Mayan Genocide In Guatemala

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Located in Central America, Guatemala has a turbulent history of violence and oppression. The beginnings of injustice trace back to the Spanish colonists who conquered the Mayans (“Guatemala “The Silent Holocaust”: The Mayan Genocide). Subsequently, the Mayan race became inferior and experienced harsh treatment and exclusion. After gaining independence from Spain in the mid 1800’s, Guatemala struggled to remain stable which led to the overthrow of the Guatemalan government in 1954 leaving a strict military regime in its place. This ultimately triggered a thirty-six year long civil war causing hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans, specifically the native Mayan peoples, to be displaced, missing, or dead. The Forced Disappearances in Guatemala …show more content…
Military involvement in government and the psychological climate instituted during the Cold War precipitated the act of genocide. Under the direction of president, Juan José Arévalo, the country made social and economic reforms to better the state. These reforms included efforts to increase educational funding, create a status of minimum wage, strengthen labor and civil rights, and redistribute land taken from peasants and workers. These acts, particularly the redistribution of land, conflicted with the interests of the U.S government, wealthy landowners, and the United Fruit Company who saw great agricultural potential in Guatemala. As a result, the CIA …show more content…
The United States continued to assist the Guatemalan government with counterinsurgency later in the war (“U.S. Counter-Terror Assistance to Guatemalan Security Forces”). The 1954 coup returned land to individual parties and banned labor unions and radical politicians in government. In effect, years of social and economic reforms were lost. This behavior was reproached by strong discontent in the general working and impoverished population. With continued corruption in the government, the illegal and underlying military system served for the benefit of privileged minorities, ignoring and opposing the poor and the Mayan population. This arrived to an ineffective judicial system that left the population struggling for social equality. In addition to the corrupt and militaristically dictated government, the stress from the anti-Soviet and anti-communist mentality of the Cold War extended into Latin America, including Guatemala, which created tension between the government and its people. As the country progressed into an inevitable state of civil war, the government’s discrimination against the democratic acts of the guerillas conducted towards the Mayan population whom were under the suspicion of being associated with guerillas and intensified into using violence. Therefore, the cause

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