Partner in terror
For over three decades military regimes in Guatemala conducted a terrorist campaign against their own people. In a 36-year battle against guerrilla forces, which finally ended with a peace agreement in 1996, the Guatemala military kidnapped, tortured and summarily executed those it regarded as enemies. An independent truth commission reported last month that more than 600 massacres were committed during the long civil war and that government-controlled forces were responsible for more than three-quarters of those atrocities.
Throughout much of this era, the U.S. supported the Guatemala military with advice and money. It provided $33 million in military aid in the 1960s and '70s. President Jimmy Carter cut off military aid in 1977, citing human rights abuses, but aid was resumed in 1982 under Ronald Reagan and continued until 1990. Though not a direct participant in the government's brutal counterinsurgency campaign, the U.S. was a knowing partner.
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