"Recovering The Dead: Regaining Memory in Guatemala"
Guatemala went through a 36-year long internal armed confrontation between the army and insurrected guerrilla groups from 1960 to 1996. As a consequence, more than 200,000 people were killed or disappeared, according to the official number established by the truth commission report. The vast majority (93%) of the killings were perpetrated by the army and related paramilitary groups, while the rest were violations committed by the guerrilla. The climax of the violence executed by the Guatemalan State, through mechanisms like scorched earth and massacres, took place during the 1980s when the State indiscriminately slaughtered men, women, and children. Maya populations were targeted the most, as they were identified as the “internal enemy”, with the violence directed towards them rising to the level of genocide. Forensic teams were created in the late 1990s to exhume the human remains interred in the illegal cemeteries throughout the national territory. During this presentat ion, I will be sharing my experiences while working in one of these forensic teams.