Guatemala: Evidence of human rights abuses released

Issue 

The article below is abridged from a March 17 statement by the National Security Archive, which is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at the George Washington University. The NSA is calling for the release of military files and an investigation into the "intellectual authors" of the abduction and disappearance of activists by the US-backed military dictatorships in the 1980s.

A veteran Guatemalan human rights campaigner, Raul Molina-Mejia, will be among the international guests at the World at a Crossroads conference in Sydney, April 10-12. For more information, or to register, visit http://www.worldatacrossroads.org.

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Following a stunning breakthrough in a 25-year-old case of political terror in Guatemala, the National Security Archive today is posting declassified US documents about the
disappearance of Edgar Fernando Garcia, a student leader and trade union activist captured by Guatemalan security forces in 1984.

The documents show that Garcia's capture was an organised political abduction orchestrated at the highest levels of the Guatemalan government.

The dormant case was brought back to life earlier this month when Guatemalan authorities used evidence found in the massive archives of the former National Police to arrest two police officers (one active duty, one retired), charging them with kidnapping, illegal detention and abuse of duty.

According to the Historical Clarification Commission, 200,000 unarmed civilians died during Guatemala's brutal internal conflict — and 40,000 were estimated to have "disappeared".

The US records published today provide illuminating details on the government campaign of terror designed to destroy Guatemala's urban and rural social movements during the 1980s that led to abduction of hundreds of labour leaders.