From Silence to Memory: Revelations of the AHPN

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Guatemala. Policía Nacional. Archivo Histórico

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University of Oregon Libraries


In 2005, when the AHPN was discovered, one government official commented, “Why waste time on this mountain of old paper." This is how they were actually found, piled on the floor, victims of time, humidity, laziness and pests, but above all, of secrecy and deception. From the first moment, the commitment on the part of those of us who worked in the Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional was that we would not be limited to rescuing those “old papers” from dust but, above all, to liberate them from oblivion and secrecy in order to uncover their content. Guatemalan society has a right to recover the truth, to provide dignity to their victims, and to want to know about the past, in order to begin healing. People who don’t know their own history cannot understand the present, and don’t know who they are. The original publication of the report Del silencio a la memoria was unanimously praised as a step forward in both making the work and mission of the AHPN widely known and offering a synthesis of its potential to understand how systematic state repression worked. The story told in this report is an exemplary case of commitment with the past and the future of a society still recovering from the wounds of violence and social injustice.



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