Heavenly discourse: FUNDAPI in Ríos Montt's Guatemala, 1982-1983




Kell, William A.

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This thesis analyzes how the international human rights community criticized Guatemalan President Ríos Montt's regime during the peak of the country's civil war. From 1982-1983, the regime responded with the creation of the Foundation for the Assistance of the Indigenous People (FUNDAPI). That criticism, this thesis argues, changed the objectives of the Guatemalan government and military. The group was held up as emblematic of the regime's evolution from a violent and repressive force into a benevolent government concerned with the welfare of refugees and its own citizens. This thesis is based upon extensive analysis of primary and secondary sources, including interviews with Guatemalan experts, news reports, government documents, and editions of the newsletter International Love Lift. It expands upon research conducted by Drs. Virginia Gerrard- Burnett and David Stoll, specifically the rise of Guatemalan Protestant history. This thesis will examine the origins and impacts of FUNDAPI, its relationships with United States evangelical organizations, and its role in working with the full cooperation of the Guatemalan government. The conclusions I have discovered lead me to believe that international human rights criticisms changed the objectives of the Guatemalan government and military. The human rights community pushed the Guatemalan government and military to create a more positive image with respect to indigenous communities. FUNDAPI showed the compassion of Ríos Montt in order to protect the extended flow of United States aid to the Guatemalan military.


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