Guatemala's president apologizes for massacre
"As a gesture that I hope will contribute to the healing of Guatemalans
suffered the horrors of the armed confrontation ... I humbly ask forgiveness of all
of the victims, in the name of the government," President Alfonso Portillo said at a
ceremony to award victims financial compensation.
"Economic compensation ... is a good step but it's not the only one," said
Romero, one of the survivors of the massacre. "What would help not only the
victims' families, but all of Guatemala's people, is justice."
At least 225 people were killed between December 6-8, 1982, in a small
town in the
northern region of El Peten, nearly 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Guatemala
A truth commission established after Guatemala's 36-year civil war ended
concluded that a group of 58 military soldiers were responsible for the massacre.
Some of the victims died from gunshots and blows to the head while others
thrown still alive onto the bodies of relatives buried in mass graves.
The victims' families received reparations of dlrs 10,000 to 50,000.
But Maria Pulido, a representative of the Inter American Human Rights
Commission, agreed with Romero that "it is fundamental that the legal process
against those responsible be concluded."
"Only with their punishment can a full reparation be mad e for the damage
victims suffered," Pulido said.
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.