Two important pieces of news from Guatemala represent the strides being taken to reconcile the horrors of the past, but also the continuing violence and horrors of the present.
On September 7, 2013, at 11pm, 11 people were killed and 18 injured in the Kaqchikel community of San Jose Nacahuil, in the municipality of San Pedro Ayampuc. The Guatemala Human Rights Commission-USA reports in their news update:
Though officials blame the attack on gang violence, families of the victims report that police are responsible and call for officials to hold them responsible.
Analysis following this tragedy has indicated the possible connection to the peaceful non-violent resistance at “La Puya,” which community members of Nacahuil are involved in. One theory is that the massacre was carried out to justify militarizing the community and providing security to the mining project, which has been delayed for over a year because of the community’s peaceful resistance known as La Puya. Representatives of La Puya note that this event comes after their peaceful, non-violent resistance has been facing intimidation from police patrols since August 31, and that in the past events like this one have come before repressive measures against La Puya.
You can read more information here, and here. Be sure to sign up for GHRC’s listserv to keep up with the case, and take part in urgent actions. Read a letter from 15 organizations to President Perez-Molina of Guatemala.
In other Guatemala news, and on a more positive note, on September 20, a Guatemalan tribunal convicted the former director of the National Police of Guatemala, retired Col. Héctor Bol de la Cruz, and his subordinate Jorge Alberto Gómez López for the 1984 disappearance of student and labor leader Edgar Fernando García.
As the National Security Archive reports:
The verdict broke new ground in the case of Fernando García’s abduction and presumed murder, by condemning senior police officials for their role in ordering, overseeing, and then concealing the crime. The trial also gave the prosecution the opportunity to introduce eyewitness testimony from a fellow senior police officer indicating that after his capture, Edgar Fernando García was turned over to members of Guatemalan army intelligence. The revelation prompted the court to order the investigation to continue.