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THE EARTH SCORCHED Environmental Violence and Genocide in the Ixil Territory Guatemalan Civil War 1978-1984

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THE EARTH SCORCHED Environmental Violence and Genocide in the Ixil Territory Guatemalan Civil War , 1978-1984

PAULO TAVARES maps by SITU STUDIO

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THE EARTH SCORCHED Environmental Violence and Genocide in the Ixil Territory (Guatemalan Civil War, 1978-1984) Paulo Tavares (text and research ) and Situ Studio (maps) Additional research: Daniel Fernandez Pascual, Hannah Meszaros Martin and Mayah Cueva Franco project authors: Forensic Architecture Project

Forensic Architecture Press, London – UK. Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London 8 Lewisham Way, London SE14 6NW -UK T: +44 (0)20 7078 5387 info@forensic-architecture.org November 2013 English / Spanish COPYLEFT: all non-commercial use and repruduction of this material is allowed. Please reference original source. www.forensicarchitecture.org

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For Pachamama, la Madre Tierra, the untold victim of state-terror in Guatemala, and all the indigenous peoples that shared in her suffering, the ones who, against the perpetuation of colonial violence, continue fighting to keep alive the knowledge that shall heal the body of the Earth

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CONTENTS Introduction The Instalment of State-terror The Geography of Political Violence Operation Ixil Development and Destruction Environmental Violence and Genocide (Conclusion)

Methodologies and Sources Authors Acknowledgements

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Since the signature of the peace agreements that brought the 36 yearlong civil war in Guatemala to an end in December 1996, a series of important investigations have helped to uncover many of the victims of this conflict and make visible the histories of brutality, death and suffer to which they bear witness. Thousands of testimonies were compiled in the seminal project Recovery of Historical Memory (REHMI, 1998) and in the subsequent research conducted by the UN-sponsored Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH, 1999) , which together compose comprehensive database of human-rights violations that describes the conflict in great resolution. Along the last fifteen years, these records have been corroborated through extensive forensic exhumations of clandestine mass-graves, local and international human rights organizations accumulated more documentation in support of survivors pursing justice and reparation, and social scientists have made the civil war an object of continuous historical inquiry. Confidential files disclosed from state-archives in Guatemala and the United States have also helped to shed further light on the history of the conflict by unveiling many of its geo-political ramifications.

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This wealth of evidentiary material have allowed us to make better sense of the causes that led to the generalized state of terror that shaped life in Guatemala for more than three decades, as well as to understand in more detail the role of external actors that directly or indirectly influenced the course of events as they fought to define the contours of the global Cold War according to their own agendas. As we enter into a new stage of the conflict, with the vitalized hope that the perpetrators responsible for killing and disappearing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians are called in court to respond to these crimes, much more we shall hear and learn from the testimonies of their victims, both the dead and the survivors - the memories of whom, against all odds, persist alive through history. This study draws on the vast knowledge and data accumulated during years of research on the civil war in Guatemala. It aims at collaborating to this collective effort by focusing on the less debated but fundamental role that the built and natural environment played within the logics of state-violence, both as a weapon of war and as its victim. One of the most vicious elements of the counter-insurgent strategy implemented by Guatemalan Army was the widespread deployment of scorched earth offensives in the western highlands of the country in the early 80s, which resulted in the havoc of the territories that from time immemorial have been inhabited and governed by Maya peoples. On the wake of mass slaughters perpetrated against hundreds of indigenous communities, entire villages were razed to the ground, their animals were killed and their sacred agricultural fields were burned. This analysis re-frames these events from an ecological perspective. It departs from the understanding that the environment cannot be reduced to the background of the conflict but rather should be interpreted as the very medium of violence.

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The first part presents a summary of the geography of state-violence distributed over the whole national space of Guatemala along the 36 years of conflict. The second part zooms in time and space, mapping the relations between counterinsurgent offensives and the radical reconfiguration of the natural and built environment that took place between 1978 and 1984 in the Ixil Territory, at centre of the department of QuichĂŠ, one of the regions most severely affected by the war. By cross-referring data on military operations, human-rights violations and spatial transformations, it is suggested that political violence was undertaken by indirect means, not only towards human bodies but also against architecture and nature, with the ultimate intent of destroying the socio-ecological basis that sustain the mode of life and culture of Mayan indigenous peoples. As such, the conclusion suggests that those violent environmental transformations might be thought of as another dimension of the crime of genocide.

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Invasion: map of CIA covert operation PBSUCCESS that deposed Guatemalan president Jacobo Árbenz in 1954 (image extracted from Nick Cullather, Operation PBSUCCESS: the United States and Guatemala 1952-1954, Centre for the Study of Intelligence, CIA – Washington, 1994.)

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The Instalment of State-Terror 1944-1960

Between 1960 and 1996 Guatemala suffered one of the longest and most brutal of the dirty-wars that ravaged Latin America during the Cold War. At many different levels, its history is paradigmatic of the ways by which the imperatives that were set at the fronts of geopolitical disputes reverberated at the margins of the Third World. It began with a US-backed coup d’état orchestrated by right-wing military officers in alliance with local elites against a popular and democratically elected government. It culminated with an outright campaign of state-terror that sought to completely eradicate the left from the political spectrum. Inaugurated in Guatemala, one of its most fertile laboratories, this historical pattern of political violence was reproduced throughout Central and South America. In October 1944, on the wake of the democratic expectations triggered by the imminent defeat of fascism in World War II, a series of urban protests led by a coalition of nationalist reformers overthrew the thirteen-year long dictatorship of General Jorge Ubico and broke a long cycle of authoritarian regimes in Guatemala. The subsequent governments of Juan José Arévalo and Jacobo Árbenz Gusmán initiated a series of structural reforms – most importantly an ambitious

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program of land reforms – aimed at dismantling the oligarchic feudal order that still ruled the country. Guatemala then entered into a period of democratic opening unparalleled in its entire republican history. The “democratic spring”, as this moment of great hope in social modernization became known, was however very short lived. In 1954, under the command of Colonel Castillo Armas, mercenary paramilitary forces covertly trained and armed by the CIA invaded Guatemala, deposed president Árbenz, and threw the country back again into the path of authoritarianism. The coup was accompanied by brutal repression. In attempting to eliminate any vestiges of the reformist movement and disarticulate every form of social organization inclined to the ideals of the left, the government arbitrarily imprisoned and tortured hundreds of persons. Those who managed to escape were either forced into exile or obliged to withdraw from public life. As right-wing military commanders returned to the lead of national politics, the progressive reforms were dismantled, and the radical anti-communist ideology that was nurtured by Guatemala’s elite became firmly encroached at the heart of the State. These two events - the revolution of 1944 and counter-revolution of 1954 - defined the terrain of dispute in the decades that followed. The short but decisive ten years of social democracy fortified mobilization among different segments of civil society, whereas the CIA-backed invasion sparked the institutionalization of political repression. After the successful socialist revolution in Cuba in 1959, likewise in the rest of Latin America, polarization between right and left grew sharper in Guatemala. Facing the closure of channels for political participation and stronger state-repression, left wing activists coming from different ideological trends increasingly resorted to armed struggle. At the opposite side, counting with continuous support of the United States, the Guatemalan State gradually built one of the most murderous counter-insurgency apparatuses of the continent.

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As the tenets of the National Security Doctrine became the main guiding lines of state policy, curtailing of civil liberties and systematic human rights violations turned intrinsic to governing. Every individual or social movement that called for reforms were identified as insurgency supporters, and thus virtually the whole of the Guatemalan society was framed as a potential target of a thorough militarized state apparatus. Unlawful imprisonments, torture, forced disappearances and extra-judicial executions became common methods used by successive governments to deal not only with armed rebels but also with trade unionists, teachers, students, peasants, indigenous leaders, intellectuals and human-rights activists. While popular demands to change a highly exclusionary political-economic system grew, state-terror became the main instrument to contain dissidence, enforce population control and conserve social order.

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Map of clandestine mass graves located next to a military base in the department of Chimaltenango (image: Paulo Tavares and Eyal Weizman).

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The Geography of Political Violence 1960-1996

The date set to mark the beginning of the Guatemalan Civil War refers to an unsuccessful rebellion launched by left-wing military junior officers in 13 November 1960. Upon returning from short period in exile, some of its leaders initiated an armed insurrection called MR13, Movimiento Revolucionario 13 Noviembre. After 1963, when the MR-13 and various others small rebel groups merged with the FAR - the Forzas Armadas Rebeldes -, a larger guerrilla organization formed in 1961, insurgent actions became more intense both in urban and rural areas. Backed-up by increased US assistance, the government responded with a large-scale counterinsurgent campaign. Paramilitary death-squads organized from within state-forces or by radical right-wing civilian factions added to the repressive apparatus. By late 1968, thousands of civilians had been either killed or forcibly disappeared in a set of operations that the US Intelligence Department described as “white terror”. When president Julio César Méndez Montenegro left cabinet in July 1970, the guerrillas had been practically defeated, but instead of retreating the military’s grip on power further expanded. Four months after assuming power, Colonel Carlos Arana Osorio (1970 – 74) imposed a state of siege over the entire national territory that would last

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MAP 01: Percentage of human rights violations committed by state forces per department between 1960 and 1972

for more than a year. Although insurgent activity declined considerably, extrajudicial killings and disappearances continued unabated, mostly in urban centres, where Arana’s governmental policies were confronted with amounting legal opposition. From mid-60s to early 1972, when the state of siege ended, Guatemala witnessed the first wave of widespread terror of the civil war. Map 01 shows the footprint of political violence during this period, which concentrated in the region of the capital Guatemala City, where leftwing activists were systematically targeted, and in the eastern departments of Zacapa, Izabal and Chiquimula, where the FAR based operations.

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With the opposition under containment and the insurgency in retreat, the next presidency of General Laugerud García (1974 - 78) began to balance repression with welfare programs directed to absorb popular grievances. As Guatemala experienced economic growth and the government allowed certain margin for social organizing, mobilization among urban workers and the peasantry gained much political strength. Although persecution and summary executions persisted, the early stages of Laugerud’s mandate were associated with certain recovering of democratic practices and low levels of state-violence. During the 70s the guerrillas started to re-organize and two new insurgent groups emerged: the EGP - Exército Guerrillero de los Pobres -, which set up strongholds across the highlands, chiefly at the department of Quiché; and the ORPA - Organización del Pueblo en Armas -, which established presence between the coast and the highlands, at the south-western departments of San Marcos, Sololá, Quetzaltenango and Chimaltenango. The option for these areas was directly related to the major presence of indigenous populations. After the defeat of the guerrillas in the late 60s, the Guatemalan left started to question the limits that classbased analytical frameworks imposed to the advancement of the revolutionary process in a country pervaded by a strong culture of racism and whose population compromise at least 40% of people of Mayan descent. In comparison to the former attempts of the insurgency, which focused actions in zones where ladinos (non-Indians) form the ethnic majority, the shift in strategy was profound and decisive. In the coming years the geography of the conflict was completely re-organized towards the territories traditionally inhabited by the Mayan. By the end of the decade, animated by the revolutionary momentum in El Salvador and Nicaragua, the Guatemalan guerrillas were waging more aggressive actions in urban areas and expanding presence

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across the western highlands. Largely underestimated by the insurgents, the State’s capacity to react proved to be swift and unbearably violent. When General Lucas García (1978 – 82) assumed power in July 1978, the increasing levels of state-violence registered in the last year of Laugerud’s mandate derailed to the worst. In order to disarticulate the burgeoning popular militancy, Garcia accelerated what Amnesty International has called “a government program of political murder” against grass roots organizations, labour unions, students and professional associations in Guatemala City. After completely crushing opposition in the capital, the counter-insurgent front was moved with even more ferociousness to the Altiplano. In late 1981, following the biggest offensive ever conducted by the guerrillas, Garcia launched the first of a sequence of well-planned military campaigns which strategy to eradicate the rural insurgency was based on the elimination of any support or potential support from the local population. On the ground, these campaigns took the form of sweep scorched earth offensives that indiscriminately targeted entire communities of unarmed civilians, unleashing terror and mayhem all over the Mayan territories. On 23 March 1982, Lucas Garcia was deposed in a coup orchestrated by a group of junior military officers led by General Efrain Ríos Montt. Counting with reinvigorated support of the US administration of Ronald Reagan, Ríos Montt (1982 – 83) vowed to wage the “final battle” against the insurgents and intensified the scorched earth offensives to the extreme. Under his command, Guatemala experienced the most horrific episodes of state terror in its entire history. Throughout the western highlands entire rural communities were converted into large siege zones. The army occupied major towns, transforming public buildings into centres of command and churches into torture chambers. Task forces were then regularly dispatched to patrol surrounding areas, terrorizing villagers through widespread

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Photojournalist Jean-Marie Simon, who lived and worked in Guatemala during the 80s, was one of the few persons who had first-hand access to the zones of conflict in the western highlands at the time of the scorched earth offensives. In 1987 she published a long photo-essay titled “Guatemala: eternal spring, eternal tyranny” documenting the conflict. These two images were extracted from this book, which can be viewd online at: http://www.primavera-tirania.com/. On the left, military occupation in the region of the city of Nebaj, central Quiché; on the right, refugees being translated after the scorched earth offensives

massacres that included indiscriminate killing of woman, children and elderly. Mass slaughterers were most often anticipated by torture and followed by the destruction of houses, burning of agricultural fields and killing of animals. Fleeing became the last resource of survival. Thousands crossed the border to Mexico and thousands others sought refuge in the mountains where they were continuously besieged by ground troops and air bombed. While on displacement, refugees faced the most precarious living conditions, leading many to die of hunger, disease and fear. Those who surrendered were relocated to ‘concentration camps’ where they were subjected to forms of psychological indoctrination and forced labour and young men were recruited to form paramilitary “civil defence patrols” under army control.

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MAP 02: Percentage of human rights violations committed by state forces per department between 1978 and 1984.

By late 1982 hundreds of villages had been razed to the ground and people in displacement amounted to hundreds of thousands. Ríos Montt then began to implement a “developmental” phase as part of the counter-insurgency strategy, combining military operations with a series of humanitarian and civic action programs. In August 1983, amidst a context of growing political instability within the army, the Minister of Defence General Humberto Mejia Victores (1983 - 86) overthrew the Ríos Montt regime in another coup. By that time the western highlands of Guatemala were nearly “pacified”. Víctores then focused on expanding the developmental programs in order consolidate dominion over the highlands and started to prepare the country for constitutional reforms.

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In between 1978 and 1984, Guatemala experience the second and most violent wave of generalized state terror of the civil war. During this period, as shown in Map 02, the most severely affected territories were located at the western highlands, in the departments of Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Huehuetenango and, above all, QuichÊ. The population in these regions is mostly formed by Mayan indigenous, who were also the large majority of the victims. From mid-80s to the 90s the levels of state-violence declined considerably. Selective killings continued through the end of the decade but at lower rates. In comparison to the early 80s, fewer cases of massacres were documented, foremost against refugees that remained in the mountains organized as civilian associations named CPRs – Communities of Population in Resistance. In 1984 a constitutional assembly was formed, initiating a period of political transition that would culminate in the Peace Accords of 1996.

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The Ixil Territory: a geography outside state-control

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Operation Ixil 1978 – 1984

The years between 1978 and 1984 mark a turning point in the political trajectory of the conflict. This was the moment when the guerrillas launched their largest offensive, suffered an almost complete military defeat, and the army assumed the lead of the war until its end a decade latter. Above all, the defining characteristic that singles out those years in the long history of the civil war was the magnitude of the violence with which the counter-insurgency was carried out, of which the most vicious element was the systematic and widespread use of massacres against the civilian population. According to the Historical Clarification Commission (CEH), 95% of massacres occurred in these years. In nearly all cases, agricultural fields and villages were completely burned and destroyed during or after the slaughter. The CEH statistical index also shows that state-violence was particularly acute between June 1981 to December 1983, when security forces perpetrated 415 massacres, a number which amounts for 64% of the total recorded and 76% of all killings registered during massacres. These eighteenth months were the most tumultuous and bloodiest phase of the conflict. Rather than a collateral effect of the chaos of irregular warfare, however, the unparal-

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leled scope of death and destruction inflicted by state-forces upon indigenous communities was the logical consequence of well-planned scorched earth operations. During this period the actions of the army were executed under the guidance of a sequence of campaign plans – Ceniza 81, Victoria 82, and Firmeza 83 – which were responsible to implement a more rationalized and yet more violent counter-insurgent strategy. Their names are self-explanatory - Ash, Victory, Firmness -, denoting the steady escalation of the process of pacification of the Guatemalan countryside: the unleashing of the scorched earth offensives in late 1981; the climax of terror witnessed throughout 1982; and the consolidation of military control after 1983. Map 03 shows the density of cases of massacres registered by the CEH during the 36 years of civil war plotted over the ethno-linguistic territorial mosaic that compose the national space of Guatemala. The zone of greatest intensity is located in central Quiché, overlapping with the traditional territory of the Maya Ixil, in between the municipalities of Santa Maria Nebaj, San Juan Cotzal and San Gaspar Chajul. In this region, as well as in the regions marked by denser bubbles in southern Quiché, north Huehuetenango and Baja Verapaz, the CEH concluded that the set of violent actions perpetrated by state-forces during the scorched earth operations that took place between 1981 and 1983 amounted to “acts of genocide” committed against different Mayan groups, respectively the people Ixil, K’iche’, Q’anjob’al and Chuj, and Achi. Upon examining the campaigns of the 80s, the CEH found that military strategists established an equivalent identity between the Mayan and the insurgents, the extermination of the former being conceived as a means to contain the latter. A social order built upon racism, combined with colonial fears of indigenous uprisings, facilitated the perception that the Mayan were a sort ancestral enemy, historically

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Map 03: Density of massacres committed by state-security forces during the 36 years of conflict superimposed over the ethnic-linguistic map of Guatemala. The Ixil Territory, located at central Quiché, was one of the regions most severely affected by the war.

and sociologically antagonistic to the State. At the same time, this ideology helped to reinforce sentiments about indigenous inferiority. Considered as aloof elements from the ‘national being’, the Indians were placed “outside the universe of moral obligations of the perpetrator”, the CEH concluded, “making their elimination less problematic”. As army offensives sought to break up the ties between rebels and civilians, waging war against the guerrillas through the elimination of its supposedly social base of support, spatial patterns of stateviolence reflected not only military objectives but also the lines of ethnic-territorial divisions. Exacerbated by the polarizing logic of the conflict, the historical tendency nurtured within State institutions and society at large to eliminate cultural difference turned into the ultimate objective of counterinsurgent violence.

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One of the most evident manifestations of this genocidal conjunction between alterity and enmity was the case of the Ixil people. As central Quiché was considered completely dominated by subversion and the totality of the “indigenous sector” (sic) as guerrilla collaborators, army commanders defined the Ixil Territory as a specific jurisdiction of combat, which they named “Ixil Triangle” after the three major regional municipalities Nebaj, Cotzal and Chajul. Protected by a mountainous landscape of rugged hills, intricate valleys and dense forests that extends for roughly 2500 sq km, the Ixil territory still remains today a zone of difficult penetration. Back in the early 80s, likewise much of the rest of the western highlands of Guatemala, access to this region was severely limited by poor infrastructures. There were no asphalted roads connecting major municipalities, neither air lanes, and vicinal roads to remote villages were sparse and precarious. Furthermore, the geography of Mayan inhabitation, traditionally organized in dispersed networks of small hamlets hidden at the folds of mountains and valleys, made even harder to map and navigate the Ixil Territory. Whereas from the perspective of the guerrillas this complex socio-natural topography provided an excellent terrain of operations, for the military it consisted of an enemy in itself that needed to be defeated. The military occupation of the “Ixil Triangle” initiated with a devastating earthquake that hit Guatemala in February 1976, when the Commission for National Reconstruction (CRN) was installed in the region and the army set a base at the city of Nebaj. Within the context of the war, this natural disaster had a double political effect. One the one hand, as communities had to cope with the tragedy, it was responsible to generate stronger networks of solidarity and popular organization. One the other hand, it served as an alibi for the militarization of the region at moment when both the legal opposition and the armed insurgents were garnering increased support. In the following years, operating under army command, the CRN would be

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Map 04: The “Ixil Triangle”: army bases and detachments in the Ixil Territory. Starting with the devastating earthquake that hit Guatemala in February 1976, the region was gradually converted into a large military siege zone.

in charge of centralizing programs of socio-economic assistance and constructing roads in between villages and towns. At the same time, opening up the Ixil Territory for military access and serving as an institutional mechanism to exert closer control of social movements. In parallel, a series of military detachments were gradually installed within and around Nebaj, Chajul and Cotzal. By 1980, the Ixil Territory was totally besieged by state security forces. Map 04: The “Ixil Triangle”: army bases and detachments in the Ixil Territory. Starting with the devastating earthquake that hit Guatemala in February 1976, the region was gradually converted into a large military siege zone.

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“Operación Ixil”: cover of the document elaborated by the Centre for Military Studies in 1980 outlining the counterinsurgent strategy to the Ixil Territory.

Territorially isolated, circumscribed as a distinguished combat jurisdiction, the “Ixil Triangle” also became the privileged scientific object of all sorts of intelligence analysis, based on which an exclusive counter-insurgency strategy was designed to this zone. Operation Ixil, as it was officially called, was elaborated in 1980 by the Centre for Military Studies and published two years latter in the army magazine Revista Militar. After presenting detailed geographic, socio-economic and anthropological information about the region, the document explains that “because of special sociological characteristics” the Ixil people were naturally averse to the ladino society, “which they unconsciously associate with the Spanish and their descendents that have caused them so much suffering”. Its authors then list a series of recommendations to conquer the Ixil Territory, asserting that in order to break up support to the insurgency, it was necessary to “rescue the Ixil mentality” to the orbit of the “Guatemalan nation”. On the ground this modern version of colonial conquest was conducted with racist hatred and exceptional savagery. Map 05 shows

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the spatial pattern of massacres perpetrated in the Ixil Territory in the early 80s in the context of the military campaigns Ash 81, Victoria 82 and Firmness 83. This cartography narrates the progressive geographic expansion of state-violence that accompanied the intensification of counterinsurgent operations in the western highlands of Guatemala during this period. The first cases of massacres were registered in 1980 in-between the three major municipalities Nebaj, Chajul, Cotzal. In 1981, as the focus of repression shifted from Guatemala City to the countryside, acts of violence committed by state security forces reached a wider area. Starting in mid-February 1982, during the last months of the Lucas Garcia government, the army reinforced presence in central Quiché and launched the first of a series of sweep operations over the Ixil region. Between July 1982, when Ríos Montt began implementing plan Victoria 82 and declared a “war without limits” , until the end of 1983, the entire Ixil Territory was literally engulfed by a wave of mass terror. Throughout remote villages at the most distant peripheries military troops committed heinous atrocities and systematic massacred entire communities of unarmed civilians, leaving behind a horrific path of corpses, burned land, architectural ruins and thousands of refugees. According to a study produced by the NGO Cultural Survival in 1990, considering as a benchmark the demographic statistics of 1981, the discrepancy between recorded and projected population size in the Ixil area for the years 1984 to 1987 was on the order of 50.000 missing persons.

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Map 05: scorched earth massacres committed in the context of the counter-insurgent campaign plans Ceniza 81, Victoria 82, and Firmeza 83 in the Ixil region.

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OPERACIÓN SOFIA

Operación Sofia was a counterinsurgent operation launched in the Ixil Territory in the context of the campaign plan Victoria 82 implemented by General Efraín Rios Montt. It took place between 16 July and 19 August 1982 at the north of the city of Nebaj and involved various military unities. Disclosed by the National Security Archive Project in 2009, the documentation of Operación Sofia covers a vast array of information - intelligence assessments, planning directives, guerrilla documents collected on the field, maps of patrol trajectories and, most significantly, operational reports and messages exchanged between ground troops and military officers. This set of files provides a detailed documentary image of the scorched earth offensives that were happening in Ixil Territory at that time. According to the analysis of forensic archivist Kate Doyle, although covering only part of the military operations in the region, in limited area and for a short time span, Operación Sofia is a key evidence of the crimes committed against the Ixil people because it allows identifying the chain of command, demonstrating that “soldiers ac-

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“I inform you that at 15hs of today 10 families that were threatened by the subversion were evacuated from the zone of conflict, including 5 men, 10 women, 17 girls, 15 boys and a newborn. There are families who still need to be evacuated”. Message transmitted-received on 24 July 1982.

tions in the field were a direct result of the orders of superior officers, and that officers not only initiated operations with their orders but followed them very carefully, being informed about what was happening in ‘real time’ and sending new instructions that were met by the troops - in short, they had full control over the development of operations while they were carried out”. (Kate Doyle’s analysis and the integral file of Operación Sofia are available at http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB297/). From the perspective of this study, Operación Sofia helps to understand the spatial logics of the scorched earth offensives. The messages sent by ground troops and the operational reports register evidences of burning of crops, killing of animals, destruction of houses and the forced re-settlement of the civilian population to military-controlled camps located at major towns. The following pages shows excerpts from Operación Sofia placed in parallel with the mappings of the military actions about which they report.

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CAMERUN patrolling missions, 16 July 1982 – 31 July 1982

Page extracted from operational report of CAMERUN Patrol IV. “Civic actions should be incremented throughout this zone, since we are not going to win this battle only by military force unless we triple the Army contingent and maintain the most strict control likewise the communists supposedly do, and that after burning their houses, destroying their shelters, the guerrilla and its collaborators, that we speak and make them understand why they are the victims of this chaos, moreover the Army should set presence in groups of at least 25 elements in the highest parts of this zone in order to obtain better control over the situation, the people who are hiding must come out, and in that way the Army will be gradually accepted by them, so that they change their ideas about us and thus provide all information that we need, therefore it is necessary establish aid posts and provide relief to injured persons etc.�

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Map: trajectory of patrolling missions conducted in August 1982.

Page extracted from Inform of Operations - IPO S3-002/82, reporting activities conducted in August 1982. “The basis of logistical support in the area was cut, during the reported period 10 large food silos, 33 traps, 15 underground shelters have been destroyed. During operations to control the population, support to the guerrilla was successfully undermined, 122 people were evacuated to the municipality of Nebaj, who were placed under the control of the Military Detachment of the aforementioned municipality. Therefore the operation executed by the Primera CompanĂ­a de Paracaidistas that formed the detachment at the village of Salquil, which had the objective of concentrate villagers and the inhabitants of the different periphery hamlets, during the reported period achieved the concentration and control of 737 persons, who are now receiving aid and security by the Fuerza Tarea Gumarkajâ€?

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The Ixil village of Juil-ChacaltĂŠ at an early stage of reconstruction

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Destruction and Development 1982 – 1985

In a secret cable dated to February 1982, the CIA described the following scenario in respect to the military operations that were taking place in the Ixil Territory: “The commanding officers of the units involved have been instructed to destroy all towns and villages which are cooperating with the Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP) and eliminate all sources of resistance. Civilians in the area who agree to collaborate with the army and who seek army protection are to be well treated and cared for in refugee camps for the duration of the operation. (‌) Since the operation began, several villages have been burned to the ground and a large number of guerrillas and collaborators have been killed. When an army patrol meets resistance and takes fire from a town or village it is assumed that the entire town is hostile and it is subsequently destroyed. The army has found the most villages have been abandoned before the military forces arrive. An empty village is assumed to have been supporting the

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Sweep offensives: page from the CIA secret cable dated to February 1982 describing the scorched earth operations in the Ixil Territory.

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EGP and it is destroyed. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of refugees in the hills with no homes to return to”. (…) The army has yet to encounter any major guerrilla force in the area. Its success to date appear to be limited to the destruction of several ‘EGP-controlled-towns’ and killing of Indian collaborators and sympathizers.” During the years of 1982 and 1983, similar horrific scenes were witnessed throughout the Ixil Territory. According to the CEH, approximately 70% to 90% of the villages that existed in the area were completely razed to the ground. Map 06 shows this pattern of architectural destruction. When villagers managed to recover and return, or while they tried to hide in the forests at the top of the hills, the army continuously attacked them. At some places, the CEH found that troops came back up to three times to destroy houses and crops. After the coup of March 1982, under the command of Ríos Montt, the Guatemalan Army increasingly sought to balance the brutality of the scorched-earth offensives with programs of humanitarian relief, social-economic assistance, construction of public infrastructure and re-building destroyed villages. Acknowledging that the chaotic violence that characterized the anterior regime of Lucas Garcia only contributed to the animosity of the civilian population towards the presence of state forces, and consequentially helped to increase support to the guerrillas, the new government implanted a ‘developmental doctrine’ at the core of the counterinsurgent strategy. Originating in the context of nineteenth-century colonial administrations in Africa and Asia, the mobilization of practices and discourses of development as an instrument of political containment was refined and promoted with great zeal by US strategists during the 50s and 60s, and eventually turned into a central tenet of the ideologies of national security that informed the military regimes that ruled Latin America

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Aerial photo of the Pexla Grande Village, Ixil Territory. Red dots signal the location of some of the houses that were destroyed in the former village. Within the square frame, the new settlement. Above, plan of a traditional Mayan house and images of ruins found in the former region of the village.

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Xolcuay: Red dots signal the location of some of the former structures that were destroyed. Images above of the former centre of Xolcuay (frame by the smaller square in the aerial image), with the school built by the NGO CARE in ruins. Bellow left, ruins of houses and fragments of ceramic pots found within the site. Bellow right, image of the new village of Xolcuay (frame by the larger square in the aerial image).

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during the Cold War. The theory was that, rather than conscious political position, urban workers, peasants and indigenous were led to adhere to the ideals of the left because they lived in a chronic state of poverty, backwardness and underdevelopment. Therefore, security experts argued, the maintenance of social order was intimately related to the diffusion of western-based forms of material progress, the deployment of development being an effective tool to conquer the loyalty of the class of the poor and thus indirectly suppress the aspirations for structural transformations propagated by the left. With the advise of US strategists, the Guatemalan Army started to incorporate civic action projects in the late 60s as part of the counterinsurgent offensives launched against the rural guerrillas in the eastern department of Zacapa. In parallel to the first indiscriminate massacres committed against civilians, troops were responsible to build roads and schools and distribute medicine. These early initiatives were however very mild in comparison to the prominent role assumed by projects of development in the 80s. As the conflict moved towards the Mayan regions in the western highlands, it became increasingly consensual among the military that the defeat of the insurrection would not be achieved only through direct violence. Besides communist ideology, strategists began to attribute the growing strength of the rural insurgency to the conditions of socio-economic marginalization of indigenous communities. The assumption was that the neglecting of these problems by successive governments had left a vacuum that was being explored by the guerrillas, who were capturing historical demands of the Indians in favour of the revolutionary struggle. “Since we are not going to win this battle only by military force unless we triple the army contingent”, a field report on operations carried out around the city of Nebaj in mid1982 concluded, “civic actions should be incremented throughout this zone”. By that time such views were already consolidated within the high-ranks of the Guatemalan Army, leading to the comprehen-

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sion that the war needed to be fought at multiple fronts, as much military as social, economical and psychological, incorporating a ‘hearts and minds’ campaign to win civilian collaboration. Codified in a National Plan of Security and Development (PNSD) that was implemented few weeks after Ríos Montt assumed power, this strategic re-orientation marked a new phase in the counterinsurgent struggle, which became officially known and propagated as the army’s “developmental philosophy”. In a country fractured by political instability, the PNSD vowed to achieve social cohesion and security by strengthening nationalism and gave nearly unlimited powers to the military government. In that manner, the State was able to execute counterinsurgent policies designed to permeate literally every domain of social life without any effective legal or political restriction. Under the premises of this totalitarian politics nurtured by the imperatives of nationalism, security and development, the Mayan became very vulnerable targets. The perception that Indians were alienated from national values was associated to the fact that indigenous communities were territorially disconnected from the rest of the country. According to plan Victoria 82, the Mayan were adhering to the insurgency because of the “lack of communication between the government and the people”. Both problems - social detachment and spatial isolation - were to be solved through development, for the diffusion of modern infrastructures and institutions would serve as channels through which new cultural patterns would be introduced to the indigenous population, thus helping to “rescue” their souls and integrate their lands within the geometries of the State. From 1982 to 1985, through a set of designs that resembled the Strategic Hamlet Program deployed by the government of South Vietnam and the United States during the Vietnam War, the Guatemalan State projected a radical spatial reconfiguration of the western highlands by means of forcibly resettling and concentrating the indigenous popu-

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lation in specific areas designated to accommodate programs of rural development. The first phase of this plan was called Fuziles y Frijoles – riffles and beans -, which was responsible to introduce measures of humanitarian aid and initiating the organization of civilian paramilitary groups latter known as PAC, or “civil self-defence patrols”. Refugees were amnestied and translated to ‘reception centres’ located in major cities, where they received medicine and food and were subjected to psychological operations. The subsequent stage was named Techo, Trabajo y Tortillas – roof, work and bread. More developmental than humanitarian, its main objective was the relocation of the displaced population to new settlements, such as the ‘model villages’, where the military put forward projects of infrastructure construction supported by food-for-work programs and reinforced the PACs. During the government of Lucas Garcia, these policies gained further strength through the institutionalization of a project of regional development titled ‘Development Poles’. At various strategic areas of the conflict, where the insurgency was stronger, the military introduced techniques of agricultural modernization, re-structured patterns of land ownership, laid out water, electricity and sanitation infrastructures, opened up roads and built entire towns from scratch. Several state institutions were involved in the construction and functioning of these poles, mostly notably the Commission for National Reconstruction, which since the earthquake of 1976 was responsible to coordinate governmental programs of development, and the INTA - National Institute for Agrarian Reform, which was in charge of reorganizing the systems of land tenure. International agencies such as the NGO CARE, the USAID and far-right US evangelical churches also played an important role at the early stages of the project. By introducing these spatial and institutional designs, the military sought to consolidate the “pacification” of the Altiplano. Advertised as a ‘humanitarian-developmental turn’ in the counterinsurgent strategy, these planning schemes in fact functioned to expand and

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fortify the military occupation of Mayan lands. One of the most elaborated and extensive poles of development was installed in the Ixil Territory, which included the reconstruction of sixteen communities. Map 07 shows the model villages that were part of the original plan of the “Ixil Triangle Development Pole”, highlighting the settlements considered completed as of 1984 - Acul, Tzalbal, Juil-Chacalté, Pulay and Ojo de Água. Within the overall strategy of the “developmental philosophy” implemented by the Guatemalan Army, model villages were arguably the most important element. At least for two reasons: on the one hand, symbolic, since the military government used them as an image to propagandize its supposedly commitment to the welfare of the indigenous communities that had been affected by the scorched earth offensives; on the other hand, properly military and governmental,

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A “new strategy”: military propaganda pamphlet about the “Development Poles” program published in 13 January 1986.

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insofar as the spatial layout of these new towns functioned as a highly effective mechanism to enforce tighter population control and surveillance. General Efrain Ríos Montt, who was responsible to launch the original idea, conceived the model villages as the base for the introduction of a new form of society among the Mayan. “Communitarianism”, as he labelled it, would be forged on “human relations that does not come from communism nor democracy”, but from “the family, the sharing of everything, the working for the community”. By a perverse sleight of hand, this conception implied the replacement-by-destruction of forms of common living and resource sharing traditional to the Mayan with an alien ideology of collective life, circumscribing indigenous culture within the logics of private property, puritan work ethic and the spirit of capitalism. Other views, less inclined to Ríos Montt’s evangelical fundamentalism, conceptualized the model villages as the contemporary manifestation of the tactics used by Spanish colonizers. During her pioneer fieldwork investigations in the western highlands in the late 80s, the Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack Chang compiled the following notes from an interview with a protagonist actor in the construction of the model villages: “According to the respondent, the concentrate pattern used in the relocation is not unknown to the indigenous culture. His argument is that, when they started thinking about how to construct the development poles, they started reading about the Mayan, about how they have ‘organized’… What they did here was then the same that the Spanish have done, convince [ the Indians ] that to concentrate was not against their culture or interests. We are building an organized city to them.” The blueprint of model villages was based on a rigid urban geometry. Repetitive rows of identical pre-fabricated houses, separated few meters from each other, organized according to the rectilinear axes of larger roads composed a tight architectural grid designed to enable

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Destruction and reconstruction: the model villages of Tzabal and Chisec under construction.

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rapid access, smooth circulation and pervasive visibility. They were equipped with potable water, sewage, a school, a health post and an evangelical and a catholic church. Most often, a large military garrison was installed at the entrance. Usually built at adjacent sites to the destroyed villages, sometimes at the top of razed community centres, the design of model villages was an act of violence as such, insofar as the urban logics they imposed were completely against indigenous forms of inhabiting and relating to the land. In traditional Mayan villages the houses are situated very distant from each other, punctuated within tiny forest clearances scattered throughout the valleys and hills. Nearby the house is located the family’s milpa – a small farming field used to produce maize, beans or squash that plays an important role within Mayan spiritual cosmology -, and each house is surrounded by a small yard where fruits, herbs and animals are cultivated. In between the milpas, large tracts of forests are managed as collective commons, providing additional sources of proteins, vitamins and firewood, the essential of energetic resource in the Altiplano. By forcing a mode of life based on concentrated urbanization, the model villages completely re-organized this landscape, fracturing social networks and disrupting traditional labour practices. Families were re-settled aleatory, regardless of kinship and community ties that formerly structured the village space. Moreover, because the new towns were detached from forests and milpas, villagers had to commute on a regular daily basis, making easier for the army to control their movements. “The residents of the model villages enjoy little freedom”, anthropologist Beatriz Manz reported after visiting the model villages in the Ixil Territory in the late 80s: “… the location of their homes is drawn from a hat, they often are prohibited from going to the land they once farmed or travelling freely in search of work or markets. (…) Because of the destruction and threat of further violence, it is difficult for the residents of these villages to be self-sufficient. Families must often

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rely on handouts from governmental agencies and the generosity of a few religious workers permitted to operate in this regions� In between 1983 and 1985, at the height of the implementation of the program Poles of Development, the CEH estimated that between 50 to 60 thousand persons lived in model villages. After 1985, when the Altiplano was considered ‘pacified’, the Guatemalan State gradually abandoned investments on the project.

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ACUL: MODEL VILLAGE

Acul is located at approximately 7 kilometres to the west of Nebaj, in a deep valley famously known by its fertile lands. Before the violence about 250 Ixil families lived in the village. The EGP arrived in this region in 1979 and focused actions to build support among the peasants. In October 1981, military troops occupied Acul and committed the first massacre against the population. In 22 April 1982, around 6am in the morning, a military contingent accompanied by seventy members of the PAC occupied Acul again. After subjecting the population to a series of violent ordeals, they killed 23 persons and burned houses. Survivors then decided to march to the mountains. Two weeks latter, the army came back to the village to destroy the remaining houses and burn agricultural fields. The CEH found that due to the lack of food and shelter nearly one third of the refugees died in the mountains. (Reference: CEH, Tome VII, Case 107: The massacre of the Acul community). In 1982 the military started to build a model village in Acul. The images presented here were extracted from a catalogue published in 1984 by the Guatemalan Army titled “Polos de Desarrolo y Servicios”. They show the final stages of the construction of the model village and its official inauguration in 22 December 1983. Besides providing technical and administrative information about the “development poles” program, this catalogue was clearly aimed as a form of state-propaganda. According to the publication, Acul counted on 450 houses, designed to accommodate more than 2700 persons. Described as the model for the “social-economic stability of the Altiplano”, the Acul model village was exhaustively used by the military to advertise what they called the “developmental philosophy” of the counterinsurgent strategy. A


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Urban concentration: aerial photos of Acul taken in 1964 and 1991 showing the new architectural grid.

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In the previous page: images of the inauguration of the Acul model village. At the top, General Oscar Humberto Mejia Víctores (on the left hand side), head of the “transitional military government”, during the official inauguration of the model village. The original caption reads: “potable water, electric light, new and comfortable houses form part of the government work for the neighbourhood of Acul, whose inhabitants were formerly disperse but have been re-settled after suffering on the hands of the subversion.” At the bottom, a group of civil self-defence patrols (PAC) participate in a military parade during the event. Above, Acul today: images taken by the author in November 2012

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Environmental Violence and Genocide (Conclusion)

If any, few historical accounts would contradict the conclusion that the deep roots of the violence that ravaged Guatemala are to be found in the perpetuation of extremely unequal patterns of land distribution. Appropriation and control of the most fertile soils of the country were the main driving forces behind five centuries of colonization, conditioned the formation of the republican period and, to a large extent, also structured the logics of the civil war. Guatemala’s socio-political system and governmental institutions were built upon the basis of the plantation economy inherited from colonialism, the precarious forms of labour that the functioning of this economy demanded, and the racist cleavages that were intrinsic to it. In order to maintain the structures of power engendered by the plantation regime, concentration of land ownership in the hands of ladino terratenientes was continuously expanded at the expense of the systematic dispossession of indigenous communities, who were constantly pushed to the poorest soils further up in mountains. Uprooted from their lands, stripped from the ecological means that nurtured their traditional modes of living, indigenous farmers were transformed into wage-labourers within an archaic political order, condemned to be exploited as cheap workforce in capital-intensive

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agricultural factories without proper access to modern social and labour rights. The Mayan were thus trapped within the perpetual motion of a colonial machinery dominated by a powerful landed elite of which interests have been historically protected by authoritarian governments. At the heart of the 1944 Revolution there was an ambitious agrarian reform, which the counter-revolution of 1954 was quickly to overturn. The expropriated fincas – as large land estates are known in Guatemala – were recovered by the military government and returned to former landowners, historical patterns of land concentration were thus reinstituted, while security forces brutally repressed the indigenous and peasant communities that had benefited from the reforms. In Guatemala, likewise in much of the rest of Latin America, land was and still remains the material hardware upon which a highly exclusionary social, political and economic order was constructed, leading to the structural marginalization of majority of the population and engendering a matrix of power that was only possible to sustain by the institutionalization of an oppressive police apparatus. As the insurrection broke out, land became not only what was fought for, but also the material that was fought through. Under the logics of the counterinsurgent policies implemented by the Guatemalan Army, more than the economic substratum of social domination, control over land turned into a central element within the overall strategy implemented by the State to defeat the guerrillas and contain political dissidence, and destruction of land turned into the very means by which state-violence was perpetrated. This was never more evident than in the case of the scorched earth operations that were launched over the Mayan territories in the Altiplano, particularly in the Ixil region. Following the tenets of the genocidal anti-guerrilla warfare tactics developed by the US in Vietnam – infamously known by the motto

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‘draining the water to kill the fish’ --, central to the counterinsurgent campaign plans of the early 80s was idea that it was necessary to eliminate the guerrilla’s social base of support and cut its local networks of supply in order to neutralize the logistical capacity of the insurrection. To achieve this aim, the “Ixil Triangle” was completely occupied and reconfigured by the actions of military forces. Several outposts and garrisons were implanted throughout the region, helicopter land fields were carved out amidst remote hills, new roads were opened in between towns and villages and large tracts of forests alongside the roads were cut out. Supported by this artificial spatial infrastructure, military troops engaged in sweep offensives that ignored not only principles of distinction between combatants and civilians, but also the rules of proportionality, provoking deliberately and wanton environmental destruction. Mass slaughters and rampant attacks against the material and symbolic means that sustained the life of indigenous communities were combined in a campaign designed to drive the outright depopulation of the Ixil Territory. Rather than ‘collateral damage’, the destruction of the built and the natural environment – houses, public buildings, churches and ceremonial sites, livestock and food provisions, agricultural fields and common forests – was a key objective of the counterinsurgent operations that devastated the Guatemalan Altiplano. Scorched earth massacres were not only aimed at bringing terror and fear among the civilian population, thus forcing thousands to abandon their villages, but also, through the generalized destruction of farms and forests, these offensives were responsible to disrupt agricultural cycles, causing hunger and widespread deprivation among refugees. In attempting separate people from land, prompting mass displacement by fracturing the physical and cultural bounds between territory and population, the military resorted to a form of “environmental violence” that was consciously designed to dwindle local conditions of habitat and make the life of indigenous communities materially unsustainable. State-violence turned into ‘ecological terror’.

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Change in the land cover in the Ixil Territory between 1979 and 1986. Red stands for areas that were covered with dense vegetation in 1976 and by 1986 were deforested. Green represents areas which were covered by low range vegetation in 1979 and dense vegetation in 1986. Yellow represents areas that suffered relatively little transformations. Following the concentrated pattern of urbanization of the model villages, deforestation is registered within and around the new built settlements, whereas the growth of dense vegetation marked at peripheral areas, situated at the slopes of the hills, demonstrate evidences of the destruction of former agricultural fields which were taken over by the forests. This map register the vast devastation of caused by the scorched earth offensives of the early 80s.

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Insofar as the spatiality of Mayan forms of inhabitation was considered as a threat in itself, outside and refractory to State control, territorial re-organization became a fundamental element of the counterinsurgency. Massive destruction was just one side of a doubled-edged strategy designed to completely reconfigure the social geography of the Ixil region, of which the complementary half was an equally violent and ambitious project of ‘reconstruction’. On the wake of indiscriminate killings and the scorching of land, the State vowed to “develop” the Ixil Triangle, promoting the implementation of a set of projects based on notions of progress and civilization that were particularly violent in relation to the Mayan since they necessarily implied a process of cultural homogenization. Disseminated through the civic sections of the army, initiatives of socio-economic assistance, agricultural modernization and infrastructural building were mobilized as low-intensity counterinsurgent tactics, functioning to amplify military occupation and control of Mayan lands and communities. On the ground, this strategy assumed the form of a ‘politics of integration’ based on the dissemination of spatial and institutional designs that sought to impose what General Rios Montt called “guatemalidad” over the Mayan regions. Observed retrospectively, they were responsible to unleash a radical socio-environmental reconfiguration of the Ixil Territory. Until the early 80s, the Ixil region was largely dominated by traditional forms of Mayan inhabitation organized in networks of small villages distributed in between the steep and heavily-wooded topography. As the population was resettled and concentrated into the tight-controlled urban schemes of the model villages, patterns of deforestation were amplified around new towns and major cities, while at the hillsides, where the destroyed hamlets and milpas were previously located, wild vegetation spread. Map XX shows transformations of vegetation-cover in the Ixil territory be-

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tween the years of 1976 and 1986. Changes in land patterns register the vast ecological devastation caused by the scorched earth operations of the early 80s. Within the counterinsurgent strategy deployed by the Guatemalan Army, the intentional redesign of the entanglements between people and their environment was mobilized as a weapon of war. Land was perhaps the biggest casualty of this form of ‘environmental violence’. State-terror — deployed through the combination of massacres, forest and crop destruction, population displacement and transfer, closure of common lands, and a series of psychological warfare strategies –, sought not only to enforce tighter control on civilians, but also to provoke a complete disruption of the political-cultural bounds between the indigenous populations and their territories in such a manner as to cut the basis of the existence of the Ixil people as a distinctive culture. In the context of the Mayan cosmology, inside which nature -- forests and the milpas -- plays a fundamental spiritual role that stands beyond utilitarian views, destruction of the land was even more devastating at many different levels. When observed together, the sequence of strategies that formed part the counter-insurgent campaign deployed in the early 80s reveal that the built and natural environment was not the mere stage in which state-violence took place but the very medium through which it was deployed. Destruction and re-construction formed part of a single rational which ultimate aim was to radically re-organize the symbolic spaces and material practices of indigenous peoples in order to better govern their modes of life and, ultimately, completely alter them to the point of extinction. Known as a people who fiercely resist to the plunder of their lands, the Ixil were not only perceived as sociologically distinct and culturally inferior, but also as historical opponents to government authority, whereas their territory was framed as a zone outside state control.

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The response proposed by Operation Ixil oscillated between policies aimed at cultural integration and extermination (what the authors called “ladinization”), two distinct strategies that, in fact, when observed retrospectively, appear as complementary sides of the same counterinsurgent rationale. For the means and aims of state-violence reproduced the ideologies of colonialism and, consequentially, likewise centuries before, the conquest of indigenous lands and souls were carried through indiscriminate physical, cultural and environmental destruction with the intent of eliminate alterity on behalf of national homogeneity. +++ This study contends that the environment cannot be reduced as the background of the conflict, but rather should be interpreted as one of its most fundamental components, in constant and complex interactions with the logics of the war, particularly in regards to the forms of state-violence deployed by the Guatemalan Army. Within the Ixil Triangle, “environmental violence” was a key instrument for the military to achieve territorial and population control. As such, this study corroborates the idea that genocide took place through entangled and relational forms of destruction, both of people and land, communities and the environment, collectives and architecture. In the Ixil Territory, political violence was intrinsically related to radical environmental transformations. As it is known, the concept of genocide was created by the PolishJewish jurist Raphael Lemkin in 1943, and appeared for the first time in his book on Nazi imperialism entitled Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals of Redress published in 1944. In Lemkin’s terms, genocide referred to the destruction of a nation or an ethnic group. Violence was therefore conceived as that which was inflicted upon a collectivity, and even when direct to the individual, he defines the crime by the intent of

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its author not towards the individual him/herself but to the group to which this individual belongs. Departing from Limkin’s original writings, the crucial question that has been extensively debated and continues to be concerns the nature of destruction insofar as it is related to a group. As many legal scholars have pointed out, in Lemkin’s concept, genocidal violence was defined both in relation to biological destruction of the group as well as to its disappearance as a single culture. Therefore, as Lemkin conceived it, genocide implied a form of “cultural violence”, which he defined as a process of “de-nationalization” of the group that was included but was not limited to the physical/ direct violence. Due to a series of political compromises, although included in some of the drafts of genocide convention, “cultural genocide” was left outside the legal definition established by the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. By the early 70s, while new resource-frontiers expanded into indigenous territories throughout the Third World, another concept was created in order to acknowledge precisely that “cultural violence” which had been left out of the UN Convention on Genocide. Ethnocide - a word which emerged inside the circles of French anthropology in the mid 60s - was more thoroughly developed by the Robert Jaulin in his book “The White Peace” published in 1970. “Ethnocide signals not the physical destruction of men (in which case we remain within a genocidal situation)”, Jaulin explained: “but the destruction of their culture” Ethnocide is the systematic destruction of ways of living and thinking of people different from those who lead this venture of destruction. In sum, genocide assassinates people in their bodies, ethnocide kills them in their minds.” Around that same period, environmental activists began to use i the word “ecocide” to describe the violence of the scorched-earth oper-

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ations carried out by the US military in Vietnam. Given the novel methods and means of such a crime, it was suggested that, similarly to the way by which the Second World War led to the definition and criminalization of genocide, the war in Vietnam should have led us to consider that “the wilful and permanent destruction of the environment in which a people live in a manner of their choosing” as a crime against humanity, which scientists Arthur Galston proposed to be designated by the name of “ecocide”. During the internal armed conflict in Guatemala, all this forms of violence could not be discretely separated -- physical, cultural and environmental coalesced into a single and brutal campaign unleashed against the Mayan. It was therefore a campaign that sought to destroy a mode of life in its entirety, not only an “other culture”, but indeed a whole “other nature” which escaped state control.

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Methodology and Data Sources This study concerns the mapping of state-violence. Insurgent groups reportedly committed a series of atrocities and this data is certainly relevant to understand the full picture of the conflict. Nevertheless, we believe that it is fundamental to reinstate that the State were by far the main responsible for the violence perpetrated against unarmed civilians. According to the CEH database, guerrilla violence accounts for only 3% of human rights violations committed during the entire conflict. Furthermore, environmental violence - the central focus of this study - was exclusive to the counterinsurgent strategy designed and implemented by the State. The mapped data was extracted from the extensive database compiled by the CEH and from cases documented by the human-rights organizations CALDH (Centre for Legal Action on Human Rights) and ODAGH (Human Rights Office of the Archbishopric of Guatemala). The cartographic analysis was based on locating two large groups of human-rights violations: 1) arbitrary executions, forced disappearances, torture, privation of freedom of movement and sexual violence -- the five most frequently reported cases of human rights violations perpetrated by state security forces according to the CEH database; 2) massacres and death by displacement -- two categories introduced by the CEH that attempt to grasp the most singular and horrific elements of the Guatemalan Civil War. A massacre refers to arbitrary executions of more then five persons “realized at the same place and as part of the same operative, when the victims were in a state of absolute or relative indefensibleâ€?. (CEH, Tome III, pg 251). Death by displacement refers to indirect killings caused by the purposeful infliction of inhumane conditions upon internally displaced persons. The cartographic inventory dedicates especial attention to these two categories because they are the most directly related to the environmental dimension of counterinsurgent violence. Military operations referred to OperaciĂłn Sofia were mapped from the original document, which was made available to the public on the Internet by the National Security Archive Project. The study of spatial/ecological transformations in the Ixil Territory was based on remote sensing and fieldwork research. The maps of temporal vegetation-cover transformations de-

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rive from a previous study produced by Russell Schimmer, Environmental Impact of Genocide in Guatemala: the Ixil Triangle and the Mexican Border, working paper n. 31, the Genocide Studies Program of Yale University.

Authors This study was produced by the Forensic Architecture Project in partnership with Situ Studio under the coordination of architect Paulo Tavares. It is developed in collaboration with Guatemalan human-rights organizations CALDH and ODHAG. The historical research and cartography analysis was conceived and written by Paulo Tavares. Situ Studio designed the maps and coded the virtual environment that accompanies this report. Daniel Fernandez Pascual was responsible for compiling information related to Operaci贸n Sofia. Forensic Architecture Project is a European Research Council funded project (2011-2014) hosted by the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London. Team: Paulo Tavares, Daniel Fernandez Pascual, Hannah Meszaros Martin and Mayah Cueva Franco Situ Studio is a creative design practice base in New York, USA. Team: Bradley Samuels, Charles-Antoine Perrault and Akshay Mehra

Acknowledgements Many organizations and individuals have helped us during the development of the project, either by sharing hands-on knowledge about the context in Guatemala or by offering logistical support for field-research. Among others we would like to thank the members of the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala and the dedicated staff of CALDH and ODAGH, especially Rodrigo Salvad贸, Edwin Cannil, Raul N谩jera, Ana Carolina and Flor de Maria. Although not directly involved in the project, we are also in debt with the invaluable work conducted by forensic archivist Kate Doyle at the National Security Archive Project in Washington DC; to the writings of historian Greg Grandin, a constant source of reference and political insight; and


to the original investigations of anthropologists Myrna Mack and Beatriz Manz. We also would like to thank the Geographic Department of the Guatemalan Army and the Centre of Regional Investigations of Mesoamerica (CIRMA) for helping with archival research. Finally, the project would not have been possible without the collaboration of the Ixil people, especially the communities of Xolcuay, Pexla and Nebaj. At different times they kindly hosted our team and were extremely generous in sharing their knowledge and memories with us. A special thanks also goes to the HIJOS Guatemala, with whom we learned so much while travelling together through the mountains of Mesoamerica. The components of this project were founded by the Forensic Architecture Project -European Research Council and the Human Rights Office of the Archbishopric of Guatemala - ODHAG.

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