Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity
The Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

: Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca, URNG-MAIZ or most commonly URNG) is a Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

n political party that started as a guerrilla
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 movement but laid down its arms in 1996 and became a legal political party in 1998 after the peace process
Conflict resolution
Conflict resolution is conceptualized as the methods and processes involved in facilitating the peaceful ending of some social conflict. Often, committed group members attempt to resolve group conflicts by actively communicating information about their conflicting motives or ideologies to the rest...

 after the Guatemalan Civil War
Guatemalan Civil War
The Guatemalan Civil War ran from 1960-1996. The thirty-six-year civil war began as a grassroots, popular response to the rightist and military usurpation of civil government , and the President's disrespect for the human and civil rights of the majority of the population...



Since the CIA-backed coup in 1954, opposition groups were continuously forming in an attempt to fight against the repression that the military and wealthy landowners in Guatemala had created. The UNRG formed as a leftist umbrella organization consisting of four groups: the Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP), the Revolutionary Organization of People in Arms (ORPA), the Rebel Armed Forces (FAR), and the National Directing Nucleus of PGT (PGT-NDN). They became the public face of the long-running insurgency against the Guatemalan government throughout the Civil War. The URNG led the leftist opposition in peace negotiations with the conservative Guatemalan government. These negotiations began in 1987, and brought the end of the civil war when negotiations finished in 1996. They received support from Guatemala’s rural poor as well as from urban intellectuals.

Civil war

In March 1982, only one month after their formation, the URNG experienced an attack led by retired General Efraín Ríos Montt
Efraín Ríos Montt
José Efraín Ríos Montt is a former de facto President of Guatemala, dictator, army general, and former president of Congress. In the 2003 presidential elections, he unsuccessfully ran as the candidate of the ruling Guatemalan Republican Front .Huehuetenango-born Ríos Montt remains one of the most...

. Backed by the CIA, Ríos Montt led a “scorched-earth” counterinsurgency campaign against the URNG and its supporters until he was toppled the following year.

The UNRG employed ambushes and raids on government security forces as their main tactic, and also performed bombings and assassinations. They attacked the military, government officials, as well as foreign diplomats and foreign businesses. The government responded with undercover death-squads, supported by the police and military, who undertook the mission to take down prominent leftists.

By the time a civilian government returned to office in 1986, the URNG recognized that coming to power through armed struggle was out of the question, and they took initiatives to negotiate a political solution.

According to a report in NACLA
North American Congress on Latin America
The North American Congress on Latin America or NACLA is an independent, non-profit organization founded in 1966 with the purpose of providing information on major trends in Latin America and its relations with the United States...

's Report on the Americas (May/June 1997),
The government and army maintained that since they had "defeated" the URNG, they had no need to negotiate until the guerrillas had laid down their arms. The subsequent settlements ending the wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador stiffened the elites' resolve "never" to permit such an outcome in Guatemala.

The Guatemalan Civil War was a bloody affair that lasted 36 years. The URNG functioned as an umbrella organization to represent the leftist beliefs amongst the Guatemalan people, particularly the Guatemalan poor. Although they were involved in attacks, their primary function was at the negotiation table with the Guatemalan government . From 1986 to 1996, the army and government were drawn into a peace process moderated and verified by the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and including other international actors as key players. Both sides made major concessions. The Oslo Agreement (set in place by the UN) provided an arrangement for direct negotiation between the belligerent groups. This open negotiation led to the signing of the "Agreement on Procedures in Search of Peace by Political Means" in Mexico in 1991. The United Nations presided over these changes meant to create a long-lasting peace. Obligations were imposed on the government, including significant constitutional reforms, which were internationally binding and would be verified by the UN.

In 1987 URNG substituted PGT-NDN for the Guatemalan Party of Labour
Guatemalan Party of Labour
The Guatemalan Party of Labour was a communist party in Guatemala. It existed from 1949 to 1998. It gained prominence during the government of Col. Jacobo Arbenz...

 (PGT) in its leadership. The political party is interested in disarmament, demobilization and integration process as outlined by the United Nations It is now a peaceful political party that is part of the New Alliance Bloc.

Peace process and legal opposition party

On 29 December 1996, a peace agreement was signed by the government and the URNG in the presence of UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Boutros Boutros-Ghali is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1992 to December 1996...

, officially ending the 36-year civil war
Guatemalan Civil War
The Guatemalan Civil War ran from 1960-1996. The thirty-six-year civil war began as a grassroots, popular response to the rightist and military usurpation of civil government , and the President's disrespect for the human and civil rights of the majority of the population...

. The Secretary-General of the URNG, Comandante Rolando Morán
Rolando Morán
Comandante Rolando Morán is the nom de guerre of Ricardo Arnoldo Ramírez de León, a former leader of Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity , an armed Guatemalan resistance organization...

 and president Álvaro Arzú
Álvaro Arzú
Álvaro Enrique Arzú Yrigoyen was the 32nd President of Guatemala from January 14, 1996 until January 14, 2000...

 jointly received the UNESCO Peace Prize for their efforts to end the civil war and attain the peace agreement.

The UNRG has since apologized for the atrocities that occurred during the Guatemalan Civil War, asking forgiveness from all victims, families and other who experienced any kind of excesses. This apology came two days after President Clinton admitted the role of the United States in a “dark and painful period” during the civil war in Guatemala.

In the last legislative election, held on 9 November 2003, the party won 4.2% of the popular vote and 2 out of 158 seats in Congress
Congress of Guatemala
The Congress of the Republic is the unicameral legislature of the Republic of Guatemala.It comprises 158 deputies, who are elected by direct universal suffrage to serve four-year terms . Twenty-nine of these are elected from nationwide lists, with the rest on a district list basis...

. In the presidential election held the same day, its candidate Rodrigo Asturias
Rodrigo Asturias
Rodrigo Asturias Amado was a Guatemalan guerrilla leader and politician.Asturias was born in Guatemala City, the first-born son of Nobel Prize-winning author Miguel Ángel Asturias. He studied law in Chile and travelled extensively through the Southern Cone...

 won 2.6% of the popular vote.
At the 2007 elections
Guatemalan general election, 2007
A general election was held in Guatemala in two rounds on 9 September and 4 November 2007. Voters went to the polls to elect a new President and Vice President of the Republic, 158 congressional deputies, and 332 mayors.-Results:...

, the party won with 3.72 % 2 seats in the congressional elections. In the presidential election of the same day, its candidate Miguel Ángel Sandoval won 2.14 % of the popular vote.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.