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Victoria Sanford

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The Silencing of Maya Women from Mamá Maquín to Rigoberta Menchú

In 1994, Victoria Sanford began work on exhumations and the historical reconstruction of massacres in rural Maya villages in Guatemala and served as a research consultant to the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation for its report to the Commission for Historical Clarification. For the author, to understand Guatemala’s current transition from authoritarian rule and its efforts to construct a democratic society based on the rule of law, we must comprehend how the majority rural Maya experienced genocidal state structures of terror and how they internalized these structures as part of their individual and collective identities. Violence against individuals and communities was selectively and massively enacted as an instrument of state terror nationwide. It was one of many instruments the state used to assert its domination. Despite an internationally brokered peace process, violence has yet to become an artifact of the past, either for the victims or the victimizers.

women; genocide; dirty war — Guatemala; historical memory; Guatemala — Maya; Guatemala — political repression; human rights; United States — Central Intelligence Agency; women — immigrants

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 27, No. 1 (2000): 128-151