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Terror in the Land of the Holy SpiritGuatemala Under General Efrain Rios Montt, 1982-1983$
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Virginia Garrard-Burnett

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195379648

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379648.001.0001

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Ríos Montt Earns His Place in the History Books

Ríos Montt Earns His Place in the History Books

Debates about la Violencia

(p.3) 1 Ríos Montt Earns His Place in the History Books
Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit

Virginia Garrard‐Burnett

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a narrative outline of the events that occurred during the Ríos Montt presidency. It engages with the existing literature, most of which is either anthropological or political in nature, in two main areas. These include (1) a review of the debates about the nature of the military’s scorched‐earth campaign against the indigenous Maya, and (2) a preliminary exploration of literature on genocide, to test whether the Guatemalan case does or does not constitute genocide, using a legal and a commonsense definition. The sources for this chapter are mainly secondary, constituting a review of the current literature on this period, and an analysis of the methodologies used in producing the two truth commission reports.

Keywords:   Maya, genocide, silence, truth commission, Guatemalan army, historic memory

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