Second Place - 2016 Feature Picture Story/Essay
Story Summary: The brutal Guatemala civil war (1960-1996) left over 250,000 civilian victims. Thousands were forcibly disappeared, their corpses never found. Thanks to numerous exhumations and DNA analysis, the war victims are finally being identified and properly buried. This process has marked the beginning of an extraordinary healing process in both rural and urban families.
Yet for some, it goes beyond finding and burying a family member, as it is also evidence of heinous crimes committed during the war. On May 10, 2013, former de facto head of state Efrain Rios Montt, who ruled from 1982 to 1983, was convicted of Genocide and crimes against humanity. Even though the conviction was overturned shortly after due to a technicality, it marks the first time in world history a former head of state is tried for genocide in a national court. Currently, eight former high-ranking officers await trial for the largest case of mass disappearance in the history of Latin America after 533 corpses were exhumed in 2012 from mass graves in a former military installation.
Panorama of the Chixoy Dam and Rio Negro Community from Pak'oxom Peak. On March 13, 1982, the Guatemalan army and civil patrolmen from neighboring Xococ rounded up residents of Rio Negro, marched them uphill to Pakoxom, and brutally raped and massacred 177 women and children. Nearly 400 community members of Rio Negro were killed in four separate massacres in the early 1980s due to the communitys resistance to give up their lands and make way for the Chixoy hydroelectric project.
James Rodriguez / Freelancer