No Democracy Without Archives (Boston Review)

Fifteen years old this week, Guatemala’s National Police archive has helped prosecute numerous officials for their roles in the country’s civil war. Now shuttered by a Trump-backed government, its dramatic history illustrates the crucial role of state archives in protecting democracy.

“Even ten years ago,” the activist told me, “they would have killed all the people working on a project like that.” It was 2008, he was referring to the unlikely discovery and rescue of the archives of Guatemala’s National Police three years earlier, and he was deadly serious.   

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