Report Confirms Guatemalan Army Stole Children for Adoption

A recent investigation by the Guatemalan Peace Archive came to the stunning conclusion that the country's Army stole at least 333 babies and sold them into adoption during the nation's 35-year civil war.
In some cases, parents were killed so that the children could be given to government operated agencies and adopted abroad.

The report's author and director of the Guatemalan Peace Archive, Marco Tulio Alvarez, told CNN, "This was a great abuse by the state."

Guatemala has a long history of adoption for monetary gain, but the civil war, which lasted from 1960 to 1996, made it easier for soldiers to abuse their power and abduct children. Officials began the investigation into adoptions between 1977-89 because peak adoptions occurred during that time period.

"We have to tell the truth about what happened," he said. "Guatemalan society must know what happened and must never allow it to happen again." 

Compounding the problem of adoption for income is the poverty level of many families in the Central American nation. Approximately 75 percent of the population lives below the poverty level and many Guatemalan parents cannot provide for their children. President Alvaro Colom recently declared a state of national emergency because so many citizens do not have access to proper food or nutrition.

Guatemala currently has the highest rate per capita of adoption, and about one in 100 children are adopted by parents in the United States, according to the U.S. consulate.