1982 Mass terror
According to Countryaah data, the repression had cost 80,000 civilians since 1954 – mostly killed by the military. The bourgeoisie and the military now recognized that drastic means had to be used to prevent the guerrilla from winning the battle in the country. On March 23, 1982, a military coup was carried out that brought down General Romeo Lucas García. Shortly before, elections were held where General Annibal Guevara had been elected president, but the military decided that he was too soft on the guerrillas and civilians and instead deployed a triumvirate led by General Efraín Ríos Montt in power.
Under Montt, the military was now launching a bloody campaign against the civilian population. Acc. Mao is the guerilla as a “fish in the water”, with the “water” being the civilian population. The military’s strategists now openly stated that when it could not “catch the fish”, it had to “remove the water”. Entire villages were massacred by the military, 470 villages were destroyed by the map, over 50,000 civilians were killed over the next year, 200,000 fled the country – primarily to Mexico – and finally 1 million Guatemalans were made into “internal refugees”. They lived hidden in the mountains on the run from the military, or with family elsewhere in the country. In addition, the military created so-called model villages that were copied from the US war against Vietnam. These were a kind of concentration camp that was under military control and where the population was given the task of producing export crops rather than their traditional crops.
Massacres, terror and mass evasion helped bring the uprising under control. The most important weapon of the military, however, was the forced organization of all men in the highlands of the Patrullas de Autodefensa Civil (Civil Defense Patrols, PAC). The patrols were led by trusted former soldiers and the men (aged 15-50) were to patrol 3-5 times a week in the area around their villages. The purpose was to immediately limit the maneuverability of the guerrillas, while at the same time imposing total social control on the indigenous population. When the PAC system was at its peak, almost 1 million men were forcibly organized in the highlands. Check allcitypopulation.com to see the latest population of country Guatemala.
But despite the brutal results of the rebellion, the Ríos Montt dictatorship quickly came into conflict with the bourgeoisie and the United States. Montt acknowledged that if the guerrilla was to be defeated definitively, it required economic development of the highlands, and in order to finance it, the bourgeoisie had to pay higher taxes. It fell into very poor soil and as early as August 1983 Ríos Montt was overthrown by a coup planned by the CIA, the bourgeoisie and parts of the military. The coup brought General Oscar Mejía Víctores to power promising a swift transition to “democracy”.
As a first step, on July 1, 1984, elections were held for a constitutional assembly to draft a new constitution to replace the 1965 Constitution that the military had put into effect in 1982. Seventeen parties from the extreme right-wing candidates voted for the election. The center and the left had no opportunity to organize themselves openly politically during the continuing mass terror in the country.
The Constitutional Assembly gave the state employees the right to strike, allowed the leaders of the Social Democracy PSD to return from their exile abroad, and printed elections for holding in November 1985.