Patzún, Chimaltenago is nestled at the foot of the Western Highlands. It has a population of 26,000 in the urban area, and 22,000 in rural communities. 95% of residents are Kaq'chikel Mayans and 5% are ladino.
In recent history Patzún has been devastated by two historical events: 1) the earthquake of 1976 which destroyed most public and private infrastructure, and 2) the political violence of the civil war which peaked in the early 1980s.
The civil war, or la violencia, in particular has left lasting physical, psychosocial and economic affects on rural Patzuneros. Civil Action Patrols were created to defend the interests of local political elites and turned community members against each other.