Frontline World

GUATEMALA: Toward Justice, December 2004
a FRONTLINE/World Fellows project

Chapter 2:  To the Promised Land
Church sermon; Students listening; Audience in the church

Chapter 1:  A Mass for the Murdered
Chapter 2:  To the Promised Land
Chapter 3:  War Finds Paradise
Chapter 4:  Rough Justice
Chapter 5:  Resurrecting Memories of War
Chapter 6:  An Apology for One
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Watch Video - GoThe plane ride from Guatemala City north into the lowland rainforest lasted about an hour. We headed for Playa Grande, the regional military base in Ixcán and the nearest airstrip to Santa María Tzejá. Manz had first come here in 1973 when leftist guerrillas were starting to organize in the area. Now, having written the history of the village, she was coming back with her book. With her was a casually dressed Spanish priest named Father Luis Gurriarán. Father Luis gazed distantly out the plane window as our single-propellor plane swooped over the Guatemalan highlands, past eroded mountainsides and treeless valleys, through spires of wood smoke rising languidly from newly hewn milpas.

Our aerial descent into the rainforest was sudden and palpable. Beads of sweat ran down my forehead and back as the air thickened, and I began to feel nauseated from the combined heat and turbulence. Manz's voice popped above the engine roar as she pointed excitedly to a few familiar structures materializing from the green tangle below: Santa María Tzejá's cooperative building, the school, and the road to the military base.

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