The Guatemalan Civil War: Background information when reading Monkey Boy

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Monkey Boy

by Francisco Goldman

Monkey Boy by Francisco Goldman X
Monkey Boy by Francisco Goldman
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  • First Published:
    May 2021, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    May 17, 2022, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Naomi Benaron
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About this Book

The Guatemalan Civil War

This article relates to Monkey Boy

Crosses bearing the names of victims of the Guatemalan Civil WarThe narrator of Francisco Goldman's autobiographical novel Monkey Boy, like Goldman himself, was a journalist who reported on the Guatemalan Civil War. The brutal war began in 1960 and lasted a total of 36 years. Over 200,000 were killed or "disappeared," more than 600 villages were attacked or completely destroyed by the army and 150 million people were displaced. Approximately 83 percent of the victims were Indigenous Maya, and 93 percent of human rights violations were carried out by the army and its paramilitary groups. Repercussions from the war still reverberate through the country today, and reconciliation remains elusive.

Background

The seeds of the civil war found fertile ground following the 1954 military coup that toppled President Jacobo Arbenz, a progressive, democratically elected leader, and installed a military dictator, Colonel Castillo Armas. The United Fruit Company, which extracted huge profits from Guatemala from banana exports, had become alarmed by Arbenz's...

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