The Quiet Revolutionaries: Seeking Justice in Guatemala by Frank M. Afflitto

By Frank M. Afflitto

The final 3 a long time of the 20 th century introduced relentless waves of dying squads, political kidnappings, and different traumas to the folk of Guatemala. many folks fled the rustic to flee the violence. but, on the comparable second, a favored circulation for justice introduced jointly not going bands of behind-the-scenes heroes, blurring ethnic, geographic, or even classification lines.

The Quiet Revolutionaries is drawn from interviews performed by way of Frank Afflitto within the early Nineteen Nineties with greater than 80 survivors of the state-sanctioned violence. accrued lower than usually life-threatening situations, the observations and reminiscences of those inspiring women and men shape a special standpoint on collective efforts to provide switch in politics, legislation, and public cognizance. tested from numerous views, from sociological to historic, their tales shape a wealthy ethnography. whereas it's nonetheless too quickly to inform no matter if strong, long term democracy will be triumphant in Guatemala, the successes of those attention-grabbing contributors offer a distinct realizing of progressive resistance.

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70 One cannot look at the CIA’s role as the only culpable one in the military coup and change of government. Eastern ladino Guatemalans were to lose status as European descendants due to the land reform that benefited the majority indigenous population in the western highlands and coastal areas. A racist dimension to ladino dissatisfaction cannot be ignored nor downplayed. In addition, as we have alluded above, in a predominantly agricultural nation, land is the foundation of all wealth. The large plantation owners on the southwestern coastal plains were to be economically hurt with the land reform, even if only symbolically at first.

The old, landed elites had neither the ability nor desire to govern. Rather, they clung to making money. 81 Under such an arrangement, democratic solutions to Guatemala’s social problems were unlikely. 82 As 1960 ended, things had not changed much. indb 21 5/30/07 12:43:10 PM 22 the qui e t re vol uti onari e s an insurrection from within Guatemala’s military elite. ” 83 But left untouched was the hegemony of the military. ” 84 The revolt was unsuccessful, mainly because the rank-and-file members of the army failed to join the insurrection.

In a broader sense, I felt that I was contributing in an activist manner to the detailed, scientific exposure of state-sanctioned terrorism. My closeness to the activities of those I was researching was not without some cost. My approach to the research undoubtedly resulted in a loss of some objectivity. I had taken a decided stance against what I perceived to be Guatemalan state-sanctioned terrorism prior to commencing the field research. As a result, I arrived in Guatemala with a fixed set of beliefs and perceptions that may have clouded my understanding or my interpretation or my ability to disbelieve some of what people told me, especially with respect to the government’s “deaf ear” regarding impunity and continuing violence.

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