"In a daring and historic move just one week before a new president takes office, Guatemalan authorities arrested 18 former high-ranking military men Jan. 6 for massacres and forced disappearances during the bloodiest years of the dirty war that particularly targeted indigenous populations.
Most of the arrests resulted from an investigation that exhumed the remains of 558 people -- 90 of them children -- buried in clandestine mass graves on a military base in Cobán, formerly known as Military Zone 21. DNA testing identified victims who were killed or disappeared by the military in the 1980s. Many of the bodies were blindfolded, bound or dismembered.
Guatemala Attorney General Thelma Aldana called it "one of the biggest cases of forced disappearance in Latin America."
Records show that 12 of the 18 arrested were trained at the U.S. Army's School of the Americas (SOA), highlighting the sordid U.S.-support for the war, which spanned from 1960 to 1996 and claimed the lives of some 250,000, many of them women and children."
whose party has close ties to the military, faces pressure in the face of the
current developments. Morales' right hand man, Edgar Justino Ovalle
Maldonado, who is also the FCN party co-founder, newly elected congressman, and
retired colonel, is also facing similar charges, though he was not arrested
because of his immunity as a congressman. Guatemala's Attorney General, however,
has requested the Supreme Court look at the case to strip him of his immunity.
Ovalle Maldonado, who is also an SOA graduate, is linked to massacres and disappearances during the