Discussions and Materials


Discussionsand Materials


Discussionsand Materials

Analysis ofTestimony: Death of a Guatemalan Village

In the bookTestimony: Death of a Guatemalan Village, Victor Montejopronounces the occasions surrounding the military commands happeningacross Guatemala. Montejo (1987) gives an anthropological sequence ofthe events, exposes the vast atrocities, ethnic cleansing, and humanrights desecrations, and the quacks that define such atrocities. Thenovel is an observer’s interpretation particularizing oneoccurrence of viciousness between the indigenous populaces’ civilpatrol and the military. Montejo is a Zacatecas Maya and a lecturerof anthropology and at the time, he was a schoolteacher. Montejoreveals a picture of agony and endurance and narrates how hestomached the mishandlings of Kaibiles who were bent on murder. Inthe book, Montejo is separated from his students, family, andfriends, but maintains a Christian moral and face his despots withdignity and react in kindness. However, the book is not limited to apersonal testimony, but offers a comprehensive description of theviolence, overly designed around the Guatemalan Civil War and thestruggle between the civilian and the government. The violence leadsto the incarceration and execution of masses of people. The bookdetails the events leading to the violence, the role of leftistgroup, his personal struggle, and the near-zero concern of thegovernment to the plight of the people.

Written in astrong, unswerving prose, the explanation expresses a historicalactuality through adventure. An inadvertent clash between the civilpatrol of the village and an army troop develops into a massexecution of people, which Montejo (1987) describes profoundly.Montejo’s first hand involvement in the concerns and the violenceconveys, in a frighteningly human description, a rare sense of thelived reality that is Central America thus, offers an overlydescriptive and authentic episode.


The materialsprovide interesting facts about America’s foreign policy. Thepresentation of facts on the real information surrounding the Schoolof Americas gives the reader a critical understanding of howAmerica aligns its foreign policy. Debate on the militarydictatorship experienced in Latin America, the training of soldiersin the school, and the contentious issues regarding such trainingscome to the forefront in these materials. Governments seem to havetrashed its people through proxy wars, forced democracy, and militarytraining. The School of America has led to increased debateregarding military training in Latin America, public’sparticipation, and the level of America’s commitment to globalpeace.


The readings provide extensive information on the violence thatplagued Latin America and the responses of different entities.Montejo’s book gives a descriptive account of the atrocities thatpeople experienced while the other readings provide an analysis onthe reaction of America and the way it cultivated strategies to avertsuch atrocities.


Montejo, V. (1987). Testimony: death of a Guatemalan village.Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press