Gratified, blogger Juan José Guerrero wrote: “I was surgeon in the Coban Regional Hospital when you (Ríos Montt) were the de facto government leader. The cadavers that arrived at the morgue – when they arrived – seemed to have come out of a diabolical nightmare: women raped and pathologically tortured beforehand; children ripped open.”
A 36 year civil war ended in 1996 with peace accords signed both by the government and guerrilla insurgents known asGuatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG). The war emerged out of chaos following CIA overthrow of an elected government in 1954 bent on mild land reform. Except during the Carter administration, U.S. support for the government side included military advisors, CIA operatives, military hardware, and funding. Both governments advanced the pretext of anti-communism.
The Guatemalan Conference of Bishops arranged for documentation of humanitarian catastrophe through the “Recovery of Historical Memory” (REMHI) project, led by Bishop Juan José Gerardi. The REMHI report “Guatemala: Nunca Mas,” issued on April 24, 1998, described eradication of 440 Mayan communities and the killing of 200,000 mostly unarmed, indigenous civilians. Blame fell largely upon the army and national government.