GUATEMALA CITY -- (AP) -- Guatemala's former leftist rebel army has
apologized for the abuses it committed during the country's 36-year civil war.
``With profound pain and humbleness we ask for forgiveness from the memory
the victims, their families and communities . . . for any kind of excesses,'' said
Jorge Ismael Soto, who led the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity, said
Friday, reading from a prepared statement.
Latin America's longest-running civil war, which ended with a December
peace treaty between the government and leftist rebels, left 150,000 dead and
50,000 people missing.
The country's truth commission issued a report last month that blamed the
Guatemalan army for the vast majority of the deaths.
The commission, which seeks to bring reconciliation to a country split
U.S.-backed coup put rightists in power in 1954, has asked both sides to
The rebel apology came two days after President Clinton, during a visit
Guatemala, acknowledged the U.S. role in Central America's ``dark and painful
period'' of civil wars and repression.
The former rebels' statement said ``we assume our responsibility for situations
which, by lack of foresight, or error, got out of control.''
The army has not apologized nor issued a report on its alleged role in
which largely targeted Indian communities accused of being sympathetic to the
In cases where evidence of army involvement was overwhelming, the army
denied that the massacres were part of its counterinsurgency campaign, arguing
they were the acts of rogue officers.
Copyright © 1999 The Miami Herald