Guatemalan Rebels Try To Prepare Young Combatants for Peace

By ANITA SNOW – Associated Press – May 11, 1996

ESCUINTLA, Guatemala(AP) _ Manolo learned everything he needed to know about politics the day he saw soldiers kill his mother.

The 14-year-old Ixil Indian, standing about 4 1/2-feet tall in his olive green uniform and bandolier, typifies the younger generation of Guatemalan rebels in Central America’s last and longest war.

Now that their leaders are negotiating peace, what happens to the young guerrillas, many without parents, is a major worry.

Manolo saw his mother die when he was 9.

“Manolo cried and cried,” his 17-year-old cousin, Rodolfo, said beside a campfire at a rebel camp in the mountains of southern Guatemala. “And when he was done crying, he and I joined the guerrillas.”