Guatemalan Refugees in Mexico, 1980-1984

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Human Rights Watch, 1984 - Civil rights - 104 pages
This report deals with the situation of Guatemalan refugees in Mexico in the period of 1980-1984. After reviewing conditions of the Guatemalan refugees, the author points out that Mexico is worried by the possible political and economic repercussions of an open door policy towards the thousands of impoverished Guatemalans fleeing widespread violence and repression in their country. Moreover, the proximity of the conflict in Central America, poor relations with the Guatemalan government, and border crossings by the Guatemalan military, all contribute to Mexico's concern that it may become entangled in the Central American conflict. Although in general the Mexican open-door policy towards persecuted people has been maintained with the Guatemalan refugees, their situation remains critical after more than three years since the beginning of their massive flight to Chiapas. Within this context and in recognition of the fact that repatriation is not now the solution to the Guatemalan refugee problems. The Mexican government has used varying degrees of force particularly in order to bring about the relocation of dissident refugees.

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Page 20 - ... the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country ; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
Page 30 - We maintain that dialogue and a negotiated solution to the conflicts are possible; we, therefore, reject without exception all military plans that would seriously endanger the security and development of the region.
Page 31 - We have no scorched-earth policy. We have a policy of scorched Communists.
Page 20 - refugee' as any person "who is outside the country of his nationality, or if he has no nationality, the country of his former habitual residence, because he has or had well-founded fear of persecution by reason of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion and is unable or, because of such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of the government...
Page 90 - And other people, because they've defended themnselves, have had to flee to the mountains to protect themselves. They are in the mountains to survive, but if they are found they are labeled subversives, and they are killed. In San Martin Sacatepequez , many small landowners have a little land and a few crops, and recently they've been labeled suppliers for the guerrillas, and they've been eliminated, their only crime being growing their subsistence crops . . . The situation is very hard, because...
Page 87 - Guatemalan security forces entered San Juan Ixcan on May 15, 1982 and killed whomever they found, burning alive two families in their homes. Those who escaped fled to the mountains and lived off the crops on 88 nearby parcelas for about four months. In early September 1982, army patrols pursued them in the hills and strangled to death four children who were unable to escape.
Page 88 - December 28, 1982 and opened fire on people they found working in the parce1 as , killing an 80 year old man and a woman. The soldiers destroyed cut and unharvested crops. The villagers tried to live off the remaining food supply, but soon facing starvation, fled to Mexico. It took them eight days, with little or no food, to arrive at the Chajul camp. - Statement of a male from the Yabal cooperative, municipality of Chajul, Department of El Ouiche, who arrived in the Puerto Rico camp on February...
Page 88 - soldiers came to the cooperative and said that they were not killers and would not harm people who ran from them; we believed them, but they deceived us, they came back [fifteen days later] intending to kill everyone.
Page 13 - ... 1. The Guatemalan government's counterinsurgency program, begun in early 1982, has been continued and expanded by the Rios Montt government and remains in effect at this time. 2. A principal feature of this campaign is the systematic murder of Indian noncombatants (men, women and children) of any village, farm or cooperative, that the army regards as possibly supportive of the guerrilla insurgents or that otherwise resists army directives.

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