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Flavio and Holly Montúfar

Flavio Montúfar is a survivor of an internal armed conflict in Guatemala that occurred between 1960-1996, during which the Guatemalan military committed numerous massacres of civilians and violations of human rights. In the department of Quiché, where the majority of the violence occurred, Flavio was chief of two different volunteer firemen’s companies and an assistant forensic medical examiner. It was his task to collect the bodies of victims from roadsides and ravines, and to conduct autopsies on victims in the morgue in Santa Cruz del Quiché. Starting in 1981, as the armed conflict raged, Flavio conducted hundreds of exhumations, and in 1989 he became the first Guatemalan to receive training in forensic anthropology by renowned expert Dr. Clyde Collins Snow. In 1992 together with another expert, Stefan Schmitt, Flavio cofounded the first forensic anthropology team in Guatemala, the EAFG, which later became the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala, the FAFG, where he worked from 1999 to 2008. According to Dr. Snow, Flavio is the “real great-great grandfather of this effort in Guatemala.”

As a trustee for the Agape Charitable Trust of Massachusetts, Holly Martín Montúfar has supported the work of the FAFG since 1993, and since 1996, has supported the Institución Mam de Desarrollo Integral (IMDI) in the Maya-Mam village of Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Guatemala, an integral development program focusing on projects for potable water, reforestation, women’s education/financial literacy, microcredit, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, and community health centers.

As Holly Martín, Clinical Hypnotherapist, in McMinnville, she offers hypnotherapy services for adults, specializing in aiding the recovery of violence and trauma survivors, and has given training workshops for the Yamhill County CASA Program and the FAFG on post-traumatic stress syndrome and traumatic bonding.   

During the 1980s, Holly was married to a villager from Todos Santos Cuchumatán, whose family survived a massacre there and then became internally-displaced refugees. For more than 30 years, Holly has worked to increase public understanding of Guatemala’s armed internal conflict and to promote justice in the post-war period. At Linfield College she has personally given presentations and brought numerous speakers to speak about the lives of Mayan people today and war crimes investigations in Guatemala.

Since they married in 2008, Holly and Flavio have worked together to support the ongoing quest for justice for Guatemala’s victims of genocide and crimes against humanity, with a special focus on the use of forensic anthropology and archaeology in exhuming mass graves in Guatemala.