As we know, the international media will not publish any story about Guatemala unless there is a cut and dried opportunity to mention the "decades long" civil war.
These have been thinning out a bit recently, so a consensus has apparently been reached that migrant caravans, corruption and sometimes even pandemic-related problems should be allowed as consequences of this increasingly distant conflict.
The start of the trial this week of five 'former paramilitaries' for the rape of 36 Achi women between '81 and '85 has however allowed the foreign hacks to peddle a new batch of the more or less uncut stuff.
My own only direct, up close and personal encounter with the PACs (Civil Defence Patrols) back in the 80s suggests to me that 'paramilitary' might be a slight misnomer.
Along with a very close friend I had taken a bus from Flores to El Naranjo, Petén up on the north west border largely out of bloodyminded determination to show up someone who had advised us not to.
Back then the road was extremely rough and the ride long and arduous to say the least. Our destination was little more than a small military outpost on the Rio San Pedro and our fellow passengers almost entirely a collection of prostitutes and members of the PACs heading that way for semi-professional reasons.
The 'paramilitary' recruits were a would-be platoon of notably ill-groomed campesinos, mostly over 50. Each of them was handed a rifle — considerably older than any of them — as they descended from the bus. The soldiers made a gesture to equip both of us with the same which generated much mirth.
Observing this inebriated rabble, it struck me that they would inevitably lose a straight fight with the American minutemen of 1776.
Arming the dirt poor in this way always struck me as a seriously bad idea and I believe it was one of Ríos Montt's masterplans.
That it resulted in serious human rights abuses should surprise absolutely noone.