US knew of Guatemalan genocide

When Gen. Efran Ríos Montt controlled Guatemala his soldiers intensified a scorched-earth campaign across the Maya highlands begun by his predecessor in 1981 to flush out leftist guerrillas. The military marched into villages, torturing, raping and killing those who could not run away. They burned down houses and crops, and butchered livestock. Attacks on specific indigenous groups amounted to genocide. “The aim of the perpetrators was to kill the largest number of group members possible,”
Investigators concluded that the war took more than 200,000 lives over more than three decades before the 1996 peace accords. They identified the Ixil, who live in mist-shrouded hamlets here in El Quiché Department, as the hardest-hit Maya group. Between 70 and 90 percent of the Ixil villages were razed during the war’s bloodiest period, between 1981 and 1983. The truth commission documented about 7,000 Ixil deaths and estimated that more than 60 percent of the Ixil were forced to flee into the mountains, where many more died of cold, hunger and disease, or were killed when the army bombed them from the air. The proceedings will be one of the few times that any credible national court is trying a former leader on charges of genocide. “This is terror, This is a strategy to make sure that anyone and everyone who is opposed to you is afraid of you; not only now, is afraid of you forever.”

American diplomats and intelligence agencies knew that the Guatemalan Army was carrying out the massacres, even though the Reagan administration argued in public that human rights conditions were improving.

“By assuming that 100 percent were guerrillas, it is saying that everybody, men, women, children, elderly people are all enemies, and by qualifying them as enemies you are legitimizing attacks on them.” “Here’s the proof, they can’t say it’s a lie,”

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