Military offensives were part of a brutal, decades-long counterinsurgency against a leftist uprising that brought massacres in the Mayan heartland where the guerrillas were based. A U.N. truth commission said both state forces and related paramilitary groups were responsible for 93 percent of the killings and human rights violations that it documented.
Nobel Peace laureate Rigoberta Menchu says Guatemala’s moment strengthens the world’s powerless. Ixil Mayas, she said, can teach other oppressed groups around the world to stand by their rights and not to rest until tyrants are punished by law.
‘‘This could mean that everyone, all indigenous people all over the planet who have been treated with hatred, who have been branded as liars, could hopefully start living in harmony,’’ Menchu said.
Associated Press writer Olga R. Rodriguez and John Rice contributed to this report from Mexico City.