AMERICA/GUATEMALA - 14 soldiers arrested due to 558 forced disappearances that occurred in Guatemala

Friday, 8 January 2016


Guatemala City (Agenzia Fides) - Guatemalan authorities on Wednesday, January 6 arrested fourteen retired military linked to the forced disappearances of at least 558 people that took place in Guatemala between 1981 and 1988.
A note sent to Fides from a local source, informs that at a press conference, Guatemala's Attorney General Thelma Aldana said the arrests represent the judgment issued in March 2012 by the court investigating the massacre of the "Plan de Sánchez". In that massacre, perpetrated by army teams on July 18, 1982, 256 people were massacred, including women, children and the elderly. In March 2012, five former paramilitaries were sentenced to 7,710 years in prison for that massacre.
Thelma Aldana reported that excavations had revealed a mass grave containing 558 bodies, near a former military base in the northern province of Alta Verapaz and now houses the Regional Training Command for Peacekeeping Operations (CREOMPAZ).

A United Nations report found that in Guatemala 245 thousand people died or disappeared during the armed conflict (1960-1996).
According to the report, 97% of violent deaths were caused by the action of military and paramilitary groups.

The indigenous people in Guatemala were part of the "voiceless" population who were defended only by the Church. In 2012, the intervention of Mgr. Alvaro Ramazzini was crucial in fostering the dialogue of thousands of indigenous people with the government, following the indigenous march in Totonicapán which took place on Tuesday, October 23 (see Fides 25/10/2012).
The valuable role carried out by Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruno, Archbishop Emeritus of Guatemala, who died on June 4, 2012 is remembered as a big proponent of dialogue between the government and guerrillas. The dialogue ended with the signing of the historic "Acuerdos de Paz" (see Fides 04/01/2012) which put an end, in 1996, to 36 years of bloody internal conflict. (See Fides 06/06/2012).

(CE) (Agenzia Fides 08/01/2016)