People Commemorate The Guatemalan Genocide No One Talks About

Guatemala Genocide credit: Credit: @nowel04 / Instagram

In 2013, former Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt was convicted for crimes against humanity and genocide he committed 30 years ago against the indigenous Maya Ixil people.

Credit: @inspiractionorg / Instagram


The 89-year-old was sentenced to 80 years in prison, but three years after the trial, that verdict is still up in the air.

The Constitutional Court, pressured by the elite and the military who were afraid of their fate after Ríos Montt’s sentence, threw the verdict out and set a retrial. Human rights lawyers and two of the judges criticized the move as an absurd intervention.


Absurd to say the least, because, during the trial, victims described horrific crimes committed during Ríos Montt’s rule.

#Repost @opensocietyfoundations with @repostapp. ・・・ Massacre survivor Sebastian Iboy Osorio, 50, steers a boat on the Chixoy reservoir along with wife Magdalena Alvarax, 48, and daughters Adaly (left), 5 and Paulina, 7. Iboy Osorio, originally from the Achi Mayan community of Rio Negro, survived the massacres carried out by the Guatemalan army and civil patrolmen from neighboring Xococ against residents of Rio Negro in 1981 and 1982. Nearly 400 community members of Rio Negro were killed in four separate massacres due to the community's resistance to give up their lands and make way for the Chixoy hydroelectric project. Rio Negro, Rabinal, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala. Hello, this is James Rodríguez (@mimundo_org), Mexican-US documentary photographer based in Guatemala since 2006. This week I am honored to share images via the @opensocietyfoundations Instagram feed from my long term project on Life in Post-War Guatemala. After a brutal 36-year civil war (1960-1996) that left over 250,000 victims, the tiny Central American nation, with an Indigenous Mayan population of over 50% and one of the most violent and economically polarized societies in the western hemisphere, still reels from the harrowing conflict. All photographs have been taken with a phone. Iboy Osorio returned to Rio Negro in the early 1990s along with two other survivors and have currently grown into a community of 24 homes. Electric service was finally established in August 2015, but each house was charged 2,150 Quetzales (US $280), something they believed should be waived considering their original town was flooded to make way for a hydroelectric project. Most of the residents of Rio Negro live below poverty levels making less that US $2 per day. #opensociety #humanrights #documentary #photojournalism #postwar #guatemala #everydayguatemala #everydaylatinamerica #everydayeverywhere #genocide #ixil #achi #riosmontt #bn #bw #achi #maya #mayan #chixoy #hydro #hydroelectric #hidroelectrica #embalse #dam #reservoir #electricity #electric #electricidad

A photo posted by James Rodríguez / MiMundo.org (@mimundo_org) on

Credit: @mimundo_orga / Instagram

Men, women and children testified, describing how the women were gang-raped and how their family members were torn to pieces right in front of them. How they were forced to leave their home and escape into the jungle for years seeking safety.


In her essay for the Huffington Post, human rights activist Jo-Marie Burt said, “During Ríos Montt’s rule, the Guatemalan state’s official policy was to exterminate its indigenous population in the name of national security.” For this, Ríos Montt was to go to prison.

Credit: @jomaburt / Twitter

The verdict was a victory for the indigenous people because, as Burt says, it was “the first time a high-ranking military official was being sanctioned for grave violations of human rights in Guatemala. The first time ever a former head of state was held accountable for genocide in a domestic court of law.”


The retrial has been rescheduled many times, sometimes due to Ríos Montt’s dementia. It has also changed from a public trial to one behind doors. This, however, isn’t discouraging Guatemalans. In their eyes, the first verdict still stands, and they will continue to fight impunity.

Credit: @nobelwomen / Instagram

As Juan Francisco Soto, executive director of the Center for Legal Action for Human Rights, says, “What is surprising is that we were able to bring the case to court and see it through. We proved in a court of law that there was a genocide in Guatemala.” Even though the verdict was overturned by dirty legal moves, “For us,” he says, “the sentence is still valid.”

Get more details on this genocide trial here


READ: Real Life Risks Guatemala Immigrants Take to Make It to America

Don’t forget to share this story with your friends by clicking the button below!The

Facebook Comments