The government refused to help with the burial of 49 of the victims of the 1982 massacre.
Guatemalans held a funeral march Saturday for 49 victims of a massacre committed by the Guatemalan army 33 years ago, teleSUR correspondent Santiago Boton reports.
Survivors of the massacre, commited under the dictatorship of Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, carried coffins with the remains along a main road of a remote community in Huehuetenango state.
”This is where the massacre was, this is where they burnt all the homes, where they shot everyone,” Mateo de Mateo Pedro, of the victims’ committee, told teleSUR, standing in an area that is now dirt paths and lush green forrest.
Another survivor remembered when some 300 soldiers barged into the community on July 27, 1982, and he saw them “acting like devils who had escaped from hell.”
“I saw with my own eyes, then a nine-year-old child, the army massacring children, accusing them of being guerillas, cutting off their head and sucking their blood in order to create psychological panic within the community. They raped women infront of their husbands, as punishment, as psychological torture. In a field near here, they played ball with the heads of the dead,” the protected witness, who’s identity can’t be revealed, stated.
In total, 74 people were killed that day and the next in the community, with scientific studies carried out by the Forensic Anthropological Foundation supporting survivors’ testimonies.
“We’ve recovered (the remains of) at least 49 individuals, but the problem is that we don’t have complete bones … we have a piece of skull, a piece of a femur, a bit of rib, and so on,” explained Jose Suasnavar, from the foundation.
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Although the remains were exhumed in 2009, it has taken this long to carry out a burial, according to the families, because the Guatemalan government has refused to fulfill its responsibility to give the victims dignity. Instead, the International Red Cross has helped the families out.
The Guatemalan civil war begun in 1960 and lasted 36 years. The government waged war on various leftist groups that were mainly supported by Mayan indigenous people and by campesinos.
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