Guatemala 2013(rev1)

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  • 1. GUATEMALASEARCH FOR JUSTICE
  • 2. 2 POST-CIVIL WAR POLITICS• 2012 – General Otto Pérez Molina is elected new President• General active during bloody Civil War wants to overturn ban on US military aid to Guatemala• Accused of massacres, kidnapping and many other human rights abuses during Civil War
  • 3. 3 POST-CIVIL WAR POLITICS• The pressure from the military to obtain financial support from the US continues• Guatemalans are hoping Molina will control the rise of drug-related violence sweeping the country• Repression continues
  • 4. 4 UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENTBourgeoisie became instrument of international capitalismMoneylenders, merchants who monopolized power had not interest in developing local manufacturers.Landlords were not trying to resolve agrarian question
  • 5. 5 UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT• Coffee became the most important crop• Bananas and sugar came later• Barrios confiscated land and resold it under a ―revived‖ repartimiento system• Died in battle trying to restore the Five- Nation Federation (Federal Republic of Central America) (1885)
  • 6. 6 UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT• By 1950’s Latin America supplied 4/5 of the coffee the world consumed• Even today, plantations have their private police force and a repressive system• It is more profitable to consume coffee than produce it
  • 7. 7 UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT• Barrios succeeded by many other other authoritarian president-dictators.• 1945-1951 -- Juan José Arévalo, a spiritual socialist decides to address some of the social problems• Launched literacy campaign, established social security, created cooperatives, built schools, hospitals and attempted agrarian reform
  • 8. 8 UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT1951-1954 - Jacobo Árbenz, Arévalos’Defense Minister was elected1952 Agrarian Reform Law - tried todevelop a peasant and agriculturalcapitalist economy
  • 9. 9 UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT• US agribusiness (United Fruit Company), landowners and Catholic Church tried to overthrow Arévalo 25 times• 1951-1954 - Jacobo Árbenz, Arévalos’ Defense Minister was elected• Arbenz pushed 1952 Agrarian Reform Law and tried to develop a peasant and agricultural capitalist economy
  • 10. 10 UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT• Law kept landowners from undervaluing their land in order not to pay taxes.• By 1954 over 100,000 families benefited from the law• United Fruit Company was only using a mere 8% of its lands• Expropriated owners were paid indemnity in bonds
  • 11. 11 VIOLENCE AND TURMOIL (1960-1996)• United Fruit Company fought back to protect interests• CIA masterminded operation to depose democratic government• The overthrow of Árbenz struck a blow to Guatemalan democracy• It created instability and tension that culminated in Civil War
  • 12. 12 VIOLENCE AND TURMOIL• Castillo Armas, a graduate of Ft. Leavenworth, invaded his own country with US assistance.• It galvanized several groups (Armed Rebel Forces (FAR), Guatemalan Labor Party (PGT).• 36-year civil war killed 200,000 and displaced about a million people
  • 13. 13 VIOLENCE AND TURMOIL (1960-1996)• 1960’s conflict was localized but quickly spread to other splinter groups• Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP), and the Revolutionary Organization of People in Arms (ORPA).
  • 14. 14 VIOLENCE AND TURMOIL (1960-1996)• Three distinct groups involved: insurgents fighting against the military military (in control of Guatemala s political, social and economic life) a series of dictatorial rulers who wanted to maintain control
  • 15. 15 VIOLENCE AND TURMOIL (1960-1996)• Tactics were different but goals were similar:  end exclusion  end discrimination  end injustices oppressing the poor Mayan majority• Guerrilla leadership were largely urbanized Ladinos
  • 16. 16 VIOLENCE AND TURMOIL (1960-1996)• 1966-1977 -- Rigged elections, right- wing squads, killing and kidnapping of journalists, students, peasant leaders• 1978-1982 -- Romeo Lucas García -- Violence continued• 25,000 murdered and disappeared
  • 17. 17 VIOLENCE AND TURMOIL (1960-1996)• Foreign intervention was extremely damaging to the process• 1976 – massive earthquake• Insurgents failed to sustain an effective rebel force• State spread terror to the countryside until 1996
  • 18. 18 VIOLENCE AND TURMOIL (1960-1996)Ríos Montt s staunch anticommunism secured his strong ties with USReagan overturned arms embargo imposed by CarterRíos Montt founded political party Guatemalan Republican Front (FGR)He tried to run in 1990 and 2003. (never tried for any crimes)
  • 19. 19 VIOLENCE AND TURMOIL (1960-1996)• 1982-1983 -- Efraín Ríos Montt, member of a California-based pentecostal/evangelical church• Burnt entire villages (Operation ―Frijoles y Fusiles‖ ―Guns and Beans‖)• 600 villages destroyed• 10,000 murdered
  • 20. 20 REBUILDING AND HEALING• International community begins to observe events more closely• 1992 – Rigoberta Menchú receives Nobel Peace Prize for her book I, Rigoberta Menchú• 1996 Alvaro Arzú wins and signs Peace Agreement ―Firm and Lasting Peace‖
  • 21. 21 REBUILDING AND HEALING• Official recognition that Guatemala is a multiethnic, multilingual and pluricultural state• Abolition of Civilian Defense Patrols• Reduction of military budget to demilitarize the country• Reforms in judicial system
  • 22. 22 TRYING TO BUILD A FUTURE• 2003 – Guatemalans rejected Ríos Montt’s candidacy• 2003-2008 – Oscar Berger, Former Mayor of Guatemala City, was elected• He tried to create a healthy investment climate by curbing crime and corruption
  • 23. 23 TRYING TO BUILD A FUTURE• Berger undertook large infrastructure projects, reorganized the police• He brought some people to justice• Guatemala – still a nest of corruption with government officials involved in crime and murder
  • 24. 24 TRYING TO BUILD A FUTURE• 2000-2004 --Alfonso Portillo Cabrera elected president (Ríos Montt puppet)• Doubled defense budget• Evidence of increased drug trafficking, illegal logging, and massive crime wave
  • 25. 25 TRYING TO BUILD A FUTURE• Guatemala has held democratic elections without interruptions• Institutionalized violence typical of the Civil War has ended• The referendum to redefine Guatemala as a multiethnic, multilingual, pluricultural society was again rejected in 1999
  • 26. 26 TRYING TO BUILD A FUTURE• 2008-2011 – Alvaro Colom president and leader of the social-democratic National Unity of Hope• Many allegations of corruption and conflicts of interest• United Nations is involved in normalizing a very corrupt judicial system
  • 27. 27 REBUILDING AND HEALING• 17 years later, results are mixed• Only a few have been prosecuted for the violence• 1999 - Bishop Juan Gerardi is killed after issuing Guatemala, Never Again!
  • 28. 28 THE MAYAS Yucatán Peninsula Guatemala Parts of Honduras Parts of El Salvador
  • 29. 29 THE MAYAS• Originally there were 28 different groups with their own languages• They shared a fairly homogenous culture
  • 30. 30 THE MAYAAD 250--900• Period of great development• Erected ceremonial temples• Construction achieved with slaves• Used no metal tools, wheel or animals
  • 31. THE MAYAS 31AD 250—900• Expert astronomers and mathematicians• Created concept of ―zero‖• Established numerical system based on the value of 20 (represented by points and lines)• Created calendar 1300 years before Christian Gregorian calendar in 1582
  • 32. 32 MAYAN WRITINGAD 250-900• Hieroglyplic writing system• Writing carved in the bark of trees and in stones.• Scribes documented deeds in murals• Stories were told in carved stones
  • 33. 33 MAYAN WRITINGSpaniards systematically destroyed most of the artifacts of Mayan writing16th century Spanish missionaries translated the Popol Vuh or Book of Wisdom
  • 34. Pre-columbian cultures 34Schematic sketch ofTikal (NorthernGuatemala)
  • 35. 35 THE MAYAS• AD 250-600 established dynastically ruled city-states.• Sacrifices (dogs, humans) (not frequent)• Deeply religious people• Beliefs tied to nature (sun, rain, moon or activities related to domestic life and work, like the Maze deity).
  • 36. 36 THE DECLINE OF THE MAYAAD 900-Conquest• Mayan civilization started to decline• Food crisis (environment, droughts)• Overpopulation• Warfare• Kings built grander temples and bankrupted cities.• Violent uprisings in different regions of the empire.
  • 37. 37 THE DECLINE OF THE MAYA900—Conquest• Villages divided by linguistic groups.• Different groups traded, farmed and fought like their ancestors.• Dominant groups - Tz’utujil, K’iche, Kaqchikel
  • 38. 38 THE DECLINE OF THE MAYAARRIVAL OF THE SPANIARDS• 1523 – Alvarado arrives sent by Cortés• Maya were weak, hungry and divided• The K’iches attempted to forge an alliance with the Kaqchikels, who in turn decided to side with the Spaniards.
  • 39. COLONIAL TIMES• Spanish power consolidated by brute force, genocide, and epidemics.• Maya population estimated at 2 million by 1560 fell to half a million and later plummeted to 130,000.• Surviving Maya were subjected to land grabs and repressive policies
  • 40. COLONIAL TIMES• Encomienda –A forced system of labor that made it possible for a few to hold large extensions of land.• Some priests began to denounce ill treatment of indigenous peoples (Fray Bartolome de las Casas).
  • 41. COLONIAL TIMES• The Spanish crown wrote new laws called repartimiento• Arrangement gave local authorities power to act as labor bosses and lend up to 4% of their land to their workers• Spaniards consolidated their power for the next 250 years
  • 42. COLONIAL TIMES• Established a sectarian, race-based system that endures until today• Catholic Church compensated work with Spanish language and religious instruction• Economic systems today trace its roots to the Spanish colonists
  • 43. 43 THE MAYAS• Ladinos – mixed Spanish-Maya, not pure Maya.• Anthropologists consider some Ladinos are Mayas who have moved up on the social scale• Creole –Guatemalan-born/Spanish heritage
  • 44. 44 INDEPENDENCE, REFORMS, DICTATORS• Mayans fought against Spanish power• 1821 rebellion to declare independence• 1823 – Guatemala formed the Federal Republic of Central America (federation included Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador).
  • 45. 45 REFORMS AND DICTATORS• 1871 – Liberals take power• 1873-1885 - Justo Rufino Barrios, a rich coffee plantation owner, becomes a ruthless dictator• His rule described as a ―Second Conquest‖• Policies abused indigenous population.
  • 46. 46 REFORMS, DICTATORS• Barrios built roads, ports, railroads• His agrarian and labor laws dispossessed the Maya of their lands and culture and forced them to work on Ladino and foreign-owned fincas• Only a minority consolidated wealth and economic power
  • 47. 47 REFORMS AND DICTATORS• As Galeano puts it ―the latifundio was consolidated as a means of plunder‖• Rafael Carrera, a Ladino, gained power by transforming episodic revolts into generalized unrest• 1844-1865 – Carrera ruled using extreme violence