Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Take Action: Justice for Emilia Quan

Emilia - we still remember you. The search for justice continues.

On the 8th of December 2011, the first anniversary of the tragic death of Emilia Quan Staackmann takes place. Emilia was a Guatemalan woman, 33 years old, that always will be remembered as a sociologist committed to her work and as a lively, human and intelligent person.

Emilia Quan was a researcher for the organisation Centro de Estudios y Documentación de la Frontera Occidental de Guatemala (CEDFOG) in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. On the 7th of December, when Emilia was heading for a field mission, she was kidnapped. On the 8th of December 2010, Emilia was found dead in circumstances that have not yet been clarified.

In relation to the first anniversary we are realising this electronic campaign to collect signatures. The signatures will be submitted to the Office of the General Attorney in Guatemala , the authority responsible for carrying out rapid, thorough and efficient investigations, in order to identify, judge and sanction the persons responsible for the death of Emilia Quan.

It is possible to sign as an individual person as well as an organisation. Please send your signature (name/country or name of organisation/country) as latest Monday 5th of December 2011, to the following e-mail address: amigosemiliaquan@gmail.com

Please note; the text included in this message is the same that will be submitted to the Office of the General Attorney.

Do not hesitate to share this message- by e-mail, facebook, blogs, twitter - to other persons that could be interested in signing this campaign.

For more information, please consult the following links:



Thank you in advance,

Friends of Emilia Quan

Firmas - Justicia por Emilia Quan

Emilia - no te hemos olvidado. Seguimos buscando justicia

El 8 de Diciembre de 2011 se cumple el primer aniversario de la trágica muerte de Emilia Quan Staackmann. Emilia era una mujer guatemalteca de 33 años de edad, que siempre será recordada como una socióloga comprometida con su trabajo, alegre, humana e inteligente.

Emilia fue secuestrada en Huehuetenango el 7 de diciembre de 2010 mientras realizaba un viaje de campo relacionado con su trabajo en el Centro de Estudios y Documentación de la Frontera Occidental de Guatemala (CEDFOG), y encontrada muerta el día 8 de diciembre, en circunstancias que aún no han sido esclarecidas.

A propósito del primer aniversario de este hecho, estamos realizando esta campaña electrónica para recoger firmas, que serán entregadas al Ministerio Público en Guatemala, la autoridad responsable de llevar acabo investigaciones prontas, exhaustivas y eficaces, para que se identifique, juzgue y sancione a los responsables de la muerte de Emilia Quan.

Se puede firmar tanto como persona o como organización.

Favor de enviar sus firmas (nombre/ país o nombre de la organización/país) a más tardar el lunes 5 de diciembre de 2011 al siguiente correo electrónico: amigosemiliaquan@gmail.com

Nota: el texto que se incluye en este texto es el mismo que se enviará al Ministerio Público.

No duden en difundir este mensaje por e-mail, facebook, blogs, twitter -a otras personas que puedan tener interés de firmar esta campaña electrónica.

Para más información, favor ver:



Gracias de antemano,

Amigas y amigos de Emilia Quan

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nuestra Voz Nuestra Memoria: El genocidio en Guatemala

The Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR) and the Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH) have released a 30 minute documentary, "Our Voice, Our Memory: The genocide in Guatemala".  The documentary, available in full online, uses survivor and expert testimony to explain the concept of genocide, demonstrating how the atrocities committed by the Guatemalan military against indigenous Maya communities satisfy the requirements of the international legal definition of genocide.  English subtitles for the documentary are not currently available, please watch NISGUA's blog for updates.

La Asociación para la Justicia y Reconciliación (AJR) y el Centro para Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos (CALDH) han estrenado un documental de 30 minutos en duración, titulado "Nuestra Voz, Nuestra Memora: El genocidio en Guatemala."  El documental, disponible en su totalidad por internet, emplea el testimonio de sobrevivientes y expertos para explicar el concepto del genocidio, demostrando que las atrocidades cometidos por el Ejército de Guatemala en contra de las comundiades indígenas Mayas llenan los requisitos de la definición legal internacional del genocidio.

The documentary was premiered in Guatemala City on November 9th to a packed audience including AJR members and other representatives of national and international civil society.  Copies of the documentary will be freely distributed by CALDH as a means of raising public awareness and support for the national genocide trials, which are set to begin early next year.

Se estrenó el documental el 9 de noviembre en la Ciudad de Guatemala con una sala llena de miembros de la AJR y otros representantes de la sociedad civil nacional e internacional.  Copias del documental serán distribuidos por CALDH como una forma de concientizar al público y levantar el apoyo para los juicios en el caso por genocidio, la apertura de los cuales se espera para el año próximo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Military high command and former president arrested for Guatemalan genocide: Trials expected to open in 2012

Ten years have passed since genocide survivors filed cases against General Efraín Ríos Montt and members of his military high command. As a result of this investigation, in 2011, three former military officials—including a former president—have been arrested, andanother has been declared fugitive from justice.

On October 12, 2011, arrest warrants were issued for retired General and former de facto President Óscar Humberto Mejía Víctores, former intelligence chief General José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, and former chief of operations General Luís Enrique Mendoza García. Rodríguez Sánchez was arrested and Mejía Víctores turned himself on October 24. Mendóza García, a graduate of the U.S.-run counterinsurgency training academy known as the School of the Americas, remains a fugitive.

Earlier this year, on June 17, 2011, retired General Héctor Mario López Fuentes was arrested, he has since been formally indicted for the charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and forced disappearance committed against the Maya Ixil people in the department of El Quiché. López Fuentes acted as Army Chief of Staff under the de facto government of Efraín Ríos Montt from 1982-1983.

Lawyers for López Fuentes and Mejía Víctores have argued that their clients are unfit to stand trial due to poor health. Both are detained in the Military Hospital in Guatemala City, and the legal processes against them remain open. Trials against the three arrested officials are expected to open in early 2012.

This marks the first genocide case in the Americas to be tried in a national court and the highest-ranking military officials to be charged for human rights violations in Guatemala. The Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR) and the Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH), alongside the Attorney General’s office are the primary plaintiffs in the case.

Guatemala's President-elect and former General Otto Pérez Molina has publicly denied that the Guatemalan Army committed genocide, though he has stated that he will not interfere with cases in the justice system. Otto Pérez served as a commanding officer in the Quiché departmentduring the Ríos Montt regime.

Julia Cortez, legal representative of the AJR, reflected on the advance of the cases, “I am thinking about all of the people who have given their testimony, who spoke out and did not hide their truth. We will continue fighting against the genocide committed against the indigenous Maya people. We want justice.

NISGUA has provided international human rights accompaniment to the AJR and CALDH since 2000. Through the Guatemalan Accompaniment Project, volunteers are trained as human rights observers, living and traveling alongside participants in the genocide cases as a form of non-violent protection and support.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Former General Wins Presidential Election in Guatemala

On November 6, Guatemala's presidential elections ended in a close victory for retired General Otto Pérez Molina.
Pérez Molina's Patriot Party has promised an iron fist approach to security in the face of rising crime and international drug trafficking. Carrying a majority in urban and Eastern departments, Pérez Molina won 54% of the vote. With a populist discourse merging social promises with extremist stances on security and taxation, his opponent Manuel Baldizón of the LIDER party won a slight majority in the western highlands, the south coast, and his native department of Petén.

The Patriot Party administration would be the first since the 1986 transition from dictatorship to civilian government to be headed by a former military officer.
In the mid 1980s Pérez Molina served as a commanding officer in the hard-hit Ixil region of the Quiché department, carrying out the Guatemalan military's brutal counterinsurgency campaign. As director of military intelligence during the 1990s, he is implicated in torture and disappearances, including the case of Efraín Bámaca. Pérez Molina has denied allegations of participation in human rights abuses and paints himself as a reformist within the military, highlighting his role in negotiating the 1996 Peace Accords.  (For more information about Pérez Molina's history, see Annie Bird's commentary for Rights Action, as well as "El acenso del General," an excellent article published in Guatemala's El Periodico newspaper.)

Pérez Molina's military career has raised strong concerns amongst civil society and human rights organizations. His administration will have the power to support or to block ongoing reforms of the justice system, the state's collaboration with the U.N. International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), and the precedent-setting human rights cases that have advanced under the leadership of Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz. Pérez Molina has publicly stated that he does not believe the Guatemalan military is responsible for genocide.

Among Pérez Molina's first acts as President-elect was to announce nominations for several key government ministries. Mauricio López Bonilla, a former military intelligence officer and Patriot Party campaign manager, will head the Interior Ministry, charged with implementing security policy, police reform, and counter-narcotics efforts. Alejandro Sinibaldi, failed Patriot Party candidate for mayor of Guatemala City, will serve as Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Housing, a strategic post in charge of lucrative state contracts. Francisco Arredondo was named for head of the Ministry of Health, which has been at the center of a bitter struggle between the Guatemalan Congress and health workers' unions over insufficient budgets and deteriorating conditions in the public health system.

Despite having the largest block in Congress, Pérez Molina's administration will not enjoy enough of a majority to pass legislation without seeking alliances with other parties. His administration faces a budget crisis precipitated by his party's refusal to approve international loans destined for health, education, and the justice system, as well as climate change mitigation, and initiatives against tax evasion. In addition to his promises to improve security, Pérez Molina has expressed his support for international investment in the mining and energy sectors, which may bring his government into conflict with communities which have organized to defend indigenous territory, natural resources, and self-determination. He has also committed his government to continue popular social programs which offer basic material support to impoverished families.

Pérez Molina's security proposals include the establishment of inter-agency task forces which will increase collaboration between police forces and the military. According to the Wall Street Journal, Pérez Molina "would welcome U.S. troops to battle drug gangs" in Guatemala. Ironically, human rights and security analysts have linked Pérez Molina and the Patriot Party to criminal organizations and military mafias. Meanwhile, the long-term involvement of members of the Guatemalan military in organized crime raises serious doubts about the institution's role in counter-narcotics and anti-crime operations.

As powerful local movements for justice and indigenous rights continue to grow, the attention and accompaniment of the international community will be crucial during the coming four years.

Desparcimiento del agua residual contenida en la represa de cola de la mina Marlin




Desde el comienzo de  las operaciones mineras, en San Miguel Ixtahuacán, San Marcos, Guatemala, en 1996 cuando esta entró en el territorio del pueblo Mam de San Miguel Ixtahuacán San Marcos, ha sido una empresa manipuladora porque los primeros que llegaron siempre negaron decir la verdad, nunca  aclararon que iban a extraer oro  plata en el territorio de San Miguel.

En 1998 cuando empezaron a comprar las tierras  lo hicieron bajo amenaza,  violando un derecho que tenemos  los pueblos y ha sido ratificado por el estado de Guatemala, lo es el convenio 169 del Organización Internacional del trabajo de las naciones unidas, declaración universal de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas de las naciones unidas entre otros tratados internacionales y esto bajo la protección y manipulación del sistema operativo del derecho vigente en Guatemala. Violando este derecho del libre consentimiento previo en informado vigente en Guatemala, respeto a su territorio y la autodeterminación  de los pueblos.

Esta violación del derecho del pueblo Mam continúan aun hoy, sin ser reconocida ni respetada por el estado de Guatemala y la mina marlín a pesar las demandas presentadas ante la Comisión Interamericana de Derecho Humanos de la Organización de los estados Americanos  y del otorgamiento de las medidas cautelares  por este alto organismo internacional en materia de los derechos humanos.

El día 2 de noviembre, varios vecinos y defensores de derechos humanos de las comunidades alrededor de la mina Marlin, han manifestado su preocupación y pena  que se encuentran abajo del dique de cola (depósito de agua construido artificialmente donde se deposita el agua servida y mesclada con químicos altamente contaminantes) Este depósito de cola inicialmente no tiene ningún soporte  de fondo, el agua se deposita sobre la tierra esto a su vez se ha filtrado en la tierra y el lago o deposito de cola está bajando enormemente el volumen, aproximadamente 2 metros de altura o de su capacidad, este desaparecimiento le preocupa a muchas familias alrededor de la empresa minera y las comunidades que viven abajo de la industria minera, ya que no saben a donde pudo salir esta cantidad de agua residual. Aproximadamente ha disminuido 2 metros., que han visto en los últimos 3 días y según testimonios de los trabajadores de la mina Marlin expresadas ante los vecinos, esto se visualiza  que aproximadamente ha disminuido 2 metros. En la mayoría de fotos se observa  un área tapado con  Nylon plástico color negro, ignoramos para que lo han hecho ya que antes este no existía. Además todo lo que ha sucedido alrededor de la mina el pueblo lo desconoce, las autoridades guatemaltecas no han sido transparentes con sus acciones,  el cual es otra forma de violar nuestros derechos como pueblo Mam de San Miguel Ixtahuacán.

Las causales de que esto ocurran no se sabe a ciencia cierta, lo que sí es cierto es que el agua o deposito de colas  está disminuyendo en gran manera y eso es una preocupación a muchas familias que viven alrededor del gran rio Cuilco, puesto que muchos de estas familias son productoras de tomate, cebolla entro otros productos de consumo para los mercados locales en las comunidades de San Marcos, Huehuetenango y Chiapas México, y el paso del rio Cuilco en Guatemala se desemboca al rio Grijalva en México y luego al mar pacifico lo que significa una gran amenaza para muchos pueblos y comunidades. 

Ante este hecho solicitamos:

Al Ministerio del Medio Ambiente y recursos Naturales la pronta intervención . Para que verifique este hecho con la participación de las comunidades en defensa de su territorio.

Al ministerio de Energía y minas pedimos  que tome medidas para que el agua no perjudique a las   comunidades que se encuentran amenazadas e indicadas en este documento

A la Comisionada Presidencial de Derechos Humanos solicitamos su pronta intervención y verificación personalmente.

Al señor procurador De Derechos Humanos de Guatemala exigimos su intervención de forma inmediata en forma personal para la verificación  de esta amenaza para la vida de las familias.

A  la comunidad internacional su acompañamiento y observancia en el cumplimiento de esta demanda

A la comisión interamericana de derechos humanos de la organización de los estados americanos que tome intervención en esto ya que se trata de un asunto de alto riesgo para la vida de las comunidades.

Al relator de los pueblos indígenas de las naciones unidades su puntual observancia.


COPAE: copae.sanmarcos@gmail.com, 

- Guillermo Shell - Director General de minería, MARN,  coormineria[at]marn.gob.gt,
- Eugenia Castro, Directora General de gestion ambiental, MARN, emodenessi[at]marn.gob.gt 
- Luis Zurita Tablada, Viceministro MARN,  zurita_tablada[at]hotmail.com

- Alfredo Porres - Viceministro de energia y minas, aporres[at]hotmail.com, 
- Romeo Rodriguez, Viceministro de Energia y Minas,  ministro[at]mem.gob.gt

- Ruth del Valle – Presidenta de COPREDEH, Ruth del Valle: ruth_delvalle[at]copredeh.gob.gt
- Hugo Martinez – Unidad de defensores de DDHH,  hugo_martinez[at]copredeh.gob.gt
- Esperanza López, COPREDEH San Marcos, 

- Jorge Alberto Pérez Marroquin, Asesor de Asuntos Politicos de la Vicepresidencia, 
- Juan Luis Velasquez Carrera, Secretario Técnico (de la mesa de diálogo), 

Ministerio de Salud:
- Guillermo Echeverría P., Ministro de Salud

- Mario Marroquin Rivera, Director Goldcorp/Montana, mario.marroquin[at]goldcorp.com