Guatemalan ex-police chief handed 90 years over embassy raid
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!”
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.
You may be interested
Wild Wednesday: Raising orphaned baby raccoonsThe Tico Times - October 23, 2019
Every other Wednesday, we bring you an adorable photo and the brief story of an animal at Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary…
Postcards from Guanacaste: The province’s beautiful beachesThe Tico Times - October 23, 2019
If you love the ocean, Guanacaste's beaches are hard to beat. There's Tamarindo, the tourist town popular with beginner surfers,…
Photo of army ants in Costa Rica wins international awardThe Tico Times - October 23, 2019
Costa Rica's striking natural beauty looks almost as good on camera as it does in person. Don't just take our…