• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Guatemalan ex-police chief handed 90 years over embassy raid

January 20, 2015

GUATEMALA CITY – A court in Guatemala on Monday sentenced a former police chief to 90 years for a massacre at the Spanish Embassy in 1980 where a group of indigenous protesters, peasants and university students were holed up inside.

The attack left 37 people dead and came during the Guatemalan civil war pitting a rightist government against leftist rebels and people accused of supporting them.

Some 200,000 people were killed or vanished without a trace in the country’s 1960-1996 civil war, according to a 1999 U.N.-sponsored report.

The convicted police chief, Pedro García, will only have to serve 30 years, however, because of the maximum possible sentence at the time of the attack.

Protesters outside the court yelled “Murderer, murderer!”

Johan Ordóñez/AFP
Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú weeps as she speaks with journalists on Jan. 19, 2015 in Guatemala City, following a 90-year sentence against former Guatemalan police chief Pedro García Arredondo for the murder of 37 people who burned to death at the Spanish Embassy in 1980, including Menchú's father. Johan Ordóñez/AFP

Before the sentence was announced, indigenous Guatemalans held a Mayan ceremony with an altar holding flowers and candles.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú, whose father died in the attack, praised the verdict.

“It is essential that we still create a drop of hope for justice,” she said.

The embassy was attacked after the Mayan protesters, peasants and students took refuge inside to draw attention to the army’s brutal and ongoing repression.

García led a special police commando unit when the embassy was attacked and burned.

Johan Ordóñez/AFP
Former Guatemalan police chief Pedro García Arredondo, after being found guilty and sentenced to 90 years in prison on Jan. 19, 2015 in Guatemala City. Johan Ordóñez/AFP

You may be interested

Expect delays at immigration on Saturday
Costa Rica
1 views
Costa Rica
1 views

Expect delays at immigration on Saturday

The Tico Times - April 13, 2021

On Saturday, April 17, planned system maintenance will cause delays at all immigration control posts in Costa Rica, the Immigration…

Costa Rican earns top angler in international tournament
Fishing
1339 views
Fishing
1339 views

Costa Rican earns top angler in international tournament

Todd Staley - April 13, 2021

Forty-seven anglers from Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the United States and Costa Rica competed last month in the…

Costa Rica stresses protocols as cases, hospitalizations increase
Costa Rica
13 views
Costa Rica
13 views

Costa Rica stresses protocols as cases, hospitalizations increase

Alejandro Zúñiga - April 13, 2021

Health Minister Daniel Salas on Monday warned of rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Costa Rica, and he reminded Ticos…