Mano Blanca

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Mano Blanca

Formed in 1966 by landowners and politicians associated with the National Liberation Movement (MLN), this right-wing Guatemalan death squad justified its terrorist operations as a necessary part of the global struggle against communist subversion. Backed by the military and unrestrained by the police, Mano Blanca (White Hand) was one of several death squads that tortured, killed, and kidnapped reformists. The most notorious act of the vigilantes was the kidnapping of the reactionary Archbishop Mario Casariego in March 1968 in an effort to embarrass civilian president Julio César Méndez Montenegro (1966–1970). Its terrorist actions supplemented the military's brutal counterinsurgency against the guerrilla movements of eastern Guatemala. In the early 1970s, the Mano Blanca disappeared as the military severed its long-standing connections to the MLN. During the 1990s, however, there were reports that Mano Blanca had resurfaced.

See alsoMéndez Montenegro, Julio César .


Susanne Jonas and David Tobis, eds., Guatemala (1974), esp. pp. 176-203.

James Dunkerley, Power in the Isthmus (1988), esp. pp. 456-461.

Additional Bibliography

Grandin, Greg. The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Menjívar, Cecilia and Néstor Rodriguez. When States Kill: Latin America, the U.S., and Technologies of Terror. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005.

Saavedra, Alfredo. El color de la sangre: 40 años de represión y de resistencia en Guatemala. Guatemala: Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo, 2001.

                                               Paul J. Dosal