Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Guatemalan kabuki?

Posted by Charles II on May 19, 2009

Via CMike, a convoluted tale of murder and intrigue in Guatemala. The newly-elected left-leaning president of Guatemala stands accused of having murdered human rights lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano. Charles Lemos of Mydd.com summarizes it this way:

The reason Mr. Rosenberg gives for his murder is that he was representing Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie Musa who were murdered in mid-April also at the behest of President Colom and his wife. Mr. Rosenberg was preparing documents related to this case to present to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a body of the Organization of American States based in Washington. Mr. Musa, a coffee grower and textile manufacturer, had been appoointed as a director of Guatemala’s Rural Development Bank, or Banrural, in March by President Colom. But Mr. Musa refused to go along with illicit activities that included a money laundering and embezzlement ring that was run by the President’s wife.

However, it’s not quite that simple. Rosenberg alleges that:

It was Alvaro Colom, in agreement with Gustavo Alejos and Gregorio Valdez, who withheld Mr. Khalil Musa’s already signed appointment, without his knowledge, for over three months, for in reality they had no intention whatsoever of granting him this post, but were using his good name with the argument that if new quotas of power were not distributed, Mr. Khalil would denounce the corruption with which Banrural’s General Manager Fernando Peña operates this bank at his whim, for the service of Mrs. Sandra de Colom, as an associate and financier …

…José Angel López, Fernando Peña and the cowardly Gerardo de León directly threatened and intimidated Khalil Musa, a few weeks before his assassination, so that he’d give up his post and Khalil Musa, as a true gentleman, told them he had no problem with his appointment being withdrawn or rescinded…

….Khalil Musa lets Gustavo Alejos and Alvaro Colom know that he’s decided not to take part in the Board of Banrural to avoid troubles, but they ask that he give them time, as all was getting resolved, without Khalil Musa having the slightest idea that once the thieves and murderers had everything settled, they would murder him along with his daughter, Marjorie …

Well, sorry, but I don’t get why they would go to the trouble to knock Musa off if he had agreed to step down. Second, the right, not the left is responsible for most of the executions in Guatemala. Third, as a human rights lawyer, Rosenberg would have been regarded as a threat by the Guatemalan right. Finally:

Ken Ellingwood of the LA Times says:

Colom vehemently denies any involvement and has asked a U.N.-sponsored investigative commission and the FBI to help find the killers.

The sources that I rely on– El Universal, la Jornada, Narco News, etc.– haven’t commented on this story. Proceso says that the protests are coming from the upper class and the media, which makes it sound like yet another coup attempt. I’d like to see what these journalistic sources have to say before reaching any conclusion.

9 Responses to “Guatemalan kabuki?”

  1. Doran said

    Mr. Rosenberg is giving reasons for his murder? Reports of his death, I take it, were grossly exaggerated.

  2. Charles said

    No, I’m sorry, Doran, they weren’t.

    He was shot while bicycling in Guatemala City.

  3. Doran said

    “The reason Mr. Rosenberg gives for his murder…”

    Bad syntax or just bad writing?

  4. I was kinda wondering about that, myself.

  5. Charles II said

    It was a taped announcement, so I would say neither bad syntax nor bad writing. Just the bad luck to be a human rights lawyer where that’s considered equivalent to being a terrorist.

  6. I’m shocked — this has actually hit the wire services in the US: http://news.aol.com/article/guatemala-crisis/492087

  7. Charles II said

    Well, it is in the LAT, Phoenix Woman. And recall that my very tentative prediction is that this is part of a right-wing coup attempt, which would be strengthened by play in the US press. It might be far less surprising than one might think.

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