Guatemala, which usually gets lost in the grim and seemingly insoluble scuffle of Central American politics, ended 32 years of bloody military rule in 1986 when it freely elected a civilian president.
But as "Under the Gun: Democracy in Guatemala" makes depressingly clear tonight (10 p.m., Channel 50; 10:30 p.m., Channel 28), the tiny country of 8 1/2 million mostly Mayan Indians is still crippled by terrible political and socioeconomic problems.
Producers Robert Richter and Patricia Goudvis supply a lot of valuable information about this little-known country and its beautiful people. They also present a great deal of damning evidence that, despite Guatemala's move to democracy, little has changed under the current administration of President Vinicio Cerezo.
Many credible critics--from archbishops to guerrilla resistance leaders--charge that Guatemala is democratic in name only. They claim that Cerezo has not reined in the military, has not put an end to human-rights abuses, has not made essential land reforms and has not punished those responsible for the murders, kidnappings and corruption of the past (human rights groups blame Guatemalan military regimes with 100,000 deaths and 40,000 disappearances since 1954).