights of the indigenous population. It commits the government to providing uprooted populations with access to means of production, food security, social infrastructure, legal documentation, and employment and local markets, as well as training in the use of resources and in management skills. It also calls for the urgent removal of mines and explosives. Importantly, the accord recognizes female-headed households as in particular need of protection, and widows and orphans as the most affected. The government also commits itself to eliminating discrimination, both legal and attitudinal, in preventing women gaining access to land, housing, and credits, and participating in development projects. However, it has been criticized for failing to establish mechanisms to facilitate the fulfilment of these commitments (ASC 1995).
Other accords include the Agreement for the Establishment of the Commission for the Historical Clarification (CEH) of Human Rights Violations and Acts of Violence which have caused Suffering to the Guatemalan People, which was signed in June 1994. Aimed at contributing to national reconciliation, preserving the memory of the victims of the conflict, and promoting a culture of mutual respect, the Commission's findings did not apportion individual responsibility, nor were its investigations and recommendations to have judicial ramifications.
In parallel, the Guatemalan Archbishop's Human Rights Office (ODHA) established an alternative 'truth commission' called the Recovery of the Historic Memory (RHEMI). This investigation took thousands of testimonies from people all over Guatemala. On 24 April 1997, the project presented the findings of its three-year investigation into human rights abuses committed during the conflict. This impressively comprehensive report named many of the conflict's victims, and blames the army and PACs for perpetrating most of the killings. Two days after the report's publication, the project's coordinator, Bishop Juan José Gerardí, was murdered.
A significant step forward in the peace negotiations occurred in
March 1995, with the signing of the Accord on the Identity and Rights of
Indigenous People. Regarded by many analysts as unique in the history of Latin
America, this agreement recognized Guatemala as a multi-ethnic, pluricultural,
and multilingual society in which the indigenous peoples have particularly
suffered discrimination, exploitation, and injustice. It pledged to eradicate
discrimination by creating laws making discrimination on an ethnic basis
illegal, by abolishing discriminatory legislation, and by publicizing
indigenous rights. In addition, it made sexual harassment of indigenous women a
crime, and created an organization to defend the rights of indigenous women, to
educate the population regarding the UN Convention on the Elimination of all
Forms of Discrimination against Women, and to guarantee the approval,
implementation, and compliance with ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal
Peoples (which was finally ratified in November 1996). The government also
agreed officially to recognize indigenous languages in Guatemala's
Constitution, incorporating them in the education system, social services, the
courts, and public programmes (
The Accord on Socioeconomic Aspects and the Agrarian Situation was signed in May 1996. This agreement attempted to tackle issues which are regarded by some as the fundamental root causes of the conflict. However, the URNG is seen as having made large concessions in signing this accord, especially on agrarian reform, so as to bring the negotiations to a hurried conclusion and thus allow for their own participation in the political system. The accord allowed for the setting up of a Trust Fund for Land, but contained no constitutional or legislative reforms to address the grossly unequal distribution of land.
In September 1996, an accord was signed which agreed to strengthen civilian power and redefine the role of the armed forces in a democratic society. Here the 44,000-strong army committed itself to reducing its number by a third and cutting its budget significantly. The armed forces had demobilized the PACs by late 1996, although there was some criticism at the lack of international verification of this process and claims that not all weapons had been handed in. There were also allegations that key organizational structures had been maintained, which allowed the army to continue to wield considerable power and influence in communities (EIU 1998). Indeed, the army also came under much criticism for non-fulfilment in the demobilization of its own forces.
The final accord in the peace negotiations, the Accord for Firm and Lasting Peace, was signed on 29 December 1996. The signing marked the end of the negotiation process, a formal end to the conflict, and the beginning of the implementation of all the other accords (apart from the Human Rights Accord which became effective immediately upon its signing). In 1997 the URNG became a legal political party.
Mexico's accession to the 1951 Convention on Refugees and the 1967 Protocol in April 2000 was an important step forward for the protection of refugees. Guatemalan refugees still residing in Mexico continued to integrate, largely through naturalization.
In 2000, the Network for the Protection and Assistance of Refugees and Asylum Seekers ( Red de Protección y Asistencia a Refugiados y Asilados, REPARA) was set-up. It consists of over twenty key government ministries and departments, as well as church groups, NGOs, academic groups, and human rights organizations.
- CEH - http://shr.aaas.org/guatemala/ceh/report/english/toc.html (Summary - English)
- http://shr.aaas.org/guatemala/ceh/gmds_pdf/index.html (Full version - Spanish)
- FMR: Historical Memory article - http://www.fmreview.org/FMRpdfs/FMR02/fmr2full.pdf
Guatemala is a country with many volcanoes, some of which remain active. By far the most destructive disaster in recent history was the earthquake of 4 February 1976. It killed 22,000 people, mostly the poor living in unsafe housing in the rural highlands or in squatter settlements in Guatemala City. The middle and upper classes were left virtually unscathed, leading one New York Times journalist to describe it as a 'class-quake'. Some 1,200 were killed and 90,000 made homeless in Guatemala City alone. It was exceedingly difficult for the indigenous people affected and those living in slums to obtain post-disaster relief from the government. In the years that followed, official recovery widened the gap between rich and poor, fuelling the resentment of the impoverished as well as the insurgency. The earthquake highlighted the disparities in landownership in the country and the degree of vulnerability of the majority. By 1980, the elite were under increasing pressure to introduce land reform, and as a result community workers and NGOs working with disaster victims were seen as a threat. One response was the assassination of construction workers and health workers by right-wing death squads.
In late 1998, Hurricane Mitch struck Central America, causing devastating destruction to life and property in Honduras, but also causing serious damage to the agricultural sector in Guatemala. The rapid response of the emergency services through preventative evacuation meant that loss of life in Guatemala as a result of the hurricane was limited to a few hundred. The main affected area in Guatemala was the south coast, where the damage to infrastructure, crops, housing, schools, and health clinics was estimated at US$550 million.
- The Disaster Center - http://www.disastercenter.com/hurricmr.htm
- USAID - http://hurricane.info.usaid.gov/updates/mitch_english.pdf; http://www.state.gov/www/regions/wha/mitch_index.html
The most notorious case of state-sanctioned abuse against the civilian population in favour of a development project in Guatemala involved not only the displacement of villagers but also their large-scale massacre. On 13 March 1982, the Guatemalan military and PACs slaughtered 107 children and 70 women in the isolated community of Rio Negro. This was the third and largest of five massacres committed against this community for their refusal to leave their lands to enable the construction of the Chixoy Dam. The flooding of the reservoir began a few months after the last massacre. This project was funded by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. The World Bank's subsequent internal inquiry absolved it of any responsibility.
The survivors of Rio Negro never received adequate compensation for the land, homes, and personal property they lost, much less reparations for the violence perpetrated against them. Survivors continue to seek such compensation and reparations through legal actions against the Guatemalan government and the World Bank.
- International Rivers Network - http://www.irn.org/index.html
Needs and Responses
The impact of civil war and violence in Guatemala has been differentially experienced by women and men; by rural and urban inhabitants; by indigenous and ladino. Very few women participated in the conflict as combatants but almost all women in rural areas, who are also mainly indigenous, were directly affected by it. The large numbers of widows and orphans is one indication of this.
Men were not assaulted by continous violence coming from the same directions, in the way that women were. Nor did similar violent acts resonate with men and women in the same way. For example, a son remembering a violent, drunken father who abused his wife would not normally identify with the victim to the same degree as a daughter would, unless perhaps the son had been particularly close to his mother. (Children are usually encouraged to identify with adults of the same sex.)
During the conflict, women in general took on a far more active role in decision-making, taking risks and dealing with the hostile external world. Many had considerable influence in deciding whether or not to move during La Violencia.
Refuge has led to profound transformations in gender relations and in the lives of women, giving rise to a new 'exile culture'. This is particularly true of the women who lived in camps in Mexico, whether or not they were heads of households. Even those living outside the camps, and especially those who were seeking employment, had to adopt Mexican dress codes and learn Spanish, which disproportionately affected women.
In order to survive, these women (most of them indigenous), had to assume new responsibilities and roles which contrasted dramaticly with their earlier experiences. Before being displaced and thrown upon their own resources, they had been expected to be subservient to men, to work long hours and in some cases to accept maltreatment. They were unaccustomed to taking responsibility, since the very strict sexual division of roles had excluded them from decision-making. Few of them had any education, were literate or able to speak Spanish.
Male authority was undermined in the camps. Even if a man was the head of a household, his partner was often no longer economically dependent upon him; he was unlikely to be a wage earner and his household received its support, at least initially, from UNHCR.
However, the process of return to Guatemala has been more difficult than these women who experienced exile could have anticipated. They have encountered the problem of lack of adequate infrastructure, making it very hard for them to meet basic needs. The rebuilding of homes and communities is proving to be an arduous process which makes extraordinary demands on time and energy. As a consequence, women have seen their domestic workload increase.
Just as refuge had opened up spaces for women to experiment with new concepts and practices of their gender identity, the return was seen by women's groups as a further opportunity for growth. Many women believe refuge, despite the significant material and emotional losses, had a positive impact on their lives through their relative empowerment, and they thought the return process could provide a similar opportunity. Many returnee women went back to Guatemala literate and with an awareness of their rights and heightened self-esteem. There was also potential for these women to share their skills and experience with women who had not been in exile.
However, it appears that, on returning to Guatemala, men are reclaiming their traditional positions of authority over women. Violence against women has further increased, said to be in part because of men's greater access to alcohol, which was prohibited in many refugee camps in Mexico. The right of membership to community organisations is reserved for men and widowed or single mothers. Refugee and returnee organisations are still male-dominated.
Illiteracy is still one of the problems most frequently cited by
women and the level of education among all women, including refugee and
returnee women, remains low. According to one survey, 66% of women cannot read
or write, a percentage which might be higher since many women who consider
themselves literate have great difficulties with written Spanish. This is
higher amongst the more monolingual groups with more deeply rooted cultural
The issue of land ownership, one of the root causes of conflict, can particularly be a problem for women. In practice, they have access to credit and land only as members of a family group, which essentially makes women invisible since land is registered only in the husband's name. Since these practices are culturally rooted and appear to be 'normal', women tend not to claim ownership rights. When they do, there are no administrative mechanisms to enforce them.
Among women-headed households, those headed by widows face a series of particular problems and hardships. Widows are disadvantaged by virilocal residence patterns, the tendency to patrilineal inheritance, the sexual division of labour and a lack of employment opportunities for women. The high level of loss of male kin suffered by some households only exacerbated these problems. The war widow, and those close to her, became stigmatised and isolated; her children were often labelled as 'children of the guerrilla'.
The highly restrictive nature of female employment opportunities means that child labour, however minimal, is often the main source of income in many female-headed households. Boys and girls are often put to work prematurely by mothers and grandmothers, usually boys as wage-earners and girls carrying out more domestic duties. Boys as young as seven are sent to seek employment in rural areas or on the coast, where possible accompanied by an adult relative or by other boys of a similar age. In the towns and cities such boys can be found shining shoes, selling ice cream or sliced fruit and helping on street stalls; on the coast they harvest coffee and cotton on the fincas there.
Girls either accompany and assist their mothers if they go to the fincas or are sent to work as maids in urban areas. The practice of sending girls to work in domestic service increased during and after the conflict. Parents, in general, are reluctant to let their children go, fearing harsh treatment, abuse and that they would pick up bad habits from the ladinos. However, economic necessity has often obliged families to let them go.
A pervasive problem in Guatemala is the issue of street children
and the hardships and abuses they endure. They are estimated to number between
1,500 and 5,000; most of them live in Guatemala City. Some 20 to 30 per cent
are thought to be girls. An estimated 65 per cent are aged between 10 and 17
- Casa Alianza - http://www.casa-alianza.org/EN/index-en.shtml
- Save the Children - Guatemala - http://www.savethechildren.net/guatemala/index1.html
- Human Rights Watch - Guatemala's Forgotten Children (1997) - http://www.savethechildren.net/guatemala/index1.html
The role the Government of Guatemala played in facilitating the return process and the reintegration of returnees and displaced people was carried out by a series of government and non-government organisations and was often poorly uncoordinated.
The Guatemalan government, The Special Commission for Attention to Refugees and Repatriates (CEAR) and UNHCR developed a three phase plan for the return of refugees under the International Conference on Refugees in Central America (CIREFCA). The first phase was the reception of returnees and the provision of emergency aid. The second phase involved projects funded by CIREFCA and the UN Programme for People Displaced, Refugees and Repatriates in Central America (PRODERE), such as primary health care, agriculture and literacy programmes. The third phase involved long term sustainable development to be implemented by the government in collaboration with NGOs. The National Fund for Peace (FONAPAZ) was set up by the government to finance development in the regions to which the refugees were expected to return. Aware that the government did not have the financial or human resources to implement the extensive reconstruction and development programmes needed, CEAR attempted to collaborate with NGOs. But suspicious of CEAR links to the military, NGOs were reluctant to work with them. Conversely, the government and armed forces were resentful of NGOs' ability to work with the rural poor and were hostile towards them.
In Guatemala, numerous social funds were established during the 1990s, the largest of which are FONAPAZ and the Social Investment Fund (FIS). Both use a decentralised model designed to involve municipalities, grassroots groups, NGOs and the private sector in carrying out local projects. FIS is a semi-autonomous agency, which works in poor rural areas. FIS has received international support from the World Bank and other donors such as Germany and Japan. Verification that funds administered through FIS actually go to where they are intended for, has been raised as an issue in the past by some observers.
The National Commission for Attention to Returnees, Refugees and Displaced People (CEAR) is the government institution providing assistance to the displaced and formerly displaced. It is mainly concerned in the actual physical return of refugees and assisting them in accessing land. Internally, CEAR works principally with INTA and externally with COMAR and UNHCR. One of CEAR's main constraints has been its relatively small staff. CEAR is also mandated to establish projects to reintegrate returnees into the economy and to prevent conflict with existing communities. It also has a role in facilitating returnees' access to land, food aid, health services, legal documentation, housing and infrastructure. CEAR has been criticised for providing insufficient, poor quality food and inadequate shelter materials.
In collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), CEAR has been providing credit for agricultural production. In this activity, it has been criticised for assisting only returnees and not the local community who are also in need. Communities also complain that in this programme, CEAR and IICA make it very easy to gain access to credit in principle, but then do not respond to requests submitted to them.
Obstacles to CEAR's work in the reintegration of returnees include poor infrastructure, lack of planning and scarce human resources. In 1993, CEAR had just one project specifically directed at women, which was providing housing in the Ixcal Triangle.
FONAPAZ was established in 1991 to provide socioeconomic rehabilitation assistance to refugees, returnees, internally displaced, the demobilised as well as those people who remained in their communities during the armed conflict. It is not an implementing agency, but acts as an intermediary between the municipalities, NGOs and local committees. FONAPAZ targeted some assistance to widows and orphans, mainly in the form of housing.
Non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations
There were estimated to be 1,500 NGOs in Guatemala providing
different forms of assistance, at the time of the signing of the final peace
Beginning in 1989, the governments of Central America in collaboration with UN agencies, held a conference to discuss the adoption of an integrated approach to resolving the conflicts in the region and linking this process to the provision of sustainable development assistance for refugees, returnees and the internally displaced. The International Conference on Central American Refugees (CIREFCA) evolved into a five-year process of providing assistance to displaced people and formerly displaced people all over the region. In Guatemala, the process facilitated improved relations between the government and NGOs, and gradually allowed for the participation of NGOs in CIREFCA, before it concluded in 1994.
A regional network of NGOs, which became ARMIF in 1990, was set up to participate in the CIREFCA process. In the post-CIREFCA period, ARMIF retained an important role and widened the definition of the uprooted to include ex-combatants. The Coordination of NGOs and Cooperatives Accompanying the Population Affected by the Internal Armed Conflict (COORDINACION) was formed in 1992 to facilitate the return of refugees from Mexico and other neighbouring countries. Through such organisations, as well as the ASC, NGOs became not only project implementers but also assumed important roles in lobbying and national policy development.
In Guatemala, UNHCR had a clearly defined role in assisting in the process of the voluntary return of refugees from Mexico and the implementation of assistance projects for them. This continued until the organized return programme ceased in 2000, and UNHCR massively scaled down its operations in the country. During the 1990s, it carried out its work by financing projects through NGOs. Thus UNHCR's presence in the country of return and work with returnees is legitimised and formalised in agreements with the government. UNHCR solicits the technical assistance of other UN agencies, notably FAO, ILO, OMS, UNDP, UNESCO and WFP. UNHCR provides returnees with money in cash, food for nine months, agricultural tools, minimum technical assistance, and cooking utensils.
In February 1992, UNHCR in collaboration with international, regional and local NGOs as well as UNDP, staged a conference on refugee, returnee and internally displaced women in the CIREFCA context, known as FoReFem. Refugee women were represented at FoReFem by Mamá Maquín and La Nueva Union and were successful in overcoming government hostility to the resulting plan of action for gender-oriented work.
In 1995, UNHCR began to provide technical assistance to refugee organisations conditional on women becoming co-owners - with their partners - of land, to ensure the protection of women and their children, and the participation of women into the decision-making process. In their 1996 mission plan to adopt a gender focus, UNHCR's principal objectives and activities included the following:
· Facilitating the process of integration of returnee women in cooperatives by supporting their efforts to participate in the purchase of land. It intends to do this by providing training for trainers and in producing materials as well as providing transport and food for meetings and workshops to exchange experiences and ideas on integrating women in cooperatives.
· Facilitating dialogue between returnee women and Guatemalan NGOs by making available a directory of NGOs working in returnee communities.
· Strengthening the role of women in the process of development by organising training courses in project management, increasing the number of women development promoters and adopting a gender approach in Quick Impact Projects (QIPs).
· Integrating UNHCR's gender approach in all its activities in Guatemala and ensure their sustainability.
· Training its own personnel in issues of gender and development and also to sensitise implementing agencies, donors, accompaniers and the press on gender issues.
· Coordinating all activities with a gender focus at a regional level to optimise this process.
Since 1992, UNHCR has been providing assistance to returnees all over Central America through its QIPs. QIPs are small UNHCR-financed projects in returnee communities, administered by an international NGO and implemented by national NGOs and the Church. These projects are targeted at both the returnees and the local population.
In Guatemala, not wishing to be seen as taking sides in the dispute
between returnees and the land's current occupiers, UNHCR has avoided
implementing QIPs in places where there is a conflict over land ownership.
Since QIPs require community participation, they have not been successful in
communities in which people are unsure that they will settle. Participation of
women in projects has been limited in large part by gender discrimination in
communities. Although a gender approach is in principle an integral element of
QIPs, in Guatemala the participation of women in projects has been limited by
existing patterns of gender discrimination (
QIPs have been criticised for affording women insufficient information about their ability to participate in projects, and are often coordinated by the NGO in collaboration with Spanish-speaking community members who are not necessarily part of the community's recognised leadership. In addition, projects are progressing to advanced stages without a contract having been signed and without responsibilities being allocated. In practice, these problems prevent or discourage the participation of women in QIPs.
Since 1994, the EU, with the US, has been the largest donor of aid to Guatemala. In January 1996, the total cost of projects being executed was US$ 415 million. Prior to 1996, the EU focused its donations to Guatemala in two areas: first, financial and technical assistance, in particular through a series of rural development projects for the poorer areas most affected by the conflict; second, emergency action, self sufficiency programmes and support for specialist organisations to facilitate return. A less expensive area of activity involves supporting the democratisation process and providing assistance for non-traditional exports to the European market. Currently the EU has 98 projects being implemented, or soon to be implemented, in Guatemala. Most of these projects are administered by international NGOs and implemented by national ones, though some are implemented through governmental agencies. The projects are concentrated in the departments of Quiché, Alta Verapaz, Huehuetenango and Sololá.
The Catholic Church has actively supported and assisted the return process through the Mediation Committee, declarations of the Bishops' Conference and participation in the Religious Conference of Guatemala (CONFREGUA). The Church provides assistance in the form of housing, drinking water, food and in agricultural production to the internally displaced population which it regards as particularly vulnerable and without support.
Various international NGOs, such as Christian Aid and CAFOD, have assisted refugees and communities inside Guatemala. Many of these programmes focus on health and educational development, including radio programming in indigenous languages, credit and agricultural development. No detailed information is available on the gender implications of these programmes. By mid-1997, Action Aid, Oxfam and Christian Aid all plan to have representatives based in Guatemala.
Despite the repression, grassroots organisations and the peace and human rights movement in Guatemala has a strong rural, as well urban, base. These groups are mainly calling for demilitarisation, genuine democratisation and social and economic reform. Women's organisations hope that such reconstituting of the Guatemalan state and society will enable women to maintain gains made in refuge and will create the space for other emergent feminist demands.
Women's presence in the new social movements, however, has been significant, especially in those which advocate respect for human rights and reject impunity and forced recruitment by the army to the civil patrols. Women have used their gender identities as wives and mothers as the pretext for entry into the public arena on issues such as human rights. There is also a strong presence of women in grass-roots movements and neighbourhood or peasant organisations which struggle for land, housing, health, sanitation and other basic social services.
More recently, in the context of debates in the ASC, which brought together different women's organisations among others, an incipient and very heterogeneous women's movement has emerged. Many of these have the official status of an NGO. Others are 'feminist' groups which advocate on behalf of women's rights. The women's sector of the ASC has managed to remain relatively consolidated.
The Mutual Support Group (GAM) was initiated by a group of mainly indigenous wives and mothers of 'disappeared' men. It has campaigned for the creation of a Truth Commission to investigate killings and disappearances. Since it was set-up in the mid 1980s, GAM has been targeted by military and security forces. During the peace negotiations and beyond, the principal organisations of refugee/returnee women were Mamá Maquín, Ixmucane, Madre Tierra and ARDIGUA. Through these groups, the participation of refugee women in public life is gradually changed. Although, upon return, there strong moves to return to traditional roles and values. Many of the advances made by refugee/returnee women, and Guatemalan women more broadly, were under considerable threat.
- UNHCR Evaluation - http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home/+QwwBmepX269wwwwwwwwwwwwhFqo20I0E2gltFqoGn5nwGqrAFqo20I0E2glcFqzH1wBnMwcwDzmxwwwwwww/opendoc.pdf
- Health: Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS) - http://www.paho.org/default_spa.htm
- Instituto de Nutrición de Centro América y Panamá - http://www.incap.org.gt/
- Human Rights: Amnesty International: Guatemala's Lethal Legacy: Past impunity and renewed human rights violations - http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engAMR340012002?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES\GUATEMALA?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES\GUATEMALA
- US Department of State: Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2002 - http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18333pf.htm
Prensa Libre - http://www.prensalibre.com/pls/prensa/index.jsp
Siglo Veintiuno - http://www.sigloxxi.com/
Other electronic resources
Casa Alianza - http://www.casa-alianza.org/EN/about/offices/guatemala/
Foundation for Human Rights in Guatemala (FHRG) - http://www.fhrg.org/
Guatemala Human Rights Commission - http://www.ghrc-usa.org/
Guatemala News and Information Bureau (GNIB) - http://www.nisgua.org/gnib/
Guatemala Scholars Network News - http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/Anthro/GSN/0298news.htm
Human Rights Watch: Guatemala's Forgotten Children (1997) - http://www.savethechildren.net/guatemala/index1.html
Inforpress Centroamericana - http://www.inforpressca.com/inforpress/
Inforpress Central America Report - http://www.inforpressca.com/CAR/
Law Library of Congress - http://www.loc.gov/law/guide/guatemala.html
LANIC - University of Texas resources - http://www.lanic.utexas.edu/la/ca/guatemala/
The Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) - http://www.nisgua.org/about.htm
Nunca Mas - http://remhichicago.fhrg.org/
University of Georgetown: Constitution of Guatemala - http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Guate/guate.html
University of Georgetown: Political Parties - http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Parties/Resumen/Guate/desc.html
US Department of State: Country Report on Human Rights Practices - http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/wha/775.htm
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) - http://www.wola.org/
Non-electronic resources and bibliography
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sus Demandas (1986-1992)
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Harvest of Violence: The Maya Indians and the Guatemalan Crisis,Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988.
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Refugees Organising Experience in Chiapas.
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Christians in the Indian Process,
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Agrarian Reform in Guatemala, 1944-1954,
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Counterinsurgency in Guatemala,
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