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GSN MONDAY MAILER JUNE 12 2012

Posted by Tom on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 in News.

DUE TO SUMMER TRAVEL, GSN MAILERS WILL BE BI-WEEKLY UNTIL MID AUGUST. SHOULD PRESSING MATTERS OCCUR, AS THEY SEEM TO DO ALL THE TIME (NOD TO W. BENJAMIN) I WILL DO MY BEST TO SEND OUT THINGS MORE FREQUENTLY

 

 

1.       EXPERT WITNESS HELP NEEDED ON LGBT CASES (A RAPE CASE AND A TRANSGENDER CASE)

2.       NPR PIECE ON DOS ERRES MASSACRE

3.       CALL FOR ACTION FROM GHRC REGARDING CLOSURE OF SEPAZ

4.       PETITION PUBLICIZING PLIGHT OF BARILLAS POPULATION (SEE ATTACHED)

5.       TROUBLE AT FLACSO

 

 

 

1.       EXPERT WITNESS HELP NEEDED ON LGBT CASES (A RAPE CASE AND A TRANSGENDER CASE)

 

From: Whitney Drake <wdrake10@gmail.com>
Subject: Expert Report Request

My name is Whitney Drake, and I am a law student intern with American Gateways, a nonprofit legal organization in Austin, Texas, that provides pro bono immigration services. I'm contacting you because of your expertise in Latin American Studies and Sexualities Studies, as mentioned on the Latin American Studies Association website.  Our office is looking for a Latin American Studies professor who is knowledgeable about gender or LGBT topics in Guatemala or who have recently visited Guatemala for research purposes within the past few years.

American Gateways is representing several clients in asylum cases before the Immigration Court in San Antonio, Texas.  Our clients came to the United States to seek refuge from the persecution they suffered in their home countries.  One of our cases relates to transgender (male to female) Guatemalans.  The Guatemalan case is actually comprised of two cases with substantially similar facts (both women were raped by a group of men in the same incident).

We will need to provide extensive documentation on the treatment of transgender women in Guatemala and the role of the governments in prevention and protection. I would love to discuss the possibility of you or one of your colleagues serving as an expert in this case.  This would entail a written report and possible testimony at a final hearing.  Testimony would be brief and may be conducted telephonically.  The final hearing is yet to be scheduled but will likely be scheduled three to six months from now.  

Like all of our asylum cases, we have taken these cases pro bono.  Due to our clients’ financial situations and our limited resources, we would greatly appreciate it if you would consider volunteering your time for the report and testimony.  Without the support of volunteers, we would not be able to continue our work.  Please let me know if you are interested and available. 

Thank you for your consideration; I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
Whitney Drake
Legal Intern
American Gateways (formerly PAPA)
314 E. Highland Mall Boulevard, Suite 501
Austin, TX 78752-3733
Tel: (512) 478-0546 <tel:%28512%29%20478-0546
Fax: (512) 476-9788 <tel:%28512%29%20476-9788

 

2.       NPR PIECE ON DOS ERRES MASSACRE

 

Rights Action – June 4, 2012

GUATEMALA – "What Happened At Dos Erres?"

 

WHAT HAPPENED AT DOS ERRES

NPR radio report (59 minutes), May 25, 2012

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/465/what-happened-at-dos-erres

 

******

 

DIGGING FOR TRUTH ABOUT THE "DOS ERRES" MASSACRE IN GUATEMALA, NOT ABOUT THE COMPLICITE ROLE OF THE UNITED STATES

by Grahame Russell, info@rightsaction.org

 

Rights Action recommends listening to a very moving 59 minute NPR radio report "What Happened At Dos Erres?" (May 25, 2012

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/465/what-happened-at-dos-erres) that describes a particular massacre in Guatemala – the Dos Erres [Dos-Errez] massacre of some 200 people in 1982; the report describes courageous efforts in Guatemala, since the mid-1990s, to seek truth and justice for this massacre.

 

NPR also presents the extraordinary story of one of the few survivors of this massacre, a 3 year old boy Oscar, and the reuniting of this boy, 30 years later, with his father.

 

Since 1995, Rights Action has been funding communities in Guatemala working tirelessly and courageously for truth, memory and justice: carrying out mass grave exhumations; carrying out re-burial ceremonies, once the remains of their loved ones are returned to them by the FAFG (Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation); constructing commemorative monuments for massacred family members and loved ones; and, pursuing justice in Guatemalan and international courts. Rights Action funds the work of FAMDEGUA (Family members of the Disappeared), profiled in this NPR report though lamentably not mentioned by name, and other grassroots organizations, along these lines.

 

DOS ERRES MASSACRE

In 1982, the Guatemalan military massacred some 200 people in the village of Dos Erres (department of Peten), as part of their country-wide State repression and terrorization plan of massacres against their own civilian population. In certain Mayan regions of the country, the repression reached the level of genocide. Like hundreds of massacres across Guatemala, the Dos Erres massacre – carried out with mind-numbing savagery – killed the over 200 villagers and utterly destroyed future generations of the surviving family and community members, which was the intent of the repression.

 

In this context, the survival of, let alone reuniting of Oscar and his father – 30 years separated – is utterly amazing.

 

DE-CONTEXTUALIZED REPORT

There are some minor points to clarify from the NPR report.

 

Firstly, as reported by the United Nations Truth Commission report, at least 200,000 were killed and at least 45,000 disappeared by the Guatemalan regime – the vast majority civilian, the majority Mayan.

 

Secondly, the Dos Erres massacre is not the first time that a few low-ranking material authors of massacres were found guilty, though it is one of the very few cases wherein any justice at all has been done.  The Rio Negro massacres of some 444 Mayan Achi villagers – caused in large part due to the construction of the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank funded "Chixoy Dam" – was the first massacre case in Guatemala wherein a few low-ranking 'material' authors were found guilty and jailed.

 

Thirdly, the finding and reuniting of Oscar and his father was not crucial to success of the Dos Erres legal cases, both before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and Court, and slowly, bit by bit, in the Guatemalan courts.

 

More importantly, it is worth emphasizing that Aura Elena, the founder of FAMDEGUA who is interviewed in the NPR report, is certainly the crucial person in this entire struggle for truth, memory and justice for the Dos Erres massacre.

 

ABSENT – DEEPLY COMPLICITE ROLE OF UNITED STATES

However, the major point to clarify is that NPR completely factored out the extensive role the U.S. government has played for generations in funding, training and arming Guatemala's military. The listener is left profoundly moved by this amazing story of suffering, survival and partial family reunion, is left stunned at the brutal things that happened in a 'far away' country (Guatemala), and is left with no idea of the role the U.S. played in Guatemala, as part of widespread American support for and involvement with brutal regimes throughout Latin America during the "cold war".

 

The "Kaibiles" special forces that carried out the Dos Erres massacre (that this report focuses on), and that are responsible for some of the very worst atrocities during Guatemala's State repression and terrorism against its own population, were (and are today) U.S. trained "special" forces. Near the end of the report, NPR interviews Guatemala's new President, former General Otto Perez Molina. Mentioning that Perez Molina was the highest ranking officer of the "Kaibiles", NPR does not report that Perez Molina received military and intelligence training in U.S. military schools, was a reported C.I.A. agent or "asset", and is widely alleged to be an intellectual author of the policy of massacres, genocide, during the worst years of massacres, genocide and State terrorism.

 

NPR is to be commended for airing this moving report, but I think it incumbent on NPR to fully investigate and report on the extensive historical role of the U.S. supporting, empowering and collaborating with generations of brutal regimes in Guatemala, making possible and inevitable such atrocities as the Dos Erres massacre.

 

*******

WHAT HAPPENED AT DOS ERRES

NPR radio report (59 minutes), May 25, 2012

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/465/what-happened-at-dos-erres

*******

 

TO MAKE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS (in USA & Canada) for FAMDEGUA and other grassroots organizations working for truth, memory and justice in Guatemala, make check payable to "Rights Action" and mail to:

 

UNITED STATES:  Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887

CANADA:  552 – 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8

 

CREDIT-CARD DONATIONS: http://rightsaction.org/contributions.htm

DONATIONS OF STOCK: info@rightsaction.org

 

*******

 

SEND QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS TO:

Grahame Russell, info@rightsaction.org

Annie Bird, annie@rightsaction.org

 

Follow Rights Action on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RightsAction.org

 

3.       CALL FOR ACTION FROM GHRC REGARDING CLOSURE OF SEPAZ

 

GHRC Denounces Closure of Peace Archives Directorate in Guatemala

 

The Guatemalan Human Rights Commission/USA expresses extreme concern at the Guatemalan Government’s announcement that it is closing down the Peace Archives Directorate of the Peace Secretariat (SEPAZ) and dissolving its investigative team, effectively canceling their projects to publish historical reports and denying future contributions to criminal investigations.

 

The work of the Peace Archives Directorate (Dirección de los Archivos de la Paz, DAP) has been integral to ongoing efforts to institutionalize the peace process and promote transitional justice, and has contributed greatly to the public’s access to truth and historic memory.

 

The Directorate’s investigative researchers and their reports have provided key evidence for human rights prosecutions, such as the military chain of command at times when the army committed massacres, torture and forced disappearances. Recently, Archive staff were called upon to provide expert testimony in emblematic cases such as the Genocide Case brought against former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt.

 

Created in 2008, the Directorate´s mandate is to “receive, analyze, classify, compile and digitalize military archives in order to establish human rights violations committed during the internal armed conflict”, recognizing explicitly that “the clarification of historic truth has been part of the Guatemalan peace process given that it contributes to the dignification of victims” of the conflict.  In 2009, the mandate was expanded to include documents from other Government offices that could help establish human rights violations.

 

In only four years, the office has digitalized more than two million documents and published nine books that analyze themes such as the Presidential General Staff (Estado Mayor Presidencial, or EMP), illegal adoptions, the Military Diary (el Diario Militar), and the labor rights movement.

 

Nevertheless, the Secretary of Peace, Antonio Arenales Forno, announced on May 31 that the investigation and analysis provided by the archive is not reason to maintain the entity, saying: “Today the decision was made to eliminate the Directorate, canceling contracts for which I find no justification and the functioning of an office I find makes no sense.”  The focus of the Peace Archives, he maintained, should be on providing information for the National Reparations Program, not on investigating the military, an erroneous justification given that the dignification of victims through the clarification of the truth is considered an important element of reparations.

 

Since January, when retired General Pérez Molina assumed the presidency, 23 staff members of the Directorate have been dismissed, including the former director Marco Tulio Alvarez. In April, five technical archival experts were let go, and on May 28, 17 investigators and other experts were notified that their contracts had been prematurely terminated. Members of the SEPAZ union, SITRASEPAZ, have denounced the firings as illegal under existing procedural guidelines.

 

The closure will also terminate an existing agreement of cooperation between the Peace Archives and the Public Prosecutor’s Office and will impede the Archive’s contribution to criminal investigations into human rights violations. Furthermore, the comments of Arenales Forno demonstrate not only a lack of respect for victims of the internal armed conflict, but a genuine threat to their right to truth and justice. 

 

By dismantling the entity designed to oversee and manage the entirety of documents pertaining to human rights violations committed during the internal armed conflict, Secretary Arenales Forno and President Pérez Molina will extinguish an invaluable contribution to the preservation of historic memory and to the State´s obligations under the Peace Accords, at the same time obstructing efforts to investigate the military for egregious human rights violations and crimes against humanity.

 

The Guatemala Human Rights Commission calls on the Guatemalan government to:

 

•  Strengthen, not weaken, the Peace Archives Directorate and respect its important role in promoting transitional justice;

•  Reestablish formal collaboration and inter-governmental agreements that were terminated between the Directorate and the Public Prosecutor´s Office;

•  Reinstate any worker whose contract has been illegally terminated;

•  Explain the fate of the digital archives maintained by the Directorate and the public reading room;

•  Clarify and make transparent the plans to restructure SEPAZ, the National Reparations Program (PNR) and the Presidential Human Rights Commission (COPREDEH).

 

Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA

Washington, DC

June 4, 2012

 

 

Cierran Archivo de la Paz

La dirección encargada de investigar los archivos militares de la época de la guerra interna y que aportó peritos para casos de genocidio, como el que se lleva contra Efraín Ríos Mont, fue clausurada por Antonio Arenales Forno, secretario de la Paz.

  •  

Más de dos millones de documentos han sido digitalizados por el Archivo de la Paz, y aunque el secretario de la Paz, Antonio Arenales, asegura que este proceso continuará, la Dirección será desmantelada.

  •  

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POR LEONEL DíAZ ZECEñA

“Los Archivos de la Paz se crearon en 2008, con la función de digitalizar y analizar archivos militares para establecer violaciones a los derechos humanos, pero esto le corresponde a la comunidad de derechos humanos, y la investigación de delitos le corresponde a la Fiscalía”, explicó ayer el funcionario, en entrevista con Prensa Libre.
Al menos 17 técnicos de esa dirección recibieron el lunes último el aviso de despido, efectivo a partir del 29 de junio. El Archivo está emplazado por el sindicato de trabajadores, el cual prevé presentar más recursos legales para frenar las acciones.
Investigaciones
Los investigadores de los Archivos de la Paz han editado nueve libros que abordan temas desde adopciones ilegales en la época de la guerra; niñez desaparecida, el Diario Militar, archivos de la Policía Nacional y un acercamiento al desarticulado Estado Mayor Presidencial.
La continuación de este último era el proyecto que ocupaba a la Dirección —en fase de planificación—, indicó el investigador Azarías Perencén.
Los expertos también han fungido como peritos en procesos judiciales en casos de genocidio y deberes contra la humanidad que prosigue el Ministerio Público (MP) en los tribunales, incluido el que se sigue contra el ex jefe de Estado Efraín Ríos Montt —1982-1983—.
Arenales Forno aseguró que esas no son razones para mantener con vida la entidad.
“Hoy por hoy se tomó la decisión de eliminar la Dirección, cancelando contratos por los que no encuentro justificación y la función de una dirección a la que no le encuentro sentido”, afirmó.
Aseguró que eliminar esa unidad forma parte de una restructuración, debido a que cuando llegó a la Secretaría de la Paz (Sepaz) halló más de 300 puestos en el renglón 0-29.
IMpacto
Las investigaciones publicadas por el Archivo de la Paz incluyen cadenas de mando con fechas en que hubo masacres, así como torturas y desapariciones en la guerra interna, que duró 36 años y que finalizó en 1996, cuando se firmaron los acuerdos de paz.
Se encuentran más de dos millones de documentos digitalizados, donde figuran nombres de militares y civiles, así como de los desaparecidos Maritza Urrutia y Santiago Cabrera, e incluso del exmandatario Jorge Serrano Elías y el presidente Otto Pérez Molina.
Aunque Arenales Forno dijo que aún no ha decidido dónde quedarán los archivos electrónicos, podría ser en el Archivo General de Centro América.
Incluso había un convenio de cooperación entre el Archivo de la Paz y el MP, el cual pierde efecto y, a criterio de la fiscal de Derechos Humanos, Aura Mansilla, podría afectar futuros procesos.
“Rescatamos información antes del cierre, pero ya con el tiempo, al ver los expedientes, si necesitamos más datos podría haber problemas”, refirió.
Arenales Forno dijo que solo le corresponden investigaciones con fines de resarcimiento, pero no para establecer posibles delitos.
También aseguró que en el país no hubo genocidio, porque eso es la “eliminación de un grupo nacional, étnico y religioso”, lo cual no ocurrió. Afirmó que “pudo haber masacres o abusos” entre personas vinculadas con la insurgencia o contra la insurgencia, cometidos en función del enfrentamiento.

 

 

 

4.       PETITION PUBLICIZING PLIGHT OF BARILLAS POPULATION (SEE ATTACHED)

 

I am writing you on behalf of the exiled Guatemalan-Mayan community in South Florida. We are beginning a campaign to make others aware of the atrocities occurring in Barillas, Guatemala now, especially in regard to the state of siege and the arrest of 17 Mayan leaders, and the death of one person and the injuries of several others. The exiled Mayan leaders are concerned the people’s voices are not being heard there in relation to their rejection of the plans for the construction of a hydroelectric dam.

 

Would you mind publicizing our letter and possibly collect signatures so we can send to the Guatemalan government?

 

Thank you very much for your kind consideration.

 

Best Regards, John

 

LINK TO LETTER Here is the link to the letter on our website: http://guatemalanmaya.org/letters

 

 

Dr. J. P. Linstroth

Executive Director

The Guatemalan-Maya Center

Centro Maya-Guatemalteco

430 North G Street

Lake Worth, FL 33460

(561) 547-0085

(561) 547-1007

www.guatemalanmaya.org

info@guatemalanmaya.org

Email: jlinstroth@guatemalanmaya.org

 

 

5.       TROUBLE AT FLACSO

 

http://www.elperiodico.com.gt/es/20120531/pais/212956/

 

 

Por el respeto a la institucionalidad de la Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, FLACSO Guatemala:

Manifestamos nuestro total repudio a la intervención del Gobierno del General Otto Pérez Molina en la elección de Director de nuestra Sede Académica

Las y los miembros del Consejo Académico de FLACSO Guatemala, con la adhesión de docentes, investigadores/as, trabajadores/as y estudiantes/as de esta Facultad, hacemos del conocimiento a la opinión pública las acciones que han culminado con la vulneración de la legalidad y de la autonomía e independencia de la Facultad en la elección de su Director.

El Consejo Académico de la Sede cumplió todas las normativas y procedimientos establecidos por el Sistema FLACSO para la designación y elección de directores de las Sedes Académicas, acoplándose a los tiempos en ella establecidos, presentando de forma unánime, como único candidato al Doctor Óscar López Rivera.

En comunicación oficial del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, el día 19 de marzo de 2012 se informa a la Secretaría General de FLACSO que el Doctor Óscar López Rivera ha sido propuesto como candidato a director de la Sede Académica FLACSO Guatemala, por parte del Consejo Académico y solicita que su nombre sea presentado ante la XXXV Reunión del Consejo Superior, para ser electo como tal en la XIX Reunión de la Asamblea General de FLACSO a realizarse los días 29 y 31 de mayo en Quito, Ecuador, argumentando que con la nominación del Doctor Óscar López Rivera “se estaría fortaleciendo el desarrollo académico de la institución”.

Esa misma cancillería, de forma extemporánea, el 24 de mayo de 2012, hace constar en una nota enviada a la FLACSO que retira la nominación del Dr. López Rivera, sin ninguna argumentación. El día 25 de mayo, en otra carta del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, se solicita al Director de FLACSO realizar “sus gestiones a fin de que el Consejo Académico proceda a proponer un nuevo candidato para que sea presentado oficialmente a la Secretaría General de la FLACSO”, 2 días hábiles antes de la elección en Quito, Ecuador.

Esa decisión gubernamental significa la oficialización de la intervención, ilegal y extemporánea, así como la cooptación de la FLACSO. Esta intromisión gubernamental constituye la primera vez, en 25 años en que una decisión autónoma de la FLACSO se subordina a la decisión del gobierno.

Ante lo anteriormente expuesto rechazamos de forma enérgica la flagrante intervención del gobierno del General Otto Pérez Molina en la elección de director de la FLACSO Sede Académica Guatemala, por cuanto esta acción atropella la legalidad y autonomía de la Facultad, supone un golpe a la normativa interna de nuestra institución y del Sistema FLACSO de Latinoamérica,

además de poner en riesgo la estabilidad laboral de docentes, investigadores/as y trabajadores/as; generar inestabilidad e incertidumbre en los grupos de estudiantes de maestrías, diplomados y especializaciones; poner en riesgo la continuidad de las áreas, programas y proyectos; generar incertidumbre en la cooperación internacional sobre la idoneidad e independencia de la institución y, lo más grave, afectar nuestra capacidad de incidencia y apoyo a la sociedad guatemalteca en la búsqueda del desarrollo, la democracia y la paz, desde la perspectiva de las ciencias sociales.

Al hacer público lo anterior, hacemos un llamado a los sectores académicos del país y a los sectores sociales con quiénes nuestras áreas, programas y proyectos han coordinado acciones y compartido sueños, a solidarizarse con nuestra institución y a rechazar ésta y otras formas de intervención que pretendan socavar el aporte de las ciencias sociales promovidas desde una perspectiva crítica, cerrando con ello los pocos espacios de debate académico y científico independientes que van quedando en nuestro país.

Guatemala, 29 de mayo de 2012

 

Thomas A. Offit Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Anthropology

Baylor University

(254) 710-6226



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