After soldiers who received a 30 year

After the the Spanish took over the Mayan homeland, known today as Guatemala, in the 1500s, the Mayans became slaves. The Spanish ruled until 1821 when Guatemala was declared independent, but this did not stop the mistreatment of the Mayans, and they continued to struggle for their rights. The United Nations did nothing during the genocide to halt the horrific acts that were being committed. However, after the war was over the United Nations took actions to have a trial for the leaders of the genocide. There were even four soldiers who received a 30 year sentence for every murder committed, as well as 30 more years for crimes against humanity. This totaled to 6,060 years for each soldier, showing how at least some justice was brought to the victims but not enough to make up for the United Nations doing nothing during the years of the actual genocide.   The Guatemalan genocide was a devastating and extremely tragic time in the history of South America, and it is important that the suffering of over a million people is recognized and remembered, as it is important to remember any genocide in order to prevent any future attempts at such horrific acts of murder. Even in years long before the genocide, the government was finding ways to oppress the Mayan majority. This could be achieved through slavery, as well as laws prohibiting their ability to voice their opinion in the government. The Mayan people gained some rights back in 1944 when they were allowed to have social security, education, and set up labor unions; as well as a free vote being established. Juan Jose Arevalo was elected in the 1944 election and there were “ten years of spring” in which the Mayan community was able to thrive and have rights, but this would soon change (“Guatemala 1982”). The end of the “ten years of spring” came when Guatemala attempted to buy land. The United States, against this attempt, set up a fake scare which basically said that “communists were at work” in Guatemala and even organized a group of Guatemalan exiles to try to bring down the government; thousands of people died during this conflict, and many fled into exiles as all of the reforms form the “ten years of spring” were taken away. A new government came into power after this conflict, and Carlos Castillo was established as president by the United States, who was then assassinated and succeeded by Miguel Yidigoras Fuentes. Fuentes was discriminatory against Mayans and women as well and, when elected, he began to heavily oppress the Mayan majority yet again. This began a series of harsh dictators that oppressed the Mayan majority, leading to a civil war of government versus civilians. This civil war lasted for decades, including the years of the genocide. The government used multiple kinds of propaganda to attempt the dissuade the citizens from helping the Mayan rebels, including the idea that Mayans were inferior because they were lazy and barbaric, and to blame for the countries poverty. This is extremely similar to the propaganda staged against the Jewish people during the Holocaust. They also spread the belief that Mayans were working towards a communist revolution, and must be stopped at all costs. This, being during the great communist scare, had a severe impact on Guatemalans, and their support for the government, or the Mayans (“Genocide in Guatemala”). It’s important to note here that the United States government had a hand in the genocide of the Mayan people. It was them who started the fake communist scare, and then continued to supply the government that was murdering a whole group of people with the money and other supplies needed to do so. The United States government should have had some action taken against it by either the UN or by another source as punishment for assisting in the genocide.

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