Urban guerrilla: The struggle for Guatemala City




Acosta, Jacob C.

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In the wake of Guatemala's 36 year guerrilla war, contemporary scholarship has focused on the military's brutal rural genocide campaign that left hundreds of thousands dead. Unfortunately, within the current historiography, the events of the city have received far less attention. The primary intent of this paper is to identify the social interactions and organizational links between popular urban organizations and the urban guerrilla cadres representing the Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes (FAR), Partido Guatemalteco del Trabajo (PGT), Ejército Guerrillero de los Pobres (EGP), and Organización Revolucionaria del Pueblo en Armas (ORPA), respectively. Secondly, it attempts to identify why the guerrillas succeeded in the political organization of a large portion of the rural and urban populations but failed to ultimately incorporate them into the violent revolutionary process. Finally, this paper incorporates a `history from below' approach from the perspective of the urban combatant and the story of their work amongst the students and trade unionists, their violent interactions with the State, and their struggle for survival against the death squads that hunted them. This subaltern history is accomplished using excerpts from interviews with former guerrillas. There is, after all, no better person to tell the story than the one who experienced it firsthand.



Cold War, FAR, Guatemala, Guerrilla, Marxism, PGT