Guatemala's 'Adios' to War the US and the International Community Still Face Many Challenges

By Jonas, Susanne | The Christian Science Monitor, December 26, 1996 | Go to article overview

Guatemala's 'Adios' to War the US and the International Community Still Face Many Challenges


Jonas, Susanne, The Christian Science Monitor


As Guatemala prepares to ring in its first happy new year since 1954, many Guatemalans are torn between hope and skepticism. Hope that a negotiated end to several decades of civil war will open up space to build a new society. Skepticism because the road ahead is full of mines to be deactivated.

Guatemala's peace accords are the product of nearly six years of negotiations, moderated by the UN since 1994, between the government and the insurgent leftist Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). Overall, the accords, to be finalized in Guatemala City on Dec. 29, proclaim an unequivocal "adios" to 42 years of bloodshed, repression, and exclusionary politics. They do not guarantee socioeconomic equality or offer adequate justice to victims of human rights abuses committed primarily by the Army during the war.

However, they do promise the right to fight for those and other goals in a more democratic political arena. If fulfilled, this democratic promise would be a major achievement in Guatemala, where the 36-year civil war, Latin America's longest and bloodiest, has cost the lives of 150,000 to 200,000 unarmed civilians. The accords mean a great deal to the entire hemisphere because they close the era of cold-war civil wars that pitted leftist rebels against US-supported counterinsurgency armies. Controlling the Army The most significant accord restricts the Army's role to external defense, while creating a new civilian police force to handle internal security. It also reduces the size and budget of the Army - heretofore omnipresent, omnipotent, and the hemisphere's worst human rights violator - and subordinates it to civilian authority. Meanwhile, reforms in the judicial system are designed to end the pervasive impunity for political and common crimes. Another breakthrough is the accord on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which goes beyond anti-discrimination protections for the indigenous majority (60 percent of the population) to establish Guatemala as a multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual nation. To achieve these changes, the accords mandate major constitutional reforms. But the new Guatemala cannot be consolidated without strong support and vigilance from the international community, including the US, in the upcoming battles to guarantee the government's full compliance with the accords. Casting a shadow over Guatemala is the "El Salvador syndrome." When neighboring El Salvador signed its peace accords five years ago, the expectations were boundless. El Salvador has been significantly demilitarized and democratized. But every year since 1992, the indicators of social deterioration and violence have become more alarming. The dangers in Guatemala are even greater. It is already experiencing a crime wave (some of it organized by opponents of the peace process) and generalized citizen insecurity. Former paramilitary units throughout the countryside retain arms, and Guatemala's "peace resisters" in the Army, the private sector, and Congress remain quite powerful. If social violence worsens, these sectors could call for the Army's reinvolvement in maintaining internal security.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Guatemala's 'Adios' to War the US and the International Community Still Face Many Challenges
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.