The Guatemalan Civil War

The Guatemalan Civil War, a controversy between the Mayans and the government, was an injustice due to discrimination in the governmental system, ending in the mass genocide of the Mayan people. Not many people talk about or even know about this 36-year long catastrophe. During this terrible controversy, men, women, and children were killed due to a corrupt government.

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Countless civilians were scared throughout this whole embroilment, but some of them stood up and became There are many components that started, ended, and kept the Guatemalan Civil war going. Many of them were sad and discouraging, but there are also great events that happened, like the Mayans standing up to the corrupt Guatemalan government.

The Mayans were always poor and discriminated against by the government and others. This was huge! It caused the Mayans to revolt in opposition to the Guatemalan government. Another element of the uprising is the Guatemalan military leaders fighting and disagreeing on many conditions. The Left (civilians) grew through their military and started a rebellion against the Right (government). The United States CIA chose the Right to support. The civilians became the guerrillas of Guatemala that would go against the government. This is what started the Guatemalan Civil War and living conditions went downhill from there. There were numerous events that escalated the Guatemalan Civil War. The government played a huge part in doing so, as well as the civilians. A man known as General Jose Efrain Rios Montt was elected president in 1982. Montt started to target anyone who was under suspicion of helping the guerrillas.

From 1981 to 1982, there was a mass genocide in Ixil, Zacualpa, northern Huehuetenango, and Rabinal areas of Guatemala. Rios Montt then started something called ‘Scorched Earth’ where if a village was under suspicion, he would send in troops to burn anything that was living and destroy all the water supplies. Doing this, Montt destroyed over 600 villages. The guerrillas also continued pressuring the government, which escalated the Guatemalan Civil War even more. One key factor stood out that ended the Guatemalan Civil War once and for all. A new president was elected, whose name was Alvaro Arzu. Under the jurisdiction of Arzu, there was a Peace Accord that was signed by both sides and the 36-year turmoil was, finally, put to rest. The Peace Accord was signed and put into action in December 1996. This arrangement called for improvement on human rights for the civilians of Guatemala.

Although it was called a Peace Accord, it was more like a cease-fire. For there to be true peace, there have to be viable reforms put in place. There also has to be justice for the numerous human rights violations. The Guatemalan Civil War is also known as the Guatemalan Genocide and the Silent Holocaust. It was called given these two “nicknames” because of the thousands of civilians who died, were tortured, or were sexually violated. The Guatemalan Genocide is a real eye-opener for the rest of society as to how cruel people can be. I hope that I will never get caught up in a situation like the Guatemalan Genocide. I think because of that tragic event, people today are more careful, cautious, and even kinder to one another. Maybe not everyone was changed, but I feel that most people in the world who have either heard of or seen this happen have grown in a good way because of it. The Guatemalan Civil War was something that I thought would be excellent for this service project.

The Guatemalan people have gone through a good deal of terrible things, and I think they might need our guidance and maybe even a little of our help to get them back on track. I am hoping to help with a fundraiser that will get the Grove Church, who includes: Jeff Helpan, Jodi Helpman, Braden Henry, and Matt Huet, to go on a trip to Guatemala. They go on this trip every year to help build houses for the widows and children. This is always a huge service to the people who survived the disastrous Civil War and the survivor’s children. One year, I hope to go on this trip, so I can help these people in a way that I might not get to help anyone else. I imagine it must feel great seeing the appreciation that the Guatemalans have for you.

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