Thursday, July 3, 2008

After a night in the Las Palmas Hotel, where we failed to dry any of our clothes that were drenched in the previous evening's shower, we set off for ADIVIMA to learn of the tragic history of this region. We met Juan de Dios Garcia, who described with remarkable calmness the terrible massacres that took place in villages around Rabinal, including Rio Negro, where 107 children and 70 women were killed in one day in 1982. The resistance of the indigenous population to losing their land to a hydroelectric project was ruthlessly suppressed by the army. In many cases, it is known who were responsible for these atrocities, but they continue to work in the army and government with impunity. Juan de Dios is still investigating these crimes, painstakingly collecting the evidence of exactly what happened in the deaths of thousands of people. What was most remarkable was that he does so without seeking vengeance. His organization opposes the death penalty - they only want justice so that the history of violence can be stopped. Sadly, although the worst atrocities occurred during the Civil War, which is now over, there are still similar land disputes throughout the country. We also visited a museum where pictures of many of the victims were on display to make sure that people are aware that these events happened.

Then, in the afternoon, we set off back to Guatemala City, enjoying the roller coaster views of the countryside once again, and avoiding the odd obstacle in the road. Tomorrow, we leave the Sister Parish center to live with the families of UPAVIM for four days. We are not sure what sort of internet access we will have, but we will try to keep you posted with our news if we can.

Copyright © 2017 First United Methodist Church, Downers Grove. Please report any problems to