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Judi Lynn

(161,382 posts)
Sat Dec 26, 2015, 09:53 PM Dec 2015

Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation Documents Guatemala Atrocities

Source: Associated Press

Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation Documents Guatemala Atrocities

It's the Shoah Foundation's first time working in Latin America after gathering 52,000 accounts from the Nazi Holocaust, genocides in Armenia (1915-23) and Rwanda (1994) and the 1937 Nanking Massacre in China.

Sonia Perez D. Dec 26, 2015 9:26 PM

AP - Juan Chen Chen lit up as he recalled a childhood spent romping in the Guatemalan countryside, playing soccer and spinning tops while his parents harvested maize and squash.

But his voice turned somber and his eyes wandered blankly to focus on a nonexistent horizon as he described the events of March 1980, when the army came to town. Chen managed to hide, but others weren't so lucky.

"I saw when they put a bullet in my father's head," he said. "My father was left lying there, and the dogs began to eat his brains. ... It was the soldiers who were providing security for the dam."

. . .

Chen's tale is among hundreds of oral histories being collected by the USC Shoah Foundation, founded by American director Steven Spielberg. When completed, it will be the most comprehensive repository of eyewitness accounts from Guatemala's 1960-1996 civil conflict in which some 245,000 people were killed or disappeared, most of them by soldiers and paramilitary gangs.

Read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/1.693975

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Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation Documents Guatemala Atrocities (Original Post) Judi Lynn Dec 2015 OP
The Church Sanctuary Movement was a response to atrocities in Guatamala and El Salvador bananas Dec 2015 #1
Excellent information. Good to note that Cuban immigrants have NO need for sanctuary, Judi Lynn Dec 2015 #5
More. proverbialwisdom Dec 2015 #2
This is an excellent website. Looking forward to reading through it. Thanks for posting the link. nt Judi Lynn Dec 2015 #6
How About the Atrocities in Gaza? Chasstev365 Dec 2015 #3
Thanks - was wondering when they would get around to that swilton Dec 2015 #7
K&R nt Zorra Dec 2015 #4


(27,509 posts)
1. The Church Sanctuary Movement was a response to atrocities in Guatamala and El Salvador
Sat Dec 26, 2015, 10:46 PM
Dec 2015

The Sanctuary Movement was a religious and political campaign in the United States that began in the early 1980s to provide safe-haven for Central American refugees fleeing civil conflict. It responded to restrictive federal immigration policies that made obtaining asylum difficult for Central Americans.

At its peak, Sanctuary involved over 500 congregations across the country that, by declaring themselves official “sanctuaries,” committed to providing shelter, material goods and often legal advice to Central American refugees. Various denominations were involved, including the Lutherans, United Church of Christ, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Jews, Unitarian Universalists, Quakers, and Mennonites.

Movement members acted in open defiance of federal law, and many prominent Sanctuary figures were arrested and put on trial in the mid and late 1980s. The roots of the movement derive from the right of sanctuary in medieval law and Jewish and Christian social teachings.

Contents [hide]
1 History
1.1 Central American Conflict
1.2 Public sanctuary
1.3 Historical Parallels
2 Sanctuary Trials
3 Broader Issues
4 See also
5 References
6 External links


Central American Conflict[edit]

Between 1980 and 1991, nearly 1 million Central Americans crossed the U.S. border seeking asylum. Most were fleeing political repression and violence caused by civil wars in Guatemala and El Salvador, though some had fled Nicaragua in the wake of the 1979 Nicaraguan Revolution.

In El Salvador, the military killed over 10,000 people by 1980, including the famous Archbishop Oscar Romero and four U.S. churchwomen. In Guatemala, government-backed paramilitary groups killed 50,000, disappeared 100,000 and perpetrated 626 village massacres.[1]

Official policy under the Reagan administration greatly hindered Central Americans from obtaining asylum status, however. Congress forbade foreign aid to countries committing human rights abuses, and it is well documented that the U.S. provided funds, training and arms to the Salvadoran and Guatemalan governments throughout the 1970s and 1980s.[2]

Because admitting these governments' abuses would bar the U.S. from providing further aid, the Reagan administration instead argued that Central Americans were “economic migrants” fleeing poverty, not governmental repression. Consequently, Central Americans stood little chance within the U.S. immigration system, where asylum is granted based on proof of “well-founded fear” of persecution.

Just prior to the beginning of the Reagan Administration, Congress had passed the Refugee Act which incorporated this international definition of political asylum into US law - which formerly granted refugee status only to those "fleeing Communism." However, the Reagan Administration retained enormous discretion under the law and used all its power to prevent the legal recognition of Central American claims.

And the numbers reflect this. Approval rates for Guatemalans and Salvadorans hovered somewhere under three percent in 1984, as compared to a sixty percent approval rate for Iranians, forty percent for Afghans fleeing Soviet invasion, thirty-two percent for Poles, twelve percent for Nicaraguans escaping the Sandinistas and one-hundred percent for Cubans. In 1983, one Guatemalan was granted asylum in the United States.[3]


Judi Lynn

(161,382 posts)
5. Excellent information. Good to note that Cuban immigrants have NO need for sanctuary,
Sun Dec 27, 2015, 01:31 AM
Dec 2015

since they are allowed complete freedom to enter, 100% of the time. Politics. (They are also treated to a variety of heavy duty perks, like instant legal status, social security, food stamps, taxpayer-financed Section 8 housing, medical treatment and financial assistance for education, ETC.)

It's good to see this article. Thank you.


(5,191 posts)
3. How About the Atrocities in Gaza?
Sat Dec 26, 2015, 11:47 PM
Dec 2015

I have no doubt the Shoah Foundation and Spielberg are sincere what telling the story of what took place in Guatemala, but the whole world ignores and excuses Palestinians treatment, especially in Gaza. If you don't believe me, check out Amnesty International.

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