Backstory: Prosecuting the Guatemalan Genocide

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In the early 1980s, an estimated 200,000 Guatemalans were killed in a genocide carried out by the country’s military. Documentary filmmaker Pamela Yates was there in 1982 shooting footage of the struggle for her documentary, “When the Mountains Tremble.” On today’s Backstory, Yates discusses the efforts to prosecute some of Guatemala’s highest ranking generals for the genocide, and how her film footage has been used to help build a case against them. She tells the story in her latest film, “Granito: How to Nail a Dictator.” We’ll also be joined by Fredy Pecerelli, a forensic anthropologist who’s leading a team of anthropologists in combing through some of the mass graves in Guatemala.

“Granito: How to Nail a Dictator” is playing at the IFC Center


Fredy Pecerelli and Pamela Yates

Comments [6]

RJ from prospect hts

The health rights activists of the 80s--including in Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua--deserve a lot of credit for their unheralded and unrewarded commitment to helping the peoples of those impoverished and exploited peoples.

Sep. 15 2011 01:54 PM
RJ from prospect hts

It's important to note that there was extensive but unheralded health rights work in Guatemala (and elsewhere in Central America) during the 80s. One resource can be found at,%20Society,%20and%20Political%20Transition%20in%20Guatemala%20-%20.pdf

Sep. 15 2011 01:40 PM
Daisy from Brooklyn

I really can't stand the style of the person replacing Leonard Lopate. I am getting bored and this is a subject that interested me SO much as an undergrad.

Sep. 15 2011 01:37 PM
Gonzalo from Washington, D.C.

Great conversation. This reminds me of a story I read several years ago about Salvadoran generals who were found liable for torture in a Florida courtroom. I first read about it in a Washington Post Magazine article: (Actually, the journalist who wrote this article seems to have had a similar encounter with the generals that he interviewed - like Pamela Yates, he seems to have elicited confessions from the generals.)

QUESTIONS: Could you ask your guests if there many other cases like this? If so, could they identify other key cases?

Sep. 15 2011 01:35 PM
Wayne Johnson from Brooklyn

How does she feel about the fact that the Guatemalan election on Sunday seems poised to return the murderous General to power?

Sep. 15 2011 01:28 PM
Jim B

Would Ms. Yates please discuss how to deal with the likes of Dick Cheney, who not only defends his crimes but seeks to establish them as policy?

Sep. 15 2011 01:26 PM

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