During more than three decades of conflict with armed guerrilla forces, the Guatemalan military waged a savage campaign to prevent revolution in the small Central American nation crushed by poverty, racism, and injustice. Hundreds of thousands of civilians died, many of them “disappeared” by government death squads for their suspected ties to subversives. In 1996, civilian and military authorities joined the guerrillas to sign a peace accord, establishing an official truth commission to investigate atrocities committed during the war. The commission concluded that the Army and paramilitary forces were responsible for 93 percent of the human rights violations examined. The worst violence targeted the country’s Mayan indigenous population through scorched earth operations: massacres of entire villages, the razing of homes, the slaughter of farm animals, the burning of crops. The Guatemalan government called its sustained assault on Mayan communities a counterinsurgency. The truth commission called it genocide.
Daniel Hernández Salazar (Guatemala, 1956)
Photographer, Artist, Human Rights Activist
Author, Curator and Designer of the exhibition Genocide Dismissed, Guatemala A Silenced Tragedy.
Daniel Hernández-Salazar initiated his passion on photography during his studies in Architecture. During the 1980’s Guatemalan civil war, he worked as photojournalist for international agencies such as Agence France Presse, Reuters and the Associated Press. Hernández-Salazar presently works as an Independent Photographer, focusing his interests on portrait, nudes, architecture and historical memory—the last becoming his main topic of work and activism.
Although he masters digital equipments and techniques, Daniel remains loyal to the practice of analogue photography and darkroom, which he has never abandoned.
His work has been presented in more than 25 solo exhibitions and more than 35 group shows in North, Central and South America, Europe, Japan and Korea. For his artistic work in service of Human Rights he received in 1998 the Jonathan Mann Humanitas Award from the International Association of Physicians in Aids Care, and was named Knight of the Ordre Des Artes et des Lettres by the French Government in 2005. Part of his oeuvre has been published in two personal anthologies by Kage Shobo, (Tokio, 2006) and University of Texas Press (Austin, 2007), and has been featured in a number of art, academic and news publications, including the New York Times LENS Blog, Harpers, 6Mois, among others.
Since November 2012, his work is included in the permanent collection of the Kazerne Dossin Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in Mechelen, Belgium.