San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Group Helps Guatemalans Scan Secret-Police Files

WASHINGTON, D.C. (EFE) – The non-governmental U.S. organization National Security Archive (NSA) this week released some photographs of the huge cache of secret-police files recently discovered in Guatemala documenting brutal repression during that country’s long, bloody civil war.NSA, located on the campus of George Washington University, called the appearance of the documents “an extraordinary opportunity for preserving history and advancing justice.”The 14 photos released Monday show part of the treasure trove of information about Guatemala’s 1960-1996 civil war, a hoard of some 75 million documents discovered earlier this year in five buildings at a police compound in Guatemala City. Kate Doyle, who heads NSA’s Guatemala Project and visited the Central American country in August to aid in the review of the files, said the cache “promises to be one of the most revealing collections of military or police records ever discovered in Latin America.”The documents belonged to the National Police, whose involvement in kidnapping, torture and murder was so extensive that the force’s abolition and replacement with a new entity was mandated in the 1996 peace accords.The cache includes thousands of photographs, audio recordings, individuals’ criminal records, internal police memos, fingerprint sheets and accounting ledgers, among other items.“There were hundreds of rolls of still photography, which are being developed now,” said NSA’s Doyle. “There were pictures of bodies and of detainees, there were lists of police informants with names and photos, there were vehicle license plates, video tapes and computer disks.”

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