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President Alvaro Colom apologized on behalf of the Guatemalan government to former president Jacobo Arbenz's family on Thursday. Arbenz was deposed in a CIA-sponsored coup in 1954. He died in exile in 1971.
The apology and recognition "that the Guatemalan State failed to protect the human rights of members of the Arbenz family" comes five months after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights helped to negotiate an agreement between the two parties.
"Asking forgiveness has historical implications for the country and for Guatemalans' historical memory because (the coup) was when our coutnry's debacle began," Ruth del Valle, head of the presidential commission on human rights told AFP.
Here is President Colom's apology.
Like President Funes's apology for the state's complicity in the murders of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the six Jesuit martyrs at the UCA, President Colom's apology is an important act. I don't want to diminish what both Presidents Funes and Colom have done. However, one needs citizens on the right in El Salvador, Guatemala, and the United States who were involved in these acts (or covered them up) to come forward, accept responsibility, and ask for forgiveness.
It sort of rings hollow when the "left" apologizes on behalf of the state for crimes committed by the "right" against the "left."