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Yesterday, October 4th 2012, forces from the Guatemalan army and the National Police opened fire on a protest of indigenous civilians from the municipality of Totonicapan who were protesting new constitutional reforms, an educational reform law proposed without consulting the indigenous population, and the rising price of energy.

This is part of a larger pattern of the official use of excessive repressive violence in the name of democracy and the rule of law carried out by previous "democratic" regimes, and by current president, General Otto Perez Molina. Perez Molina held the rank of commander in the Ixil triangle during the extreme counterinsurgency violence of the 1980s, and was implicated as part of the chain of command in the murder of Guatemalan Archbishop, Juan Gerardi after the release of the Catholic Church's truth historical memory project from his office in 1998.

The post below is an English and Spanish translation of the protest letter written by the MSICG, the Movimiento Sindical, Indigena y Campesino de Guatemala. (the Guatemalan Labor, Indigenous, and Peasant Movement). Please forward through your networks.

In Solidarity

The labor, indigenous and peasant movement of Guatemala—MSCCG—condemns the massacre executed by the army and agents of the National Police (PNC) against the brothers and sisters of the 48 villages of Totonicapan, who had convened in a peaceful protest with the goal of manifesting their opposition to the constitutional reforms proposed by the executive, the “educational reform” imposed by the Ministry of Education without consulting the indigenous population and the high cost of electricity.

The attack of the army and the PNC against the indigenous population has had a price of 4 dead and 37 wounded and 35 poisoned, all of them members of the civilian population.

The MSICG profoundly laments the pronouncement of the Procurador of Human Rights in the declarations on the radio station sonora, given that the fundamental duty of the State is to preserve the life and physical integrity of the person and no right comes before this fundamental right, and State forces are the principals obligated to guarantee it, at least in a democratic society.

It should be remembered that the imposition of the so-called educational reform has also been the motive for illegal detention, and this is the condition that the professor Edgar Jonatan Avalos Rodriguez finds himself in as a result of the acquiescence on the part of the judiciary and the Public Ministry To keep him in such a situation despite being unbelievable the acts by virtue of which his detention is founded.

The MSICG demands that the General Otto Perez Molina follow through with his affirmation that he will find out who is responsible for the excessive use of force against the brothers and sisters of the 48 cantones of Totonicapan, and that that investigation of the responsible parties covers in totality the chain of command responsible for the acts.

The MSICG calls out to the national and international community to demonstrate your support to the brothers and sisters of the 48 cantones of Totonicapan and your concern for the grave violations of human rights incurred by the Guatemala army and National Police against the civilian indigenous population and the absurd use of disproportionate public force.

Guatemala, October 4th 2012.



El Movimiento sindical, indígena y campesino guatemalteco –MSICG- condena la masacre ejecutada por el ejército y agentes de la Policía Nacional Civil en contra de las compañeras y compañeros de los 48 cantones de Totonicapán quienes habían sido convocados a una manifestación pacífica por los líderes indígenas de los cuarenta y ocho cantones de Totonicapán con la finalidad de manifestar su oposición a las reformas constitucionales propuestas por el poder ejecutivo,  la denominada reforma educativa impuesta por el Ministerio de Educación sin consultar  a los pueblos indígenas y el elevado costo de la energía eléctrica.

El ataque del ejército y de la Policía Nacional contra la población indígena ha tenido ya una cauda de 4 muertos, 37 heridos y 35 intoxicados, todos de la población civil.

El MSICG lamenta profundamente el pronunciamiento realizado por el Procurador de los Derechos Humanos en las declaraciones realizadas en radio sonora toda vez que el deber fundamental del Estado es preservar la vida y la integridad física de la persona y ningún derecho se encuentra por encima de este derecho fundamental y son las fuerzas del Estado las principales obligadas a garantizarla, al menos en una sociedad democrática.

Debe recordarse que la imposición de la denominada reforma educativa ha sido también motivo de que haya sido ilegalmente detenido y se encuentre en esa condición el profesor Edgar Jonatan Avalos Rodríguez debido a la aquiescencia por parte del poder judicial y del Ministerio Público para mantenerlo en tal situación aún a pesar de ser inverosímiles los hechos en virtud de los cuales se fundamenta su detención y la supuesta flagrancia.

El MSICG exige al General Otro Pérez Molina cumpla con su afirmación de deducir responsabilidades en contra de los responsables directos por el uso desmedido de la fuerza en contra de las compañeras y compañeros de los Cuarenta y Ocho Cantones de Totonicapán pero que tal deducción de responsabilidades abarque la totalidad de la línea de mando responsable por tales hechos.

El MSICG hace un llamado a la comunidad nacional e internacional a manifestar su solidaridad hacia los compañeros de los cuarenta y ocho cantones de Totonicapán y su preocupación por las graves violaciones a los derechos humanos incurridas por el ejército de Guatemala y la Policía nacional Civil en contra de la población indígena de los cuarenta y ocho cantones de Totonicapán en un uso absurdo y desproporcional de la fuerza pública.

Guatemala, 4 de octubre de 2012.


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Comment Preferences

  •  a sane immigration policy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    would open the door, and facilitate people from Central America and South America, instead of just saying "whoever is closest to the border gets first dibs,"

    Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 08:16:15 PM PDT

    •  Well, if you're Cuban, you do get first dibs (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leap Year, YucatanMan, mrkvica

      Which is why no Cuban-American will ever get more than 30% of the Mexican-American vote in a national election.

      Unless that Cuban American vows to give Mexican nationals the same rights that Cubans get:  You touch American soil, you become an American citizen.

      My rant over, what a tragedy in Guatemala.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 08:20:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  that wouldn't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster

      come close to making immigration policy sane, just shift it around, and lead tens of thousands of impoverished mexicans to immigrate to central america.

      •  yeah...right. like that's gonna happen (0+ / 0-)

        Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

        by Keith930 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 09:07:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  really? (0+ / 0-)

          i haven't heard of anything like that, and it seems far fetched. could you send me a link?

        •  Central and South Americans have to traverse (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Mexico before making it to the United States.

          Do you know how many Sheriff Arpaio's there are in Mexico?  Who never get mentioned here?  6 out of 10 Central American women who traverse Mexico en route to the U.S. are raped.

          Some of the men are, too.

          I am waiting for Mexico to treat its southern neighbors with the same respect it seeks from the North.  

          I'd also like to see a few less diaries about Sheriff Joe, and a few more about Tamaulipas and Chiapas.  There's plenty to write about in both of those Mexican States, and what goes on there makes Arpaio's shenanigans pale in comparison.

          Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

          by Keith930 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 09:23:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  there are also a lot of kidnappings (0+ / 0-)

            by narco traffickers who want to use immigrants as mules. the 6/10 figure about rape seems high, and doesn't match the accounts i have heard from many immigrants, but it is certainly a serious problem.  
            mexico's policy towards central american immigration is in coordination with and largely at the behest of the US government, not part of some autonomous repressive policy. unfortunately, most of the inhumanity and suffering inflicted by the border is an effect of a contradictory US policies: economic policies that want capital and goods to cross borders at will, but immigration policies that stop the movement of people. wars and "free" trade have devastated mexican and central american economies, while us companies desperately seek low wage, unorganized, and unskilled labor pools who are also expendable. these are the roots of the immigration problem; not abuses by mexican law enforcement.  

          •  There is plenty of law enforcement corruption ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Troutfishing, mrkvica

            in Mexico, and Mexicans know it, and many speak out against it.  Ditto for many countries south of Mexico.  I've known people in Central America who paid severely for speaking out against law enforcement and military corruption and brutality.

            But while we can speak out against that brutality and corruption, I think we have a more personal interest in opposing law enforcement corruption such as Sheriff Arpaio's that occurs in OUR country.

            Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

            by leevank on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 12:00:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Keith - the differences in the laws are stunning (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The laws for being in Mexico without the proper documents are criminal, and very severe, while the laws for being undocumented in the US are civil violations and the punishment is deportation. I have always found it puzzling that Mexico lobbies so hard for lenient immigration to the US and lots of due process for undocumented Mexicans who enter the US, while maintaining very harsh immigration laws itself.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 11:35:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  a sane policy would let in only the highly (0+ / 0-)

      educated and skilled.

      •  a sane immigration policy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        would rethink the economic and security policies that drive immigration, recognizing the US's role in creating the problem it demonizes. it would also stop criminalizing the most vulnerable who are simply trying to survive in a brutal neoliberal world order. it would be oriented in human rights, not conceptions of defense or corporate economic interest.

      •  At one time we did have an immigration policy (0+ / 0-)

        that favored the highly educated skilled. In addition for decades to legally immigrate to the US you needed a sponsor who would guarantee that they would provide you food and shelter for ten years. You were not able to apply for any local, state or federal assistance of any kind for that ten year period. This would allow you to bring grandma over from the old country as long as you had a place for her to stay. You could work and qualify for unemployment, Medicare and Social Security, but only if you paid into them.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 11:40:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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