Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit: Guatemala under General Efraain Raios Montt, 1982-1983

By Virginia Garrard-Burnett | Go to book overview

4
Terror

Los Colores
Si tuvieran que pintar la guerra,
¿de que color la pintarían?
Una dijo, de verde
Otra, de rojo,
Y otra, de negro
.

—Humberto Ak’abal, Raqonchi’aj: Grito

In exploring the events that took place in Guatemala under General Ríos Montt’s tenure in office, we find that the overwhelming theme that binds all of it together is violence, which runs like the warp and weft of a Mayan weaving throughout this period of history. It bears notice that, while the focus of much of this work is on state-sponsored violence, violence in Guatemala in the early 1980s was not in any sense unidirectional, nor did it operate solely in the political arena. Instead, it played out between the political Right and the political Left, the ruling class and the campesinos, and between neighbors and communities. While the focus of this chapter is on the direct effects of the military’s scorched-earth campaign of 1982–1983, Fusiles y Frijoles, it also seeks to shed light on the metaeffects of violence and the evolution of a culture, even a pathology, of violence that extended far beyond the immediate reach of political goals and ideologies.1 Here, we use the phrase not as a metaphor, but in a literal sense to understand how violence—whether meted

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Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit: Guatemala under General Efraain Raios Montt, 1982-1983
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface- Some Notes on - Appropriateness in the Writing of History vii
  • Contents xvii
  • 1 - Ríos Montt Earns His Place in the History Books 3
  • 2 - Guatemala’s Descent into Violence 23
  • 3 - Ríos Montt and the New Guatemala 53
  • 4 - Terror 85
  • 5 - "Los Que Matan En El Nombre de Dios" 113
  • 6 - Blind Eyes and Willful Ignorance 145
  • Epilogue 167
  • Notes 179
  • Bibliography 233
  • Index 255
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