Amnesty International. The Human Rights Story by J. Power (Auth.)

By J. Power (Auth.)

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Arbenz issued a decree expropriating the large estates. In doing so, he took on imperial capitalism at its crudest. T h e United Fruit Company for decades had had its way t h r o u g h o u t Central America, much of the Caribbean, and parts of South America. By the 1950s United Fruit's investment in Guatemala accounted for almost two-thirds of the country's total foreign capital. 5 million square kilometers of territory, the country's single railway line, and had great influence in many of Guatemala's most important institutions.

Torture, which is still practiced by many otherwise modern and enlightened countries, has been a primary concern of Amnesty International from its foundation. The Conference for the Abolition of Torture convened in Paris on IO-II December 1973 (below) served to give Amnesty's campaign an international forum. The cartoon (nght) from The Observer of9 July 1978 depicted torture by electric shock, as administered to a prisoner in Chile, William Beausire, who had disappeared following his arrest. or to petition President Park, and were hanged immediately.

It is clearly an exhaustive process. External organizations—church, union, and political— which have live networks inside Guatemala feed him with information all the time. He and other members of the small Amnesty team have to evaluate carefully, learning over time w h o can be trusted, w h o has a propensity to exaggerate, and w h o m they can ask to double- and triple-check. When it came to the central indictment—that these killings were organized in an annex to the central palace—their method of verification and double-checking indicated the difficulty and complexities that confront any outsider investigator.

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