Prior to US intervention in Guatemala, neo-liberal policies were proliferating during the 1940s, popular reforms braced by Guatemalan people. In response to this phenomena, the United Fruit Company began a successful lobby of the US government to crackdown on today’s “terrorism”, or communist sympathizers  . What is clear throughout the literature is that the Civil War was due to classic Banana Republic actions. What is not immediately clear is why either faction was unable to win the conflict over the period of 40 years. Part of this may be to the comparatively small scale of operations — the United States wanted first class results from a bare-bones investment, with “large-scale” operations having less than 500 people involved. 
The Catholic elite investigated the genocide ostensibly because it was an organized entity without fear of reprisal; that fear had diminished since the 1980s. From Peacemaking, this desire is based on “God’s will to repair the world through taking its sin upon himself”.  Due to the respect and dominance of the church in the region, it has a far larger impact than its dioceses in Eastern Europe with regards to genocide. Guatemala is one of the few exceptions were Catholic investigation was helpful at attracting worldwide attention.
Genocide is common enough that I rarely see it used incorrectly or in an exaggerative manner. Genocide did not occur in Guatemala semantically but words evolve over time to possibly integrate the usage here to include “collateral damage”. Clue used to mean ball of yarn, after all. One has to look at the etymology of the word “genocide” to decide. It means elimination of “gen” by “cide”, or essentially elimination of a race by killing. It does not factor in the rationale of these deaths. This was the argument of Guatemala’s far right. An international commission’s rebuttal was the race here was actually an economic class
Like homicide, the rationale can affect the punishment, but it is materially still killing, and is interesting why of diverting death of individuals into a lexical exercise.