Acts of Genocide
Using the National Security Doctrine as its justification, and acting in the name of anti-communism, crimes were committed which include the kidnapping and assassination of political activists, students, trade unionists and human rights advocates, all categorised as “subversives”; the forced disappearance of political and social leaders and poor peasants; and the systematic use of torture.
During most of the internal armed confrontation, attempts to form organisations for the defence of human rights resulted in the elimination of their leaders. In the 1980s, the appearance of new groups of human rights defenders in various areas was received by the State with intensive repression which resulted in the murder or disappearance of many of their members.
The CEH concludes that agents of the State of Guatemala, within the framework of counterinsurgency operations carried out between 1981 and 1983, committed acts of genocide against groups of Mayan people which lived in the four regions analysed.
These massacres and the so-called scorched earth operations, as planned by the State, resulted in the complete extermination of many Mayan communities, along with their homes, cattle, crops and other elements essential to survival. The CEH registered 626 massacres attributable to these forces.
The Role of the United States
The United States demonstrated that it was willing to provide support for strong military regimes in its strategic backyard. In the case of Guatemala, military assistance was directed towards reinforcing the national intelligence apparatus and for training the officer corps in counterinsurgency techniques, key factors which had significant bearing on human rights violations during the armed confrontation.