Guatemalan Genocide

Case Study: Guatemala Genocide


When: March 23, 1982 – August 8, 1983

Where: Guatemala, Central America


  • Perpetrators: Efrain Rios Montt’s dictatorial government, Guatemalan military
  • Targets: Ixil Mayan Indians


  • 1,771 dead
  • Up to 200,000 refugees

Learn More:

News Articles:

Human Rights Watch: Guatemala: Rios Montt Convicted of Genocide

New York Times: Efraín Ríos Montt, Guatemalan Dictator Convicted of Genocide, Dies at 91

Testimony: Massacre in Guatemala: A survivor’s story
Ramiro Osorio Cristales was one of four survivors of the massacre in Dos Erres, Guatemala. His entire family and fellow villagers were killed by paramilitary forces when he was 5. Cristales was raised by a man who helped kill his father and was forced to call him ‘Papa’ until roughly the age of 17.

Cristales poses for a photo in his Canadian apartment in June 2011.


USC Shoah Foundation: Since 2015, the USC Shoah Foundation has been working with the Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala (FAFG), a Guatemalan forensics organization, to collect, index and archive video testimonies of witnesses of  the Guatemalan Genocide of the early 1980s. The United Nations Truth Commission found that approximately 200,000 people were killed or disappeared in the decades-long civil war that ended in 1996. More than 500 video interviews from Guatemalan survivors and witnesses have been collected in Guatemala. All conducted in Spanish or K’iche’, the testimonies are being preserved and indexed by USC Shoah Foundation, which began adding them to the Visual History Archive in 2016. Currently there are 32 testimonies searchable in the Visual History Archive. FAFG continues to collect and grow the Guatemalan testimonies and collection.

Survivor Recounts Horrors of Guatemala Genocide (2:48 mins)

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