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Organizing And Repression In The University Of San Carlos, Guatemala, 1944 To 1996

by Paul Kobrak

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For over forty years the University of San Carlos has been a center of political opposition in Guatemala. Though a State institution, the University has been brutally attacked by the state. In response, some at the University have tried to effect change through a mass movement; others have tried to bring down the government through armed struggle.

Now that the armed conflict has officially ended, this report hopes to contribute to Guatemala's ongoing process of historical clarification. The report establishes state responsibility for a series of human rights violations against Guatemala's students and intellectuals. It puts this violence in Historical and Political context to explain why so many lives were lost during these years of organizing and repression.

The report documents the cases of 492 students, professors and University employees, all of the extra-judicially killed or disappeared. Through many of the victims belonged to guerrilla organizations that thrived at the University, repression in Guatemala was never limited to an attack on the armed insurgents. State forces tried to eliminate all political opposition, as military governments and the business sector tried to rule the country without acceding to any social consensus. The University played a central role in the resistance to the rule, even during the worst years of state terror. This resistance explains, more than any other factor, the high levels of violence at the University of San Carlos.



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