the war


It was to fight these injustices that we chose to join the guerilla movement.

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reburial The 36 year war that gripped Guatemala was a violent one ...

one in which everyone was a victim.  Countless cases of torture, assassination, abuse, disappearances and threats were lived through by the members of this community and by the country as a whole.  By its end, the war had left 200,000 people dead, 40,000 missing or ‘disappeared’, and over 1 million people internally displaced.  In their report Guatemala, Memory of Silence, the Commission for Historical Clarification concluded that the Guatemalan State was responsible for 93% of the violence, whose victims were 83% Mayan.  Along with this blatant violence, the majority of Guatemalan people also suffered (and many still suffer) from low wages, a plantation system that prevents social and educational development, and racism.  It was to fight these injustices that we chose to join the guerilla movement.

We joined the movement at different times, in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, and we also joined from different regions of the country.  During the war we lived in the mountains, moving from encampment to encampment, evading the always-approaching army, planning and executing attacks, occupying the plantations of abusive landowners, and giving talks in rural communities.  Why did we fight?  We fought for a different society, one where just wages would be paid to both men and women, where our indigenous heritage would be honored not repressed, where we could express ourselves culturally and represent ourselves politically, one where we could lead dignified lives.  For this dream we suffered and saw many of our friends and family fall.

After the Signing of the Peace and the end of the war in 1996, the Guatemalan government and the guerilla organization-turned political party the URNG (Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unit), signed an accord for the incorporation of the former fighters into legal society.  Approximately 2,900 combatants were demobilized, the majority of which returned to their community of origin.   Some 500 combatants were left without a place to return to and the government; the URNG and the international community began looking for a solution.  Through a loan from Fondo de Tierras (Land Fund), the present members of this community were able to first organize, then buy and later settle in the finca Santa Anita la Unión.