Frontline World

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

Chapter 4: Rough Justice
Burning truck; Miguel Reyes laughs; Dog

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 first major step toward peace came in 1994, when the Guatemalan government and the guerrillas agreed to re-settle populations uprooted by the war. After more than a decade in exile, hundreds of thousands of refugees returned from Mexico and elsewhere to their homes in Guatemala. But the homecoming was also traumatic because it brought together families and neighbors who had been on opposite sides of the war.

The challenge of reuniting communities would prove the true test of peace. Would people divided by war be able to overcome the past? Could they re-establish the trust they once had in each other?

One afternoon in Santa María Tzejá, the co-op's loudspeaker announced a village meeting the next morning at 5:30. Two nights before, a band of cattle thieves had entered the village and were chased off empty-handed into the mountains. But they'd left behind their trucks. I arrived bleary-eyed at the early morning meeting to find a circle of men, including the Reyes brothers, discussing community protection and the problem of what to do with the abandoned trucks.

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