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2011 DC Stop Human Slavery Walk and Rally

National Mall

Washington, DC

On Saturday, October 22, 2011, thousands will unite for the 2011 DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk on the National Mall to celebrate human rights, raise public awareness about human trafficking and raise funds for non-profits working to end the practice. The event includes a 5K walk around the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, resource fair, children's area, live music and luminary speakers, including survivors of trafficking. Last year's walk attracted over 2,000 walkers and raised over $100,000.

At the 2010 march and rally, Libertad Latina provided the only info table among those of 30 or so NGOs to address the Latina, Afro-descendent & indigneous aspects of the human trafficking issue.

For 2011, we are glad to see that vetern Latin@ legal services NGO Ayuda, Inc. is a co-sponsor of this important event.

For those who can attend, We look forward to meeting you there!



See also:

Ayuda Seeks Supporters for Walk to Stop Modern Slavery

Ayuda, Inc., a provider of legal and social assistance for low–income immigrants in the Washington metropolitan area, is looking for supporters to participate in the 2011 DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk taking place on October 22 at the National Mall.

Ayuda will cosponsor the event, which will include a 5–kilometer walk, an anti–trafficking resource fair, guest speakers, and live music.

Human trafficking is an issue that Ayuda regularly addresses. Through legal and social services, the organization has helped hundreds of men, women, and children who have been enslaved in the United States.

Those wanting to participate can do so by either joining Team Ayuda on the walk (the team will have at least 25 walkers) or making a donation online. Ayuda will receive 80 percent of all funds raised.

For more information, contact Casey Tyler at casey @ayuda.com, or visit DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk.


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Guatemala, The United States

Esperanza Arreaga, age 62, lost two small daughters and 14 other family members when they were murdered by Guatemalan soldiers in the massacre of Las Dos Erres.

In this picture, Arreaga looks at the remains of massacre victims uncovered by forensic archeologists.

Photo: Larry Kaplow - GlobalPost

Ramiro Cristales, then age 5, witnessed Guatemalan special forces soldiers murder his family and rape and murder the 10 and 12-year-old girls from his village of Las Dos Erres, in 1982.

From a video statement by Ramiro Cristales, and a collage of photos, by GlobalPost.

Ramiro Cristales, after he was abducted by soldiers who murdered his family

U.S. rounds up Guatemalans accused of war crimes

Washington - U.S. federal agents are today closing in on four former Guatemalan soldiers accused of taking part in a 1982 massacre, which one law enforcement official called "the most shocking modern-day war crime American authorities have ever investigated."

One former soldier alleged to have taken part in the massacre of 251 villagers in the rural Guatemalan hamlet of Las Dos Erres is already in custody in Texas. Another former soldier in Florida and two more in California are under active investigation.

Law enforcement officials close to the case acknowledged the four men are part of a probe by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency into immigration violations aimed at rounding up suspects named in a recently revived, landmark human rights case in Guatemala. If found in violation of U.S. immigration laws, the men would likely face deportation to Guatemala and a possible prosecution there for war crimes.

For years these men, who are all accused of serving in a notoriously brutal Guatemalan military unit, have lived in America, blending in to communities in Florida, California and Texas. One is a popular karate teacher. One is a cook. The man in custody is a day laborer who had allegedly abducted and then adopted a boy who was orphaned in the slaughter 28 years ago.

That boy, Ramiro Cristales, who was 5 years old at the time, is now a key witness in the case in Guatemala against the former soldiers and against the man who raised him.

In an exclusive interview with GlobalPost, Cristales, one of only two known survivors of the massacre, saw his entire family murdered. He said he was frustrated it has taken so long for the men to be brought to justice. But he said he hoped U.S. and Guatemalan officials might work together to make that happen.

"They have to do something... The only thing I ask is justice," said Cristales, who is now hiding in an undisclosed location. One former soldier alleged to have taken part in the massacre of 251 villagers in the rural Guatemalan hamlet of Las Dos Erres is already in custody in Texas. Another former soldier in Florida and two more in California are under active investigation.

Law enforcement officials close to the case acknowledged the four men are part of a probe by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency into immigration violations aimed at rounding up suspects named in a recently revived, landmark human rights case in Guatemala. If found in violation of U.S. immigration laws, the men would likely face deportation to Guatemala and a possible prosecution there for war crimes.

For years these men, who are all accused of serving in a notoriously brutal Guatemalan military unit, have lived in America, blending in to communities in Florida, California and Texas. One is a popular karate teacher. One is a cook. The man in custody is a day laborer who had allegedly abducted and then adopted a boy who was orphaned in the slaughter 28 years ago.

That boy, Ramiro Cristales, who was 5 years old at the time, is now a key witness in the case in Guatemala against the former soldiers and against the man who raised him.

In an exclusive interview with GlobalPost, Cristales, one of only two known survivors of the massacre, saw his entire family murdered. He said he was frustrated it has taken so long for the men to be brought to justice. But he said he hoped U.S. and Guatemalan officials might work together to make that happen.

"They have to do something... The only thing I ask is justice," said Cristales, who is now hiding in an undisclosed location.

The massacre in Las Dos Erres, where a total of 251 men, women and children were killed, is widely considered one of the darkest chapters of Guatemala's 36-year civil war that claimed some 200,000 lives, and in which the U.S. military played a shadowy role.

One month after allegedly raping young girls and women during the massacre, one of the men under investigation, Pedro Pimentel Rios, began work as an instructor at the School of the Americas, the Pentagon-run training school for Latin American militaries, then located in Panama...

Because the alleged crimes occurred before the passage of war crimes laws in the United States, prosecutors are not legally permitted to charge the men under any of those laws. This limitation in U.S. law has long frustrated federal prosecutors, who have only... been able to denaturalize and deport even suspected Nazi war criminals living in the United States.

U.S. officials began their investigation after the Inter-American Court on Human Rights decided last year that Guatemala's 1996 amnesty agreement does not apply to serious human rights violations, including the massacre at Las Dos Erres. Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Justice who monitor cases involving foreign-born human rights abusers decided to see if any of the accused killers were living in the United States...

U.S. involvement

Human rights groups have long criticized the involvement of the American government and military in Guatemala. The Las Dos Erres case reveals several connections between the two countries.

The U.S. government knew the Guatemalan army was probably responsible for the massacre at Las Dos Erres, yet the School of the Americas began to welcome new instructors and students from the army only days after the killings...

In the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter had introduced a ban on cooperating with the Guatemalan military. But President Ronald Reagan lifted the ban and the School of the Americas began admitting Guatemalan soldiers, including Rios, one of the alleged perpetrators of the massacre...

Just as the massacres were intensifying, Reagan re-established military and political cooperation with the Guatemalan government. Reagan saw [Guatemalan president Efrain] Rios Montt as a useful ally against leftist guerrillas and maintained friendly relations in the face of evidence that Rios Montt's government was responsible for increasing numbers of civilian massacres. (In July 1982, Amnesty International published a report listing more than 50 massacres of non-combatant civilians by the military.)

On Dec. 4, 1982, when the massacres in the Guatemalan countryside were fully under way, Reagan met with Rios Montt. Reagan publicly described Rios Montt as "a man of great personal integrity…[who] wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice." Reagan said that Rios Montt had received a "bum rap" from human rights groups.

It was an inauspicious day to make such a show of support. On the same day Reagan spoke, the 17 members of the Kaibiles [counter-insurgency rangers] squad arrived at a military base near Las Dos Erres. On Dec. 7, the massacre started. Over the following two days, the men are alleged to have killed 251 residents of Las Dos Erres. "Everything that moved had to be killed," one of the soldiers later wrote in a sworn statement.

Last month archaeologists began exhuming the mass grave and DNA testing is now underway to confirm the identities of those killed.

"I lost everything"

The Kaibiles tortured the men first. They then began throwing children alive into the village well. Women were shot or beaten to death with a sledgehammer and then thrown in. Men were then shot and dumped on top. One of the Kaibiles abducted a 5-year-old boy [Ramiro Cristales]. Another boy escaped. They may be the only surviving witnesses...

Matt McAllester


May 06, 2010

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Genocide, Femicide and Human Trafficking in Guatemala All Grew From the Same Roots of Wartime Impunity

The mass murders (genocide) suffered by  the Mayan majority population of Guatemala during the 1980s took place with the complicity of the U.S. Government, especially during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Some 200,000 innocent civilians, including 50,000 women, were murdered by government military forces during the civil conflict.

While the International Court in the Hague and other international human rights courts have aggressively prosecuted, or at least charged suspects in cases of genocidal mass murders in Bosnia, Sudan and other equally notorious cases, the largest act of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the modern history of the Americas, carried out during the Guatemalan Civil War, has until recently been off limits to effective prosecution.

We thank the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for laying the groundwork for permitting renewed judicial action in important cases such as that of the Las Dos Erres Massacre. Many other cases have yet to be investigated.

In all, some 440 Mayan villages, located mostly in Guatemala's northwestern highlands region, were completely destroyed by Guatemalan soldiers who were supported with military training and equipment by the United States, Argentina and Israel.

The mass murderers in Guatemala thought that they would have a lifetime of protection in regard to their crimes, because past conservative U.S. presidential administrations lead them to believe that was the case. Thanks to the changing political and legal landscape in the Americas, serious prosecutions of these criminals may finally occur.

In the mid 1980s myself and many other activists in Washington, DC and across the Americas worked hard to publish and broadcast news about the ongoing massacres of innocents in Guatemala. We also protested in front of Congress and organized to do everything we could to save the lives of Guatemalans from the murderous hands of these cruel perpetrators.

Today in 2010, Guatemala's postwar culture has the highest rate of femicide murders in all of the Americas. Several thousand women have been murdered during the past several years with almost total impunity. The rate of femicide murders, which typically include act of rape, torture, mutilation and dismemberment (echoing the behavior of military forces during the civil war), is ten time higher than the rate of gender-based murders in Mexico's infamous Ciudad Juarez..

These femicides, and Guatemala's inability to investigate the rape/ torture killings of so many women and girls, as well as that nation's serious problems with the mass sex trafficking of women and girls today are all direct outgrowths of the impunity that the world community ALLOWED to exist in Guatemala during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Effectively, these crimes were never prosecuted because past conservative U.S. administrations were  passively and actively  complicit, and the world community simply stood silently by.

A nexus with the anti-trafficking movement

During the early 2000's, I joined the anti human trafficking listserv (email-based private forum) of Dr. Donna Hughes, who was then and is today Professor and Eleanor M. and Oscar M. Carlson Endowed Chair of the Women's Studies Program at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Hughes is one of the original pioneers of the modern U.S. movement against human trafficking, and she deserves all of the honors that she has received over the years for those efforts.

Dr. Hughes' listserv, which was made up of many notable names in the anti-slavery movement across the globe, including names that many followers of the movement today would recognize, totaled about 400 members. Simultaneous to her work with this listserv, Dr. Hughes was also writing for the conservative National Review Online.

The majority of U.S. listserv participants were conservative women. I educated that community of professionals and activists about the dynamics of the Latin American crisis in human trafficking at a time when few were aware of the issues.

As part of that work, I discussed the mass rapes and murders of innocent Mayan indigenous women and girls (among others) during the Guatemalan Civil War. I also discussed Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Rigoberta Menchu, who fled into the jungle to avoid becoming another victim of government massacres. Several of Dr. Menchu's relatives died at the hands of soldiers.

Conservative members of the listserv became so infuriated with my simple and truthful educational postings, that several of them quit the listserv. Dr. Hughes told me by phone, almost apologetically, that she had to ban me from the listserv to prevent her conservative followers from leaving.

In an earlier email conversation, Dr. Hughes had rationalized the human rights abuses in Guatemala by stating that some victims supported communist insurgency.

What Mayans actually supported was building a future for themselves that was free from the 500 years of peonage (slavery) that Spanish descendants had subjected them to.

During this online debate, an anti-trafficking activist from the Salvation Army wrote to emphasize that the group was not denying the events that took place in Guatemala (but only she expressed that view, not the other listserv members).

U.S. Conservatives had long supported the efforts of former President Ronald Reagan and others to back often brutal right wing dictators in Latin America. Any mention of the mass murders of Guatemalan innocents, including women and children, was considered to be an unacceptable abomination.

In the late 1995, for example, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich denounced then-Democratic Representative Robert G. Torricelli, who, like Speaker Gingrich, was also a member of the House Intelligence Committee, for having publicly exposed information about the atrocities in Guatemala followed by a demand for congressional hearings.

Speaker Gingrich also demanded that the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) not air a documentary on the massacres of Mayan peoples in the Guatemalan Civil War. He only relented and allowed the program to be broadcast after his demand for adding 'alternative views' to the program's content were agreed to by PBS.

How do you provide an alternative view about multiple acts of racially motivated mass murder of innocent children, women and men?

This truthful account of one part of the history of the Guatemalan Genocide also sheds light on aspects of the modern U.S. response to the human trafficking crisis in Latin America.

The U.S. based anti-trafficking movement is a unique social space where conservatives, liberals and others (and I am 'other') may join in common purpose to save human lives. Unfortunately, politics has often been played with the issue of Latin American human trafficking.

In the early 2000s, conservatives such as Dr. Donna Hughes and her followers shunned any discussion of the important gender related human rights issues (specifically, the Guatemalan Genocide) that were closely associated with the modern human slavery issue in Latin America.

During the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush, I was present at one major public speech each, given by the two first directors of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State - Ambassador John R. Miller, and Ambassador Mark P. Lagon. Latin America’s human trafficking crisis was never mentioned during those presentations, despite what we know today, that Latin American human trafficking generates an estimated $16 billion per year, perhaps half of all world income from human slavery.

When, on May 27, 1994, I gave a presentation on Latina women and exploitation to the Montgomery County, Maryland Commission for Women, I mentioned the mass rapes and murders of women in the Guatemalan conflict, several conservative women commission members shook their heads and declared that the genocide never happened. Notably, a Cherokee indigenous woman commission member, and a Panamanian woman physician who was also a member, acknowledged the fact of the Guatemalan genocide as well as the other issues that had I raised for their consideration.

A failure to  acknowledge the problem of Latin American human trafficking during the administration of President George W. Bush (as a byproduct of conservative politics) effectively allowed the region's billion dollar cartels and other criminal elements free reign to grow their now $16 billion per year human slavery 'industry' (IOM figure) without any visible U.S. opposition.

On the other end of the political spectrum, some liberals, including, perhaps, influential members of the administration of President Barack Obama, also politicize human trafficking, from a leftist perspective.

It does not add to Obama administration strategy to have any highly visible discussion of human trafficking and the mass rape and enslavement of women and girls in Mexico and Central America, when such visibility would raise doubt in Congress, and among the public, as to the value of continued funding of the war on drug traffickers, given that Mexican soldiers deployed in the conflict have been the culprits in many rapes and murders of indigenous women with total impunity.

Open discussion of the severe levels of human trafficking and the brutal sexual exploitation of women perpetrated by some Latino immigrant men in U.S. community settings is also an uncomfortable topic for progressives as they market Comprehensive Immigration Reform to the people and Congress of the United States.

That concern does not justify remaining silent about the growing humanitarian emergency of mass gender atrocities that is taking place in Mexico, throughout the rest of Latin America and, increasingly, in U.S. Latino immigrant population centers.

Progressives who favor the legalization of prostitution also apparently have strong influence in the Obama Administration, leading to a diminished focus on sex trafficking while labor trafficking takes center stage in U.S. anti-trafficking efforts.

By justifying the genocide of Mayan indigenous peoples during the Guatemalan Civil War (a mentality that is consistent with excusing the mass murder of U.S. indigenous peoples in the past), U.S. conservatives, together with their allies in Guatemala, succeeded in setting-up the circumstances that lead not only to the anti-Mayan genocide, but also to the largest crisis of ongoing murders of women in the Americas, the current Guatemalan femicide.

A similar conservative-lead environment of social and governmental tolerance for mass gender atrocities also exists in neighboring Mexico.

We assert that the lack of willingness of the U.S. government and of some U.S. NGOs to fully engage the issue of human trafficking in Latin America (where half of the world's estimated $32 billion of human trafficking apparently takes place) during the George W. Bush administration and beyond had its roots in conservative unwillingness to acknowledge the serious human consequences of their past support for murderous dictators such as Guatemalan president Efrain Rios Montt.

To be clear, U.S. conservatives cannot declare their opposition to modern day human trafficking and slavery on the one hand, and on the other, declare that the genocide in Guatemala, or Mexico's current repression of women's rights (and until recently, intentional inaction on human trafficking) all orchestrated by the ruling National Action party (PAN), are justifiable expressions of conservatism.

You just can't have it both ways.

The left, which has often been indifferent to the issue of human trafficking bears a similar responsibility for condoning inaction... because human trafficking is, for some of them, a round peg that will not fit into the square holes of their personal ideologies.

Shame on those who politicize human trafficking, be they from the right or the left!

The victims, and those who are at-risk, await our effective and hurried efforts to protect and rescue them.

Public servants, put the politics aside, and get to work! There is no time to waste.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby


May 23/25, 2010

See also:

Added: May. 24, 2010


An indigenous woman walks by a street poster of Guatamala's most brutal president, Efrain Rios Montt.

In the words of a poem by Pablo Neruda: 'For the one who gave the order of agony, I ask for punishment.'

Guatemala: Massacre investigation breakthrough

Recently declassified documents from US archives have shed further light on the extent of US complicity in Guatemalan human rights crimes, one of Latin America’s most brutal examples of population control.

The hard-working farmers of Dos Erres, in Peten department, had never asked for much — just a few acres of recently-cleared land from which to scratch a meager living in a country racked by violence.

When armed guerrillas cut across their land six months prior to December 7, 1982, community leaders had done everything possible to placate the national army, even inviting the soldiers in for inspections.

They had nothing to hide, they said. But a psychopathic military killing machine had already condemned them to death on the grounds that they were the soil in which the seed of resistance grows.

Acting on orders issued by the US-backed regional command, a death squad of army Kaibiles (counterinsurgency rangers) entered the peaceful hamlet early that morning, smashing in doors, killing livestock, starting fires and rounding up groups of men, women and children.

Hours of rape and torture ensued, followed by execution in small groups. After being shot, stabbed or bludgeoned to death with a sledgehammer, the victims were hurled into a village well or left in nearby fields.

By nightfall, more than 250 were dead - almost the entire population. There were two child survivors - one who escaped and one, Ramiro Cristales, who was spared by his parents’ murderer only to be subsequently raised as a domestic slave (reputedly an army custom). Cristales, now aged in his 30s, has recently come forward at considerable risk to his own life as an eyewitness to the horror at Dos Erres.

His testimony to the Guatemalan truth commission has been corroborated by previously classified material obtained by the National Security Archive’s Guatemala Documentation Project under the US Freedom of Information Act...

David T. Rowlands

Green Left (Australia)

May 22, 2010

See also:

Former Guatemalan Soldier Arrested for Alleged Role in Dos Erres Massacre

Washington, D.C. - Following this week's arrest of a former Guatemalan special forces soldier, the National Security Archive is posting a set of declassified documents on one of Guatemala's most shocking and unresolved human rights crimes, the Dos Erres massacre.

On May 5, 2010, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested Gilberto Jordan, 54, in Palm Beach County, Florida, based on a criminal complaint charging Jordan had lied to U.S. authorities about his service in the Guatemalan Army and his role in the 1982 Dos Erres massacre. The complaint alleges that Jordan, a naturalized American citizen, was part of the special counterinsurgency Kaibiles unit that carried out the massacre of hundreds of residents of the Dos Erres village located in the northwest Petén region. Jordan allegedly helped kill unarmed villagers with his own hands, including a baby he allegedly threw into the village well.

The massacre was part of the Guatemalan military's "scorched earth campaign" and was carried out by the Kaibiles ranger unit. The Kaibiles were specially trained soldiers who became notorious for their use of torture and brutal killing tactics. According to witness testimony, and corroborated through U.S. declassified archives, the Kaibiles entered the town of Dos Erres on the morning of December 6, 1982, and separated the men from women and children. They started torturing the men and raping the women and by the afternoon they had killed almost the entire community, including the children.

Nearly the entire town was murdered, their bodies thrown into a well and left in nearby fields. The U.S. documents reveal that American officials deliberated over theories of how an entire town could just "disappear," and concluded that the Army was the only force capable of such an organized atrocity. More than 250 people are believed to have died in the massacre...

The National Security Archive

George Washington University

May 7, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

An indigenous woman in Guatemala holds a sign saying, WANTED: Jose Efrain Rios Montt (the unseen part says, "for genocide") - during the 2008, 28th anniversary of the Spanish Embassy Massacre in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

General José Efraín Ríos Montt is best known for heading a military dictatorship from 1982–1983 that was responsible for some of the worst atrocities against civilians in the 36-year Guatemalan civil conflict.

Photo: MiMundo

My observations about the only human trafficker I have ever met.

...To further tie together these linked issues, I know victims of that genocide, and I have met a perpetrator, through one of his family members. This family member talked to me at length about this perpetrator’s activities in Guatemala. I will refer to him here as ‘Juan.’

Juan’s grandfather owned a large ranch in Guatemala, and when he was feeling especially angry, he would go to the Mayan village at the far-end of his ranch and "shoot a few Indians" (a direct quote). During the time of the 1970s-1980s Guatemalan Civil War, Juan was a member of the Guatemalan president's security detail, the Presidential Guard. This security unit had a secondary task, aside from protection, of receiving a daily hit list from the president’s palace, finding these persons and murdering them for being suspected ‘subversives.’

The bodies of the victims were typically left laying in the street as a message to the population. Juan stated to his family: "Me daba mucha lastima tener que malograr a las mujeres" - that is: "it really saddened me to have to tear-up the women [on the hit list]." In other words, he supposedly felt sad for having willfully kidnapped, tortured, gang-raped and finally murdered his mostly Mayan women and girl victims over a number of years...

During the mid 1990s, before I even knew what sex trafficking was, Juan’s family member explained to me that Juan was engaged in smuggling people into the United States under peculiar circum-stances, and that he had ties to Colombian mafias. Today, I understand that what was being explained to me was the fact that Juan, a former mass rapist and murderer of women, had 'graduated' to sex trafficking women into the U.S. while living a comfortable and otherwise 'normal' life in Washington, DC.

It was also explained to me that Juan would travel to Guatemala City, place an add in a local paper seeking young girls to work as escorts, and that 13 and 14-year-old girls would gleefully respond. Juan then 'trained' these girls as prostitutes, and sent them out as escorts for wealthy businessmen.

In Washington, DC, Juan, when working in the role of office building cleaning crew manager, imposed quid-pro-quo sexual demands upon the Latina women who applied to work at his office building.

The world's past denial of the Guatemalan Genocide plays into the world's current lack of attention to the ongoing femicide, mass kidnappings of babies for illegal adoptions and prostitution, and to the mass trafficking of Guatemalan women into the brothels of southern Mexico...

Chuck Goolsby


Ashoka anti-trafficking competition entry

June 18, 2008

See also:

LibertadLatina Note

Mayan women and supporters gather to protest a then-recent massacre in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala - 1978

Photo: El Gráfico

In the early 1980's I lived in a house in Washington, DC where a couple who had fled Guatemala were invited to stay. The husband was an agronomist from Spain. His wife was a white U.S. citizen from the Midwest. They told me how they were saved from a death squad execution in Guatemala.

A Guatemalan woman friend had told the couple that her boyfriend, a high-ranking Guatemalan military officer, had told her one night while he was drunk that the couple had been put on the to-be-murdered list that was printed nightly in the presidential palace (using a computer system set up by the Israeli military). Having been warned by their friend, the couple and their young child immediately fled Guatemala.

What was their crime?

The husband taught people in rural Mayan communities how to grow food better and improve their nutrition. For the Guatemalan military, anything that benefited the Mayan population was subversive, and deserved a murderous response. Any arguments that the Mayan majority was subversive fly out the window when one understands that the goal of the genocide was ethnic cleansing, pure and simple.

Chuck Goolsby


May 23, 2010

See also:

Israel and Guatemala

The history of Israel's relations with Guatemala roughly parallels that of its ties with El Salvador except the Guatemalan military was so unswervingly bloody that Congress never permitted the ... Reagan Administration to undo the military aid cutoff implemented during the Carter years.

Weaponry for the Guatemalan military is the very least of what Israel has delivered. Israel not only provided the technology necessary for a reign of terror, it helped in the organization and commission of the horrors perpetrated by the Guatemalan military and police. And even beyond that: to ensure that the profitable relationship would continue, Israel and its agents worked actively to maintain Israeli influence in Guatemala.

Throughout the years of untrammeled slaughter that left at least 45,000 dead, and, by early 1983, one million in internal exile - mostly indigenous Mayan Indians, who comprise a majority of Guatemala's eight million people - and thousands more in exile abroad, Israel stood by the Guatemalan military. Three successive military governments and three brutal and sweeping campaigns against the Mayan population, described by a U.S. diplomat as Guatemala's "genocide against the Indians," had the benefit of Israeli techniques and experience, as well as hardware...

...It does not take convoluted reasoning to conclude that "both the U.S. and Israel bear rather serious moral responsibility" for Guatemala.

Third World Traveler

See also:

May 26, 2009

More about Former Guatemalan president Efrain Ríos Montt

In 1978, [Efrain Ríos Montt] left the Roman Catholic Church and became a minister in the California-based Evangelical / Pentecostal Church of the Word; since then Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have been personal friends [both reverends Falwell and Robertson had publicly defended Ríos Montt's human rights abuses].

Ríos Montt's brother Mario is a Catholic bishop, and in 1998 succeeded the assassinated Bishop Juan Gerardi as head of the human rights commission uncovering the truth of the disappearances associated with the military and his brother.

About Efrain Ris Montt


See also:

Bill Clinton during his presidency

Clinton says U.S. did wrong in Central American Wars - March 10, 1999

...President Clinton admitted Wednesday to Guatemalans that U.S. support for "widespread repression" in their bloody 36-year civil war was a mistake.

"For the United States, it is important that I state clearly that the support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression ... was wrong," Clinton said as he began a round-table discussion on Guatemala's search for peace.

"The United States must not repeat that mistake. We must and we will instead continue to support the peace and reconciliation process in Guatemala," he said on the third day of a Central American tour.


March 10, 1999

See also:


Read our special section of the crisis of sexual exploitation and femicide facing women and girls in modern Guatemala.

See also:


Raids and Rescue Versus...?

Read our special section on the human rights advocacy conflict that exists between the goals of the defense of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation on the one hand, and the urgent need to protect Latina sex trafficking victims through law enforcement action, on the other hand...

- Chuck Goolsby


Dec. 18, 2008

Added: Nov. 30, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009


UNIFEM and  CICIG officials sign letter of understanding with the participation of Mayan congressional deputies Beatriz Concepción Canastuj Canastuj and Elza Leonora Cu Isem.

Guatemalan federal congressional deputy Beatriz Concepción Canastuj Canastuj.

Deputy Canastuj Canastuj represents Quetzaltenango, home of the K'iche Maya, who faced numerous massacres during the Guatemalan armed conflict.

Guatemalan federal congressional deputy Elza Leonora Cu Isem.

Deputy Cu Isem represents Alta Verapaz, where numerous massacres occurred during the Guatemalan armed conflict.

Firman Carta de Entendimiento Entre CICIG y UNIFEM

Guatemala - Con el fin de establecer los parámetros de cooperación interinstitucional entre CICIG y UNIFEM para apoyar y fortalecer a las instituciones del Estado de Guatemala encargadas de velar por la defensa de los derechos de las mujeres, adolescentes y niñas; Carlos Castresana, Comisionado de la CICIG y Gladys Acosta, Jefa para América Latina y el Caribe del Fondo de Desarrollo de las Naciones Unidas para la Mujer (UNIFEM), firmaron una carta de entendimiento entre ambas instituciones (se firmó el día miércoles 25 de noviembre)…

Mayan women and supporters gather to protest a then-recent massacre in Quetzaltenango - 1978

Photo: El Gráfico

CICIG and UNIFEM Sign Letter of Understanding

Guatemala City - In order to establish the parameters of interagency cooperation between the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to support and strengthen the institutions of the State of Guatemala for upholding the rights of women, adolescents and children, Carlos Castresana, CICIG Commissioner and Gladys Acosta, UNIFEM’s director for Latin America and Caribbean – have signed a letter of understanding between the two institutions.

Honorary witnesses who attended the signing, which took place in the Guatemalan Congress, included: Roberto Alejos, the President of Congress; Rebeca Grynspan, the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Delia Back, president of the Commission for Women . Federal congressional deputies Beatriz Canastuj and Elsa Leonora Cu, as well as UNIFEM Coordinator for Guatemala Rita Cassisi, also attended the signing ceremony.

According to the text of the letter of understanding, "the parties will collaborate to implement actions to strengthen women's access to justice, especially the recording and collation of data to analyze the impact of organized crime in the violence and the impunity of crimes against women. The parties agree to generate quarterly reports reflecting the results of these actions and promote its dissemination in the appropriate spaces..."

UNIFEM's Gladys Acosta said: "We discussed with [CICIG]Commissioner Castresana the fact that one of the key issues that needs to be understood is the nature of the link between the organized crime organizations that span our region, especially in Central America and more specifically in Guatemala, and violence against women. Clearly the primary responsibility for protecting women lies with the state, but what happens when non-state actors have even more power than the state itself and can not be controlled?

Society needs to react very strongly, and that's what we're doing today. It is a justified, and very strong reaction, [insisting] that the high levels of violence against women not be tolerated any longer, and that once and for all, we have an answer."

Rebeca Grynspan, UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean stated: "This is a very important moment, because not only must we fight against violence, but we must also fight against impunity. We must say no to violence, and we must say no to impunity. Paraphrasing Commissioner Castresana: ‘Violence plus justice equals less violence. But violence plus impunity equals more violence.' "

The union of the efforts of UNIFEM, a United Nations organization that fights tirelessly for the rights of women, and the Committee Against Impunity in Guatemala [CICIG], is exactly what we need to carry this agenda forward...

The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala

Nov. 26, 2009

Added: Nov. 29, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009

Guatemala, Honduras, Latin America

Women of El Carmen Varituc, Guatemala, working together to create change in their community.

Mujeres Guatemaltecas: Entre la Vulnerabilidad y la Violencia de Estado

“Rescatemos el derecho a tener derechos”: Feministas en Resistencia

En Guatemala, de 2005 a 2008, 2 mil 680 mujeres fueron asesinadas, de acuerdo con datos de la Policía Nacional Civil, el Organismo Judicial y el Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Forenses (Inacif); de estos crímenes, únicamente dos por ciento –43 casos– ha sido resuelto.

Lo anterior fue comentado por Carlos Castresana, presidente de la Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG) y uno de los expertos de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos que realizó el peritaje de tres casos de feminicidio ocurridos en un campo algodonero en Ciudad Juárez, México; actualmente se espera la sentencia de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH)...

Guatemalan Women: Stuck Between Vulnerability and State Violence

“We are rescuing our right to have rights” - Feminists in Resistance of Hunduras

In Guatemala, from 2005 to 2008, 2,680 women were killed, according to data from the National Civil Police, the Judiciary and the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (INACIF); of these crimes, only two percent - 43 cases - have been solved.

The above figures were announced by Carlos Castresana, president of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and one of the experts of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which conducted a survey of three cases of femicide that occurred in a cotton field in Ciudad Juarez , Mexico. [Having found in favor of families of the victims against the Mexican state] Everyone is currently waiting for the sentence in the case to be announced by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).

To date in 2009 there have been 602 murders of women, with a rate of impunity of 98 percent, according to data from the Panel Study of Guatemala.

With these facts as a backdrop, today on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a campaign initiative by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, "Unite to end violence against women" was launched in a ceremony at the National Palace of Culture. The event was attended by the President of Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, and representatives of UN agencies...

A significant role in the campaign launch was offered to activist Daysi Flores of the Feminist Resistance of Honduras, a nation which, sine June 28th 2009, has lived through a coup d’etat, and which is a few days away from holding elections.

Flores, who won the applause of the audience, narrated the story of the violence that women and men are living through since the coup. She said that 325 [Honduran] women have been murdered, and that other women have been repressed, raped and harassed.

Flores declared that the right of women to live a life free of violence has so-far existed only in words, and that it takes more than that to fully exercise those rights. Flores said that practical responses from governments are needed, such as policies, budgets, access to resources of all kinds and state secularism.

We need, emphasized the Honduran feminist, to "rescue our right to have rights"...

Full English Translation

Lourdes Godinez Leal

CIMAC Noticias

Nov. 25, 2009

See also:

Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala

The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala

Added: Nov. 29, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009


Indigenous Women in Guatemala

Photo: Rudy Girón

Campaign Is Launched To Combat Violence Against Women.

On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Guatemala holds a week of activities to inaugurate the United Nations program against violence against women, with headquarters in Guatemala. Yesterday, participants from the UN and Latin American Countries discussed five themes: legislative and judicial advancements; prevention strategies, plans and programs, information and training systems; access to justice; and armed conflict and displacement. On Nov. 23, there was an event held in Guatemala City to emphasize the extremes of violence against women and femicide. Names were placed under shoes to symbolize the missing people who no longer fill those shoes.

Prensa Libre - Guatemala

Translated abstract by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission USA

Nov. 25, 2009

Added: Nov. 29, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009


United Nations and Guatemalan officials participate in the launch of the Unite Campaign in Guatemala City on Nov. 25, 2009

More photos at Prensa Libre - Guatemala City

"Unite To End Violence Against Women"

Un Secretary General's Campaign To Be Launched From Guatemala - NOV. 23-30, 2009

On November 25th in Guatemala, the United Nations [launched] Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's campaign “Unite to End to Violence Against Women” for the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The campaign focuses on strategies to counter violence against women at the regional, national, and local levels. At the Board of Directors 41st Regional Reunion Conference about Women in Latin American and the Caribbean, the Secretary General proposed an agreement to formally initiate the campaign, and many UN organizations have committed to lead campaign activities in the region.

The regional efforts are focused on ending impunity for the crime of violence against women and girls through the implementation of international and national legal mechanisms; the increased commitment of governments to fulfill their promises to put and end to violence against women and girls; and the mobilization of  key actors working for the empowerment of women and their communities.

Women’s organizations have been invited to be part of the campaign with the understanding that they are the key actors in this international and national effort...

Why Guatemala?

Guatemala has been chosen as the focal point of this effort because of the escalation of violence against women in the country, a level of violence which has yet to be fully recognized by the international community.

In 2007, Guatemala was ranked third highest in death rates in Latin America resulting from violence against women.  In 2009, Guatemala has moved quickly to first (depending on the method of classifying causes of death). Between January and May of 2009, 265 femicide (murder of women for being women) cases were recorded.

Between 2005 and 2007, there were 19,600 women murdered; however, only 43 of those responsible for the deaths were sentenced.  A factor that explains the increase of assassinations in 2009 is that, in the previous three years, 1,912 murders were never prosecuted.

Since the law against femicide took effect in May of 2008, only two offenders have been sentenced, although 722 women have been killed by violence.  (Fundación Sobre-vivientes  (the Survivors' Foundation)...

Violence in Guatemala generates a cost of more than $300 billion annually, equivalent to 7% of the GDP.

...Women's organizations and the specialized programs that they have created for the promotion of their rights in Guatemala reflect a strong measure of resilience and resistance, as well showing the infinite creativity possessed by these women as they organize, prepare, and mobilize for the struggle against adverse conditions of social devaluation, misogyny, and ethnocentrism. The UN campaign supports these efforts by promoting solidarity among regional and international organizations and initiatives in order to share knowledge, strength, and resistance...

María Suárez Toro

Feminist International Radio Endeavour (RIF/FIRE)

Translated by Hannah Powell Losada

Edited by Ross Ryan & Margaret Thompson

Oct. 20, 2009

Added: Nov. 28, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009


Mayan Women from TRAMA Textiles, which was born out of the most desperate and devastating times of the Civil War in Guatemala when most of the men -- grandfathers, fathers, brothers, and sons, were murdered by soldiers and paramilitary forces, and the women were forced to find a way to survive and support their households and communities.

Photo: Rai

Víctimas de Violación por Parte de Militares Rompieron el Silencio

Guatemala: donde la justicia para las mujeres no llega

Guatemala - A trece años de la firma de los Acuerdos de Paz en Guatemala, las mujeres sobrevivientes y víctimas de la violencia sexual ejercida por militares y paramilitares entre 1981 y 1983 continúan exigiendo al Estado guatemalteco la reparación del daño, la restitución de sus propiedades y de sus derechos, y esperando una justicia que no llega…

Indigenous Women Victims of Rape During the Civil War Break Their Silence

Guatemala: where justice for women

never arrives

Guatemala - Thirteen years after the signing of the peace accords in Guatemala, the surviving women victims of the sexual violence perpetrated by military and paramilitary forces between 1981 and 1983 [during the most intensive period of anti-Mayan ethnic cleansing massacres carried out by government forces] continue demanding restitution of their property rights and other reparations from the Guatemalan State. They have been waiting for a justice that never arrives.

These women came together in the plaza Justo Rufino Barrios, in the historic center of Guatemala as an activity to commemorate the 25th of November [International Day Against Violence Against Women]. These surviving victims of rape during the armed conflict decided to break their silence for the first time.

The majority of these women are widows, as their husbands were murdered during the civil war. The women denounced the lack of support and aid on the part of the Guatemalan government who, they said, had made false promises to repair the damage caused to the victims.

According to the report “Guatemala, the Legacy of the Violence”, by Amnesty International (AI), during the four decades [1960 to 1996] that the conflict armed in this Central American country lasted, around 200,000 people became victims of homicide or forced disappearance. Some 400 communities  [actually 440 Mayan villages and towns -LL] were destroyed.

Sexual violence against women and children was in-fact generalized during the entire conflict. At the event, 4 women narrated how they were abused, separated from their husbands and had their land and homes stolen from them during the civil war.

Petrona Cucul is a surviving woman of the conflict. She remembered how the soldiers burned their house and killed their husband. She was left alone in charge of her four children. After burning the house and the harvest and killing all of their farm animals, the soldiers raped her. Till this day Cucul continues to demand justice and aid from the government so that their children can continue their studies.

Germana Lucas was also raped by soldiers. Like Petrona, she had her land, her house, and all of her belongings stolen from here. She has never been repaid for these actions by the State.

Isabela Méndez related how, before the conflict, “there were good crops” of beans and corn. Later everything changed. : Méndez fled to the border and left her home. Who will repay the damage that we suffered, the pain, the sentiments?, she asked.

Illiterate and monolingual, Isabela was forceful and, in her Mayan language, she said: “I do not know how to read nor to write, I do not speak Spanish. But I have learned and recognize that I have rights and that I am citizen of Guatemala. We want to live peacefully and with justice.”

In a ritual ceremony, the indigenous women gave to one ear of corn to the women victims of sexual violence, as a symbol of solidarity and cleansing.

The women stated that, even [now] when there is no war, women continue to be discriminated against, raped, excluded and murdered for the single reason that they are women.

We recall that, during the visit to Guatemala in 2004 of the special representative for women’s rights of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH), was informed about the increase in the number of murders against women; a situation that is at its most serious when indigenous women are the victims. For them, justice simply does not exist.

The AI report on this subject makes reference to a report by the Guatemalan Truth Commission, which recognized that during the armed conflict,  the bodies of women were used [by government forces] to destroy and to intimidate the enemy [that is, the entire Mayan population]. Rape became one of the cruelest and degrading ways to violate a woman’s rights during this period.

The Truth Commission report notes that the majority of victims of rape were young Mayan indigenous women.

According to the document [and other reports], in March of 1982 at least 140 women and children of Negro River were forced to march up a mountain, where they were [raped and then] murdered, some to machete blows and others by strangulation. Shortly after, 79 people, in their majority women and children, were massacred in the neighboring town of the Encounter.

As a result of the massacres and other killings during the armed conflict, widowed women, many with five or more children, were forced off of their lands. They did not know how to read, and they lived with the traumas caused by the sexual assaults.

Without support from their government, these women had to begin to help each other. They began to weave alliances to talk, and to fortify themselves by means of self-help groups.

For that reason, on this commemoration of this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against the women, they decided to speak up, and to continue demanding justice. They conclude by stating, “although they cut even the stem off of us, we bloom again.”

Lourdes Loyal Godínez

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Nov. 27, 2009

See also:

Guatemala:  No Protection, No Justice: Killings of Women in Guatemala

Amnesty International

June 9, 2005

Added: Nov. 28, 2009


The Truth Under the Earth: The Relationship Between Genocide and Femicide in Guatemala

The war in Guatemala has never ceased. While the Peace Accords signed in 1996 demobilized some combatants and weapons - the killing, raping and torturing continues unabated. In 2009 the homicide rate for Guatemala, with a population of 13 million, is about 8,000 per year. Of these 8,000 murders approximately 10 percent are women and girls.

According to figures from Guatemala City based women’s group Grupo Guatemalteco de Mujeres (GGM) between January 2002 and January 2009 there were 197,538 acts of domestic violence, 13,895 rapes and 4,428 women were murdered. What is perhaps even more disturbing is that for this tsunami of violence there is a 97 percent impunity rate. One of the main reasons for near total impunity in the Guatemalan context is that the people responsible for the genocidal civil war against indigenous people in which 200,000 people were murdered and 50,000 disappeared have never, nor are they ever likely to be held accountable.

In August and September of 2009 I visited Guatemala, at least in part, to examine how the civil war has been superseded by an as yet undeclared social war, part of which is an ongoing femicide...

I visited Finca Covabunga, which is just up the road from Chul, a bumpy, dusty, windy three hour trip through the mountains on the back of a pick up, north of Nebaj. On December 9, 1982, 75 men, women and children were massacred by the Guatemalan army...

I talked and recorded survivors of the massacre. Margarheta lost her husband, animals, land and all her possessions on that day. She spent the next ten years living in the mountains running from the army. Digging up the bodies was painful for her as it brought back a flood of painful memories...

The next day Nicolas and I and a couple of other activists visited a community on the outskirts of Nebaj. It is named June 30th which commemorates the date in 2006 in which the community reclaimed land from the army - who had stolen it after eradicating the owners - and started growing food, teaching their kids and various other projects of self-determination...

While at the community I met a young woman of sixteen who had a six month old baby, the father is a soldier and the conception method was rape. Nothing has ever happened in regards to this rape. In June of 2009 a woman who had five young children, was raped, murdered and cut up by soldiers. Nothing will likely ever happen to the person/s who committed this heinous act - impunity for such crimes is total in Guatemala...

Colm McNaughton


Oct. 22, 2009

See Also:

LibertadLatina Special Section

About the crisis of anti-Mayan genocide and femicide in Guatemala

Added: Nov. 28, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 2009


ONU: Lanza en Guatemala una Campaña Latinoamericana Contra la Violencia de Género

La Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) lanzó hoy en la capital guatemalteca una campaña latinoamericana que durará hasta 2015 con el objetivo de unificar esfuerzos entre diferentes sectores y fortalecer legislaciones para poner fin a la violencia en contra de las mujeres… 

The United Nations Kicks-off Regional  Campaign Against Latin American Gender Violence in Guatemala

Guatemala City - The United Nations (UN) chose the capitol of Guatemala [Guatemala City] to launch is continent-wide campaign against gender violence. The effort will continue until 2015 with the objective to unify efforts between different sectors of society, and to fortify legislative efforts to end violence against the women in the region.

The campaign “Latin America, Unite to End Violence Against Women," will involve efforts by all of the agencies in the UN system. It is an initiative of its UN Secretary General Ban Kin-moon.

The launch was celebrated in the presence of the president of Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, and the core UN officials working across Latin America. The November 25th event coincided with the celebration of the the International Day of Non Violence Towards Woman.

The director of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL), Alicia Bárcena, stated during the presentation that the various activities to be carried out through this UN campaign will attempt to reduce the levels of violence against the women.

A study by CEPAL of conditions of violence facing women in the region was presented during the event. CEPAL indicates that 40% of women in the region are victims of physical violence, and that the 60 percent suffer from psychological violence.

The report “ Not Even One More! From Words to Facts: How Much Farther Until We Get to This Goal? declares that the many forms of violence facing women in the region include domestic violence, murder, sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Latin American women also suffer from sex trafficking, institutional violence, discrimination against immigrants, and race-based gender violence that targets Indigenous and Afro-descendent women [and girls].

The regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Rebeca Grynspan, explained that by means of this campaign, the UN will collaborate, together with the countries of the region, in efforts to fortify legislation in nations of the region regarding the protection of the rights of women.

In addition, the campaign will advance  a “multisectorial plan”, that promotes the prevention and eradication of machista violence, campaigns of sensitization, and development of national capacities for data collection.

With this campaign, it needed Grynspan, “we will revitalize the fight and the commitment of the UN tp put an end to violence against women, an urgent task that must be accomplished to prevent the continuation of the sentence of violence that generations of women have faced, which many women have paid for with their lives."

President Colom of Guatemala emphasized the importance of the United Nations’ choice of Guatemala as the launch-point of this campaign. Colom assured that “this constitutes a commitment” by his government to eradicate the evils that afflict Guatemalans women.

President Colom added that in Guatemala, most women are targeted for violence because they are poor, indigenous, young and women.

In this Central American country, one of most violent of Latin America, and where the greatest amount of violence against women occurs, two women are murdered every day, often by men known to them.

According to the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, a UN agency, 94% of murders committed against women between 2001 and 2009 have remained [unsolved and] in impunity.


Nov. 25, 2009

See Also:

"Unite To End Violence Against Women"

United Nations Secretary General's campaign to be launched from Guatemala

Feminist International Radio Endeavor (FIRE)

Nov. 25, 2009

Added: Nov. 19, 2009

Central America

Central America: Gender-based Violence, the Hidden Face of Insecurity

Managua - Gender-based violence and sexual abuse are serious public security problems in Central America, and Nicaragua is no exception, according to reports by United Nations agencies and women’s organizations.

The Central American Human Development Report 2009-2010, released on Oct. 20 by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, says violence against women, adolescents and children is the "hidden" and "most invisible face" of public insecurity in the region.

According to the study, entitled "Opening Spaces for Citizen Security and Human Development", two out of three women murdered in Central America are killed for gender-related reasons, a phenomenon that is known as femicide.

Gender violence, however, remains largely concealed by prevailing social attitudes that condone it and by the victims’ reluctance to report abuse...

The women who pressed charges had suffered the worst abuse, including sexual assault, bodily injuries, mutilations and torture, Granera said. More specifically, 4,129 were cases of domestic violence, 2,253 were cases of sexual assault, and 8,645 were cases of physical and psychological harm, such as threats, blackmail and verbal abuse.

"The rest of the victims kept quiet. This shows that even though it is the leading public security problem (in Nicaragua), it is the least reported crime, and, therefore, the one with the greatest impunity," Granera said.

The UNDP report, which assessed levels of public insecurity in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, reported that Central America has become the region with the highest levels of non-political violence worldwide.

However, the report clarifies that while the countries of Central America's so-called "northern triangle" have homicide rates five to seven times higher than the global average of nine per 100,000 people - 48 per 100,000 in Guatemala, 52 per 100,000 in El Salvador and 58 per 100,000 in Honduras - Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama to the south are significantly safer, with murder rates of 11 per 100,000 population, 13 per 100,000 and 19 per 100,000, respectively.

Women, adolescents and children, ethnic minorities and groups with alternative sexual orientations are the main victims of what the study refers to as the region’s "phenomenon of 'invisible' (or rather 'invisibilized') insecurities," whereby certain groups are "exposed to an exceptional disparity between the risk of violent or predatory crimes they face and the protection they receive." ...

Bautista noted that the report presents at least six atrocious forms of "invisible crimes" that plague children in Central America: murder, forced participation in criminal activities, police brutality, domestic abuse, sexual abuse and assault, and forced labor and prostitution...

In Nicaragua, one out of three women married or living with a man has been subjected to physical violence, including sexual abuse, at some point in her life. Half the victims report that they first suffered abuse before the age of 15.

"According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in 2008 alone there were 1,400 pregnant girls under the age of 15. Most of these pregnancies were the result of rape," Millón said, citing a study published in Managua in June by the multilateral agency.

...Violence against women - like violence against children or ethnic minorities - "is almost totally excluded from the official debate on public insecurity in the region," said Millón...

José Adán Silva

Inter Press Service

Nov. 16, 2009

Added: Nov. 15, 2009


Guatemala: Where Sexual Exploitation of Minors Is Not a Crime

Guatemala City - Sexual exploitation of minors is not classified as a crime in Guatemala, where activists say child sex tourism is on the rise, and the toughest penalty for "corruption of minors" and "aggravated procuring" is a 400 dollar fine.

"I had problems at home, and a girlfriend took me to work with her in a bar." That is how Alba, at the age of 14, began to be sexually exploited in a brothel on the outskirts of the Guatemalan capital. Her mother was demanding that she bring money home, and she saw it as a way to earn an income.

For Alba's family, which is poor, the 160 dollars a month that she brought home was an important source of income.

Alba was the only underage girl in the bar where she worked, which attracted a relatively upscale clientele. She was also the most popular, to the point that she was the target of envy on the part of her fellow sex workers.

But hers is not an isolated case. Although no precise figures are available, in 2002 it was estimated that 2,000 minors were sexually exploited in Guatemala City alone, according to a report by Casa Alianza (the Latin American branch of the New York-based Covenant House, a child advocacy organisation) and ECPAT (an international NGO working to end child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children).

Of those 2,000 minors, 1,200 were from El Salvador, 500 from Honduras and 300 from Guatemala itself. María Eugenia Villarreal, ECPAT director for Latin America, says Central America is a hub for trafficking in minors, child pornography and sex tourism...

Villarreal told IPS that "the problem continues to grow." She put the number of victims as high as 15,000 nationwide, the majority of them girls between the ages of 15 and 17, who are mainly exploited in brothels in the capital and in border and port areas.

The Guatemalan Congress is studying a draft law that would classify sexual exploitation as a crime, which would be punishable by six to 12-year prison sentences. Guatemala is the only country in Central America that has not yet updated its laws in this area, and according to experts, the political parties are in no hurry to do so.

"I do not see any hope that Guatemala's penal code will be reformed in the short term, because that would touch the interests of people with political and economic clout," said Héctor Dionisio, coordinator of Casa Alianza's legal programme in Guatemala.

Doria Giusti, a United Nations children's fund (UNICEF) representative in Guatemala, told IPS that "children are not given high priority in Congress, and the sexual exploitation of minors is a taboo issue. Besides, most of the lawmakers are men, so a sexist viewpoint prevails." ...

Alberto Mendoza

Inter Press Service (IPS)

Oct. 13, 2009

Added: Nov. 02, 2009


Guatemaltecas Son Madres Desde los Diez Años

Incesto, violación y falta de educación sexual, las causas

Las niñas guatemaltecas suelen tener hijos más temprano de lo que mudan dientes. Desde los diez años de edad ellas ya conocen una sala de parto y saben lo que significa recuperarse del dolor de una cesárea...

Guatemalan Girls Become Mothers From the Age of Ten

Incest, Rape and a Lack of Sex Education are the Causes

Guatemalan girls have children sooner than they loose all of their baby teeth. From the age of ten they know what a delivery room is, and they know what it means to recover from the pain of a cesarean section.

Human rights advocates see this social phenomenon as a problem that occurs behind closed doors, and involves abuse by the father, an uncle or a grandfather within the home. Prosecutors and the Public Ministry are convinced that the statistics are an indication of a high incidence of rape in this nation.

Experts on sex education perceive the problem as resulting from poor knowledge about sex and its consequences, which leads to a state of social disorder.

In this Central American country of 14 million inhabitants, with a population of five million children, girls menstruate between the ages of 10 and 13. According to the Maternal and Child Health Survey of 2006, 26 of 100 girls have their first sexual experience between the ages of 13 and 15.

These teens typically have their first relationship with a friend, a boyfriend or a partner. But in many cases their first experience is a result of rape. Two out of every ten girls have been raped before finishing elementary school. Frightened, rejected and discriminated against by their families, these girls accelerate their sexual maturation by [an average of] 5 years. By the time they reach age 20, according to the National Statistics Institute, they often have two or three children.

A study conducted in 2006 by the Guttmacher Institute, entitled "Early Childbearing: A Continuing Challenge," in Guatemala there are 114 births per thousand women, while in the rest of the region, the figure is 80 births per thousand women...

However, pregnancies in girls are not only related to a lack of sex education. According to Ana Gladys Ollas of the Prosecutors Office for Human Rights for Women, pregnancies are also the result of incest and emotional blackmail exerted by gang members and gangs of teenagers who sometimes rape girls collectively.

The official noted that the neighborhoods where poor pregnant girls live are also places where gangs abound. And the situation is repeated in prisons. Girls are brought to prisons to be raped as a result of acts of extortion committed against their families.

In this country, the poorest are also the most vulnerable citizens. With just a [pennies] to survive, a [typical] household with five children must also submit to the extortion of gangs that require them to pay fees of $50 to $ 1,000...

Spanking, scolding, beating, burning, being locked in a room and [extreme] prohibitions are the forms of violent punishment that girls suffer on a daily basis. Some 22 of every 100 Guatemalan girls have been beaten by their parents before age 15. These forms of violence drive young girls to seek affection from teens and men who end-up deceiving them.

Leonel Dubon, who heads the Foundation for the Girl, explains that families get rid of the babies of young girls through the use of clandestine abortions. According to Zenaida Escobedo, in charge of gender affairs in the judiciary, in Guatemala around 65,000 illegal abortions are performed each year.

Often, after giving birth, these girls sell their babies for up to $600 to clandestine human trafficking operations...

Mayan women are the poorest, and often have up to 10 sons and daughters, as within indigenous culture, condom use among men and contraceptive use by women is often frowned upon.

Full English Translation


Oct. 30, 2009

LibertadLatina Note:

The above story states that the rate of childbirth in Guatemala is 114 births per thousand women. In the surrounding region the birth rate is 80 births per 1,000 women.

Here are comparable rates for young women between the ages of 15 and 19 in the United States:

  • All races and origins, 42

  • Asian/Pacific Islander, 17

  • White (including Hispanic), 38

  • American Indian/Alaska Native, 55

  • Black (including Hispanic), 65

  • Hispanic, 83

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) - 2006

LibertadLatina Note:

The targeting of ten-year-old girls by teen and adult Latino gang members for rape with impunity described in the above story occurs not only in Guatemala, by across the Americas.

See also:

A Washington, DC- Latina Social Worker and Community Center Director's Letter - 1999


"Over the past two years, I have been observing a systemic pattern of violence committed against girls and young women in our community. This violence involves the sexual abuse/assault against girls as young as 10 years old...  

...There have been incidents of date rape, gang rape, abductions, drugging, threats with firearms, etc.  The incidents are just as you described in your [Mr. Goolsby's letter on the subject to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children] letter and have been met with the same level of indifference and dismissal of legal (never mind moral) responsibility on the part of civil institutions -- the police department, public schools, etc." 

...While some do say this is culturally accepted behavior, the reality is that many families -- mothers and fathers alike -- are enraged and wanting to pursue prosecution of the perpetrators, but they find themselves without recourse when the police won't respond to them, when they fear risking their personal safety, and/or when their legal status (undocumented) prevents them from believing they have rights or legal protection in this country. Many girls and young women's families are threatened and harassed by the perpetrators when it becomes apparent that the family is willing to press charges for statutory rape/child sexual abuse. 

...The use of intimidation and violence to control girls and their families results in the following: 1) parents/guardians back off from pressing charges, 2) relatives do not inform the police or others of sightings of girls and young women who have been officially reported as "missing juveniles," and 3) the victims of sexual violence refuse to participate as "willing witnesses" in the prosecution/trial process.

When this sexual violence occurs within the context of a seemingly permissive public environment -- indifferent civil institutions, forced silence and complicity of families, gang culture, a society that explicitly promotes the sexualization and exploitation of children through media -- its criminal and immoral nature goes unquestioned. My question is how and where do we create the public environment that allows us to voice our disapproval and to hold the implicated adults accountable for their negligent care of our children?

...We're also looking at the rate of incidence among black and Asian girls and young women to document that this is not merely a culturally accepted behavior, but rather a complex and systemic form of violence carried out against poor girls and young women of color.

- From a letter by a Latina Social Worker and girl's community center director working with young Latina girls in Washington, DC's largest Latino neighborhood.

LibertadLatina Note:

Although this serious, truthful, accurate and  poignant letter was written in 1999, from my observations, the same conditions exist today in 2009. Nothing has changed for the better, while the code of silence in the barrio and the extending tentacles of criminal networks have made the violence worse, resulting in a permissive environment in the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby


Nov. 03, 2009

Added: Oct. 24, 2009

Guatemala, Mexico

Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva, who was kidnapped at age 11 at a beach in Nicaragua, is one thousands of children who have been prostituted in the city of Tapachula, Mexico.

The NGO Save the Children has identified southern Mexico as being the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the entire world. The lawless city of Tapachula is the epicenter of that  crtisis of impunity.

Buscan rescatar a niños guatemaltecos explotados en Tapachula

El Gobierno mexicano pondrá en marcha un programa de sensibilización denominado “Los Hijos del Águila y el Quetzal”, que tiene como objetivo rescatar a niños en riesgo de calle, en su mayoría indígenas guatemaltecos, que son víctimas de explotación laboral y de prostitución en Tapachula, Chiapas…

Authorities Seek to Rescue Guatemalan Children Exploited in Tapachula, Mexico

The Mexican government will launch an awareness program called "The Children of the Eagle and the Quetzal, which aims to rescue street children at risk. Most of these children are indigenous Guatemalans who become the victims of labor exploitation and prostitution in Tapachula, Chiapas.

Moises Sanchez Lopez, head of Human Rights for the city government of Tapachula, explained that the first phase of the project is to raise awareness with messages through the media, including that adults not give money to street children, because that money is destined for the pockets of the criminal networks that exploit them.

Sanchez added that the second phase is to rescue the street children. They have sought support from the consulates of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the National Human Rights Commission, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the National Migration Institute, the Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Against Migrants, and the Catholic Church affiliated NGO Defenders of the Human Rights of Migrants and Entrepreneurs.

Sanchez said the program seeks to prevent children from becoming victims of sexual and labor exploitation.

In Tapachula, dozens of children, mostly indigenous Guatemalans, are forced to work in begging, selling candy and cigarettes, shining shoes, cleaning windshields and as clowns.

These children, who average 13 years-of-age, work as many as 12 hours a day for negligible wages, and in some cases, without pay. They are forced to live in overcrowded conditions and are only given one meal a day.

According to the complaint by Guatemala’s diplomats, the majority of children living in villages on Mexico’s border are sold by their parents to be exploited in Mexico. Children with disabilities are sold for higher prices, and are taken to the cities of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Tapachula and Huixtla.

The the program "The Sons of the Eagle and the Quetzal," has been developed by the state government of Chiapas, through its Secretary for Southern Border Development, Secretaria de Desarrollo de la Frontera Sur, working together with the DIF [Integral Family Development] social services agency.

Prensa Libre

Oct. 22, 2009

Added: Sep. 23, 2009


Jesús Tecú Osorio at the site of the Rio Negro (town of Black River) massacre.

Photo: Renata Avila

The Activism of Massacre Survivor Jesús Tecú

Maya Achí activist Jesús Tecú Osorio is a survivor. When he was a child, he witnessed the Río Negro Massacre, one of the most horrific massacres of Guatemala's armed conflict. Many of his friends, his 2-year-old brother, and his young parents were murdered. He spent some time forced to work, along with 17 other child survivors, doing domestic work for the man who killed his brother.

Years later, after he was released into the custody of his older sister, Tecú began to work to exhume the mass grave of those killed in the Massacre. Eventually, this work led to the conviction of 3 of the men who took part in the killings. This work has been crucial in the pursuit of justice and the preservation of the historical memory on local and international levels.

Tecú wrote a book called “Memory of the Río Negro Massacres” that tells his experience as a homeless child who survived the war. Tadeo explains more about the story that Tecú tells:

The military and paramilitary forces rounded up all of the women and children and accused them of collaborating with the guerrillas. Together they proceeded to rape, torture, and murder everyone. Some 177 human beings, including 107 children, were massacred on the 13th of March, 1982, in Rio Negro. The few survivors, mostly young boys, were forced into slavery.

In The Massacres of Río Negro, survivor Jesús Tecú described being enslaved by a leader of the Xococ PAC, a man who ripped his youngest brother out of his arms and swung him by his feet, smashing his brains against rocks in front of his eyes because his wife was “not used to caring for [such] a small child.

Tecú's case is different from many others, because he stayed in his community helping... to fight for their human rights. He is leading a Legal Clinic to help poor and under-educated people to fight for their rights. This struggle by Tecú and other survivors of Guatemala's civil war led to the creation of the New Hope Foundation (FNE). Their mission can be found on their blog...

For his work, Tecú was awarded the Reebok Human Rights Award...

Despite the progress made by Tecú and the Achí community, the work continues. Survivors are still pressing the Guatemalan government to convict those responsible for the massacres, as shown by the Colectivo Guatemala Blog. Some of these individuals are being intimidated for their work.

Recently, Tecú has received threatening phone calls...

Global Voices

Sep. 22, 2009

Added: Sep. 11, 2009


Closeup of a community mural scene, showing a 1980's military massacre of women and children in the Mayan town of Comalapa, Guatemala.

From a short film by

Ian Ramsey North

Guatemalan Soldiers Sold Children in War - Government

Guatemala City - At least 333 children and probably thousands more were taken by Guatemalan security forces and sold abroad during the country's 36-year civil war, a government report said on Thursday.

Soldiers and police killed children's parents, lied about how they had been found and handed them to state-run homes for sale to adoptive parents in the United States and Europe, said the report, which was based on government archives.

The archives in the Guatemalan presidency's social welfare department show hundreds of children whose parents were killed by the army or who were forcefully taken from their families and were put up for adoption with false papers.

"Some of the people involved in organizing these adoptions made the process into a very lucrative business for themselves, and with that in mind they gave priority to international adoptions," Marco Tulio Alvarez, the report's author and the director of the archives, told a news conference.

By the end of the war in 1996, Guatemala was the second largest source of children adopted internationally after China, but numbers have dropped after the government tightened regulations in 2007...

Around 250,000 people, mostly indigenous Mayan Indians, died in the war between successive right-wing governments and leftist insurgents, which ended with the signing of UN-backed peace accords in 1996.

Human rights groups hope that dozens of people could be prosecuted based on the new report. There may be thousands more cases but little paperwork survives as proof...

Sarah Grainger


Sep. 11, 2009

Added: Sep. 11, 2009


Photo: Prensa Libre

Condenan a 150 Años de Prisión a Ex Comisionado Militar

El primer juicio por desaparición forzada en el país concluyó ayer con la condena de 150 años de prisión contra el ex comisionado militar Felipe Cusanero Coj, hallado culpable de la desaparición forzada de seis personas...

Aura Elena Farfán, de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos, expresó: “En el país hay 45 mil personas desaparecidas, y esta condena es un precedente para continuar la lucha en busca de nuestros seres queridos”.

En el juicio estuvieron presentes los embajadores de Holanda y de Chile, quienes expresaron su beneplácito por la sentencia.

The first trial involving a case of forced disappearance in Guatemala [during the 1980's-1090s civil war] has concluded with a 150 year prison sentence for former military commissioner Felipe Cusanero Coj, who was found guilty of causing the forced disappearances of 6 people...

Aura Elena Farfán, from the group Families of the Detained and Disappeared, stated, "In our nation there are 45,000 disappeared persons. This sentence sets a precedence for continuing our struggle to find our loved ones.

The Ambassadors of Chile and Holland to Guatemala were present at the trial, and expressed their approval of the conviction and sentence...

Prensa Libre

Aug. 31, 2009

See also:

Added: Sep. 11, 2009


Guatemala Sees Landmark Sentence

A Guatemalan court has sentenced an ex-paramilitary officer to 150 years in prison for the forced disappearance of civilians in the civil war.

Felipe Cusanero, found guilty over the disappearance in the 1980s of six indigenous Maya farmers, is the first person to be jailed for such crimes.

Human rights groups have hailed the verdict as a breakthrough in the fight against impunity in Guatemala.

Some 250,000 people were killed in the 36-year conflict, which ended in 1996.

The court in Chimaltenango, about 40km (25 miles) west of Guatemala City, was packed as the judges read their verdict and sentence - 25 years for each victim.

Cusanero was found guilty in connection with the disappearances of six people in the Chimaltenango region between 1982 and 1984.

At the time, which was the height of the long-running civil war between government forces and left-wing guerrillas, he was a military commissioner, a civilian working with the army.

"We weren't looking for vengeance but for the truth and justice," Hilarion Lopez, whose 24-year-old son was taken by soldiers in 1984 and never seen again, told Reuters news agency.

Rights groups believe Cusanero was involved in the disappearances of more people but only six families came forward to testify against him.

A UN-backed truth commission found that between 1960 and 1996 some 200,000 people were killed and more than 45,000 [were] disappeared.

Most of those who died were civilians.


Sep. 1, 2009

Added: June 12, 2009


Guatemala’s Neglected Story: Continued Disregard for Indigenous Autonomy

Indigenous peoples are still violently suppressed when they voice any opposition to foreign multi-national investment operations

Gaining strength, the country’s Indigenous movement is a much needed tool for securing equal rights

…Continued Repression and Impunity

In 1996, the Guatemalan government and the combined guerrilla forces functioning under the moniker, Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (UNRG), signed the Peace Accords that brought an end to more than 30 years of a bloody civil war. Guatemala’s internal conflict resulted in the death of close to 200,000 people, many of whom were indigenous campesinos caught in the crossfire of the warring factions’ violent ideologies. Many more were kidnapped, tortured and never heard from again. Claims that indigenous communities were easily manipulated and recruited by leftist guerrillas were used as excuses for the systematic ethnic cleansing by rightist death squads in what the Guatemalan Commission of Historical Clarification (set up by the UN as part of the Accord of Oslo ) deemed to be genocide. Those who participated in creating the infrastructure which indirectly led to the indiscriminate killings in indigenous communities did not only include Guatemalan authorities, but also foreign entities with roles to play in the country, such as the World Bank and the Inter–American Development Bank.

In the 1980s, civilian paramilitaries, sanctioned by the government, cleared the way for the construction of the World Bank-financed Chixoy Dam by eradicating the indigenous opposition it had attracted. This has become known as the Rio Negro massacre, a tragedy that left hundreds [of women and children raped and] dead…

Today, indigenous leaders and local activists are routinely faced with threats of assassination and cases of intimidation that are met with inadequate investigations or total indifference by the authorities. Death squads have re-emerged, which are hired to survey indigenous lands scheduled for exploiting by foreign enterprises. The 1996 Peace Accords set the international community at ease by declaring an end to the civil war that had decimated the Central American country for over three decades, but it became obvious that such optimism was unwarranted and that the treaty did not bring an end to the violence…

…In Guatemala, hostility and racism towards indigenous groups is manifested by political exclusion. The unvoiced consensus among the powerful Europeanized minority remains that although the indigenous population is substantial, its political representation should remain marginalized…

Research Associate Billy Lemus

Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)

June 9th, 2009

Added: June 12, 2009


Maquilas en Guatemala, discriminación y esclavitud para mujeres

Dos décadas de violación a las normas laborales y Derechos Humanos

Guatemala - En las maquilas está prohibido embarazarse, orinar más de dos veces al día e incluso tomar agua durante la jornada de trabajo. También esta vedado quejarse o faltar un solo día por enfermedad.

Estas razones son justificantes de despido para las guatemaltecas que laboran en la industria textilera de este país centroamericano, en establecimientos dirigidos, en su mayoría, por coreanos...

Maquilas in Guatemala, slavery and discrimination against women

Foreign-owned textile industry has two decades of violating labor and human rights standards

Guatemala - In the maquilas [low wage foreign-owned factories], women [who are the great majority of workers] are prohibited by their employers from getting pregnant, urinating more than twice a day, and to drink water during the workday. It is also forbidden to complain or miss even a single day because of illness.

Within Central America’s textile industry, which is run mostly by [South] Koreans, breaking these rules will get you fired.

These factories also practice age discrimination. If you are older than age 35, you are immediately rejected for employment. Successful applicants for work are typically between the ages of 16 and 30. Those who want to work must be willing to put up with inhumane conditions.

Women workers are packed into over-crowded, poorly ventilated production lines where as many as 350 people work in one area. The work areas often lack proper ventilation and access to potable water and sanitation.

At the end of each month, these workers receive a paycheck that is less than a living wage. Men earn more for doing the same work, and are not forced to work under such cruel conditions. According to Guatemala’s Ministry of Labor, women receive an average salary equivalent to $ 110 per month, while that of men is $ 125...

Moreover, women maquila workers are subjected to sexual harassment, according to the 2007 report, "We Only Ask that You Treat Us as Humans," developed by the Foundation for Peace and Democracy FUNPADEM.
A survey implemented between 2005 and 2006 by the FUNPADEM of 516 maquila workers in the capital and rural areas determined that persistent sexual harassment and abuse exists, but that the employees do not complain about it.

They reported that the manager of the factory routinely hires teenage girls, with whom he maintains a sexual relationship [as a condition of employment].

Many give in to the unwanted touching, indecent proposals and quid-pro-quo relationships because they need the work. Otherwise they would be fired, adds the report. The vast majority of these women have from one to five children, and are single mothers and heads of household. So they need to feed their families...

According to the National Survey of Commerce and Housing 2006, these women are part of a segment of six million people living in poverty, who live on one a dollar a day. One million of those live in extreme poverty.

This is not surprising in Guatemala, which has the second highest rate of female illiteracy in Latin America - 34.6 percent. The Presidential Secretariat for Women (SEPREM) reports that approximately half a million girls between seven and 14 years of age are not enrolled in primary school.

They, says Solis, are the ideal niche for the Koreans to seek to produce in their factories.

Velasquez, of the organization Atrahdom notes that these employees are treated so badly that they are not allowed to go the the bathroom to change their menstrual pads...

Alba Trejo


June 11, 2009

Added: June 6, 2009


"Guatemala: We have neither protection nor justice for women and girls."

Photo: Amnesty International

Guatemala’s Femicide Law: Progress Against Impunity?

Excerpt form the  Executive Summary

Guatemala ranks among the most dangerous places in Latin America, especially for women. While crime and violence affects everyone, particularly community leaders, indigenous rights representatives, judges, and human rights defenders, violence against women and girls has escalated markedly in the past ten years…

With a population under 14 million, Guatemala registered over 4,300 violent murders of women from 2000 to 2008, and shockingly 98% of the cases remained unsolved. The majority of murders are committed by firearm in and around Guatemala City, and are preceded by rape or torture…

The internal armed conflict, classified as genocide by the United Nations, contributed heavily to the legacy of violence in Guatemala, including violence against women. With torture regularly used as a military technique, the torment that women faced was of a particularly sadistic nature. Two comprehensive reports document the extent of the sexual abuses carried out against women during the war. The vast majority who suffered sexual violence were of Mayan descent (88.7%). It has been estimated that 50,000 women and girls were victims of violence.

The suffering endured by women during the internal armed conflict did not end with the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996. Organized crime, gangs, drug trafficking, and human trafficking have become part of daily life both in the capital city and also throughout the countryside. A lack of rule of law, including corruption, gender bias and impunity in law enforcement, investigations and the legal system have also had an adverse effect on women…

Impunity in cases of violence against women and femicide is staggeringly high. Dr. Carlos Castresana, Commissioner of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), has identified impunity as the overwhelming factor in the femicide crisis…

The Guatemalan National Police force is understaffed, lacks training on how to approach female victims of violence, and is notoriously corrupt. Domestic violence continues to be dismissed as a “private” matter, despite legislation to the contrary, and gender bias permeates the investigative process and judicial system. In many femicide cases victims are initially dismissed as prostitutes, gang members, or criminals…

Guatemala Human rights Commission / USA


Added: April 19, 2009


Gladys Monterroso

Feministas exigen cese de la violencia sexual contra las mujeres

Integrantes de organizaciones de mujeres, de derechos humanos y feministas, exigieron al Estado guatemalteco que implemente medidas efectivas para erradicar la violencia sexual contra la población.

De acuerdo con un comunicado de prensa, el reciente caso de secuestro, tortura y violación que sufrió Gladys Monterroso, esposa del Procurador de los Derechos Humanos, Sergio Morales, un día después que se dio a conocer el primer informe de los archivos de la Policía Nacional implicada en crímenes de guerra, es un hecho indignante...

Feminists demand an end to sexual violence against women

Members of women's organizations, feminists and human rights groups have issued a press release demanding that the Guatemalan government implement effective measures to eradicate sexual violence against women.

The groups site the recent case of the abduction, torture and rape of Gladys Monterroso, wife of the the nation’s Human Rights Ombudsman, Sergio Morales. The attack came one day after the Human Rights Commission released the first report analyzing the recently discovered archives of the National Police. The report stated that the archived files implicate the National Police in war crimes [from the Guatemalan Civil War / Mayan genocide]...

The activists blame the police and military, in collusion with the Guatemalan oligarchy, which through criminal intimidation is trying to protect those who are guilty of war crimes and especially sexual crimes against women in Guatemala.

What happened to Monterroso is exactly what thousands of Mayan and Xinca (Indigenous), mestizo (mixed Indigenous and European), and Garifuna (Afro-Guatemalan) women have suffered in the various areas of daily life. It is part of a continuum of a systematic exercise of patriarchal, misogynist and racist violence that has been used by men to dominate and exploit Guatemala’s female citizens, stated the press release...


April 18, 2009

See also:

Take Action: Demand Investigation into Kidnapping of Gladys Monterroso


JASS Blog: Guatemalan Lawyer Gladys Monterroso Kidnapped and Tortured


Gladys Monterroso, Wife of Guatemalan Rights Official


Guatemala: ARTICLE 19 condemns attack on Gladys Monterroso


Humanitarian Relief - Change.org: Demand Investigation into kidnapping of Gladys Monterroso


Guatemala – Kidnapping and torture of Ms Gladys Monterroso

www.frontline defenders.org

The effects of the intersection between militarism and sexism


Added: Feb. 27, 2009


A photo taken of underage Mayan girls participating in a community ceremony during Guatemala's civil war. At the time this photo was taken, the girls were surrounded by Army troops, who were also their serial rapists.

From Guatemala - Land of Eternal Spring - Land of Eternal Tyranny, by Jean Marie Simon - 1988

Note: I first read this book around 1988. In it, I learned that Guatemalan Army officer cadets from the Army Academy were required by their commanders to bring back the panties of victims after weekend furloughs as proof of their acts of rape.

Raping women was a requirement of their military training.

- Chuck Goolsby

Llaman a romper el silencio de crímenes sexuales cometidos durante la guerra

Integrantes de diversas organiza-ciones, que velan por la vigencia de los derechos de las guatemaltecas, hicieron un llamado a la población para que rompa el silencio que impide que los crímenes sexuales cometidos durante el conflicto armado interno sean llevados a la justicia.

De acuerdo con un comunicado, 10 años han pasado desde que la Comisión para el Esclarecimiento Histórico (CEH) presentó el Informe “Memoria del Silencio”, que documenta las violaciones a los derechos humanos, entre ellas crímenes sexuales ejecutados por el Ejército y las patrullas de autodefensa civil, masivamente contra mujeres mayas.

La información señala que la violación sexual fue sistemáticamente utilizada como arma de guerra en el marco de la política contrainsurgente del Ejército y como constitutiva del genocidio y el feminicidio, sin embargo, una cultura de silencio ha rodeado ese tipo de casos...

Civil organizations call on the population to break the wall of silence about sex crimes committed during the civil war

Guatemala City - Members of human rights organizations have called upon the people of Guatemala to break the wall of silence that has prevented discussion of bringing those responsible for sex crimes committed during the internal armed conflict to justice.

According to a press release, 10 years have passed since the Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH) presented its report entitled "Memory of Silence," which documented the human rights violations perpetrated during the war, including mass sexual crimes carried out by Army units and civilian self-defense patrols directed against Mayan women.

The information indicates that rape was systematically used as a weapon of war under the Army's counterinsurgency policy and as an element of genocide and femicide. However today, a culture of silence surrounds these cases.

Despite the gravity of such crimes, the justice system has failed to address the demands of thousands of victims, and to date not one trial has been held related to acts of sexual violence carried out against women during armed conflict…

The Center for Legal Action on Human Rights (CALDH), the Women's Earth Viva (AMTV), the National Union of Guatemalan Women (UNAMG), the Human Rights Office of the Archbishop (ODHAG), the Maya Waqib ' Kej National Convergence and the  Association of Families of the Detained and Disappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA), among others, signed the declaration.


Feb 25, 2009

Added June 28, 2008

Guatemala, Mexico

Rigoberta Menchú denuncia venta de niñas indígenas Centroamérica y México

Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu denounces the sale of indigenous children into sexual slavery

[Mayan human rights leader] Rigoberta Menchú, the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, during a visit to Veracruz, Mexico, has denounced the sale of indigenous girls in Mexico and Central America, in which traditional indigenous marriage customs are perverted by criminal gangs to force underage girls into sexual slavery.

According to information from Prensa Libre, Menchu said that the trade in minors involved organized mafias, doctors, lawyers, legislators and local authorities.

Menchu regretted that the sale of children, mainly girls, occurs with the knowledge of officials within indigenous communities.

Menchu protested the fact that in Guatemala, there is an extensive, underground trade in boys and girls, which authorities find hard to detect.

Menchu stated that many nongovern-mental organizations have denounced this situation, and that they are mainly concerned by the fact that families 'sell' [underage] girls to older men to become wives. In reality, the girls [typically in the age range of 11 to 13] are resold [to child sex traffickers and pimps] for sexual exploitation. she noted.

The Nobel laureate said that in southeastern Mexico and across Guatemala this practice is common, and asked that the public report these sales of children.

Finally, Menchu announced that the Rigoberta Menchu Foundation has signed an agreement with the Government of Veracruz [Mexico] to perform various prevention measures in rural [indigenous] communities.


Guatemalan Human

Rights News

June. 27, 2008

See also:

Launch event for the book ‘Mirame,’ shining a light on challenges facing indigenous girls in Guatemala

Manuel Manrique, UNICEF Represent-ative in Guatemala: “Indigenous people in general are discrimin-ated against, the indigenous child doubly discriminated against, [and] the indigenous girl triply discriminated against.”  “If you review the life cycle from birth until 18 years of age, the situation of the indigenous girl is worse than that of others...”

'Mirame is a project of UNICEF and the Office of the Public Defender of Indigenous Women in Guatemala.


Guatemala City

Aug. 22, 2007


About the crisis of sexual exploitation facing indigenous women and children

in Guatemala - including the history of Mayan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu.

Added June 28, 2008


Las agresiones contra las mujeres demuestran la vulnerabilidad que viven

Assaults Against Women Shows their Vulnerability [Machismo Fuels Impunity Against Women]

A wave of assaults against women in Baja Verapaz Department [state] demonstrate the vulnerability of women and the persistence of machismo, with its implicit expressions of domination and subordination, decalred Vilma Oxlaj, a representative of the office of the Public Defender of Indigenous Women (DEMI).

According Oxlaj, in the municipalities of Rabinal, San Miguel Chicaj and Cubulco reported several cases of sexual assaults against young women and despite the fact that the scourge is on the rise there is little willingness to report these crimes because of a culture of fear of the aggressors and a knowledge that victims will receive superficial treatment from the authorities.

Oxlaj is saddened by the vulnerability in which these women live, a condition that is based upon the patriarchal construction [within machismo] that women's bodies belong to men.

Fresia Palomo, a psychologist of Office of Public Prosecutions (MP), stated that controlling the sexuality of women by men and the right of their access to our bodies are the main reasons for acts of domination by men towards women.

Palomo said that rape was shielded by impunity because of [the code of] silence, negligence and poor the poor attitude shown by the authorities responsible for preventing and responding to these aggressions.

Palomo emphasized that the most reprehensible cases involve acts of rape and aggression towards women by persons who have the consent or complicity of state agents.

Finally, Palomo said that male violence targeting the female population demonstrated the macho and savage attitudes of men who have no respect for life and the dignity of women.


Guatemalan Human

Rights News

June. 27, 2008

See also:

DEMI, velando por los derechos de las mujeres indígenas.

Added June 28, 2008


Justice is Bittersweet as Killers are Sentenced for 1982 Massacre

Salamá, Guatemala - The five former paramilitaries shuffled into the courtroom in this small country town, convicted of participating in one the most notorious massacres in Guatemala's 36-year-long civil war. Now they awaited a sentence.

The hearing, which took place on May 28, has been graphically portrayed in the blogs of Heidi McKinnon, a Peace Fellow from The Advocacy Project (AP). Ms McKinnon is volunteering this summer with the Association for the Integral Development of the Victims of Violence in the Verapaces, Maya Achí (ADIVIMA), a group which represents massacre survivors and brought the charges.

The Río Negro massacre occurred after an indigenous community at Río Negro refused to relocate and make way for the Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam, a massive government energy project supported by The World Bank. After 74 villagers were killed in February 1982, most of the men fled to the hills. Early on March 13, 1982, army soldiers and a civil patrol from the nearby village of Xococ arrived at Río Negro, and murdered 177 women and children. Many of the victims were raped and tortured...

Ms McKinnon: "What I witnessed was a historic event in Guatemala. It was a victory for every survivor." But she also concedes that the victory was bittersweet: "When you are seated a few feet away from a murderer who is over 70, speaks no Spanish and has trouble even walking, it can make one pause and wonder whose definition of justice is being served by such a sentence. Who is more culpable, the man who pulled the trigger or the man who bought him the gun and told him who he should kill if he wanted to stay alive and keep his family safe?"

- AdvocacyNet News

Bulletin 143

June 16, 2008

Added June 26, 2008


The invisibility-of, and the lack of aggressive advocacy-for indigenous victims of mass gender violence and its resulting slavery is similar, as a pattern of collective behavior, to the world's silence and inaction during the 1970s and 1980s when 200,000 Mayans were murdered in Guatemala, an act of ethnic cleansing that was rationalized by the Cold War concept of 'draining the pond' of [innocent] humanity in which a few thousand leftist rebels lived.

To understand the context surrounding the reasons why a public service such as LibertadLatina.org is needed, I will relate the following factual account, as one slice through this 'complex universe' of embedded gender oppression...

The invisibility-of, and the lack of aggressive advocacy-for indigenous victims of mass gender violence and its resulting slavery is similar, as a pattern of collective behavior, to the world's silence and inaction during the 1970s and 1980s when 200,000 Mayans were murdered in Guatemala, an act of ethnic cleansing that was rationalized by the Cold War concept of 'draining the pond' of humanity in which a few thousand leftist rebels lived. The United Nations Truth Commission for Guatemala and other international bodies don't deny that this genocide occurred, and that 50,000 innocent women and girls were murdered. The nation's Supreme Court has officially determined that 200,000 orphans resulted from the events of this civil war. Some 440 Mayan towns were destroyed in the mountainous northwestern highlands of the country.

Under the terms of the 1996 Peace Accords, perpetrators of these atrocities were given amnesty. They still roam the streets of the Americas.

Is the late 20th Century Guatemalan Genocide relevant to the topic of human trafficking today? Yes.

The men of the government security forces who carried-out these mass rapes and murders did not just go away. They remain among us. Their past criminal behavior expresses itself today, and has actually been passed-on to younger generations of men.

Over 500 women are murdered in Guatemala each year. Only 2% of those cases have ever been investigated by police. This rate of female murders is 10 times higher than the rate in Mexico's infamous Ciudad Juarez. In a typical Guatemalan case, the murdered woman has suffered 35 violent attacks in her home or community prior to death, with no law enforcement intervention whatsoever. The victim, at the time of her death, usually has been raped and tortured first, and then dismembered after the fact. These patterns of behavior were learned by the ‘perpetrators’ during the Guatemalan Civil War. Activists in the region understand that today's femicide is a legacy of the nation's Civil War.

To further tie together these linked issues, I know victims of that genocide, and I have met a perpetrator, through one of his family members. This family member talked to me at length about this perpetrator’s activities in Guatemala. I will refer to him here as ‘Juan.’

Juan’s grandfather owned a large ranch in Guatemala, and when he was feeling especially angry, he would go to the Mayan village at the far-end of his ranch and "shoot a few Indians" (a direct quote). During the time of the 1970s-1980s Guatemalan Civil War, Juan was a member of the Guatemalan president's security detail, the Presidential Guard. This security unit had a secondary task, aside from protection, of receiving a daily hit list from the president’s palace, finding these persons and murdering them for being suspected ‘subversives.’

The bodies of the victims were typically left laying in the street as a message to the population. Juan stated to his family: "Me daba mucha lastima tener que malograr a las mujeres" - that is: "it really saddened me to have to tear-up the women [on the hit list]." In other words, he supposedly felt sad for having willfully kidnapped, tortured, gang-raped and finally murdered his mostly Mayan women and girl victims over a number of years.

Almost all Mayan women, and girls of all ages, were raped by soldiers, policemen and 'civil guards' during this war. Mayans are 40%, and mixed-race indigenous people are 56% of Guatemala's population.

During the mid 1990s, before I even knew what sex trafficking was, Juan’s family member explained to me that Juan was engaged in smuggling people into the United States under peculiar circumstances, and had ties to Colombian mafias. Today, I understand that what was being explained to me was the fact that Juan, a former mass rapist and murderer of women, had 'graduated' to sex trafficking women into the U.S. while living a comfortable and otherwise 'normal' life in Washington, DC.

It was also explained to me that Juan would travel to Guatemala City, place an add in a local paper seeking young girls to work as escorts, and that 13 and 14-year-old girls gleefully responded. Juan then 'trained' these girls as prostitutes, and sent them out as escorts for wealthy businessmen.

In Washington, DC, Juan, when working as in the role of office building cleaning crew manager, imposed quid-pro-quo sexual demands upon the Latina women who applied to work at his office building.

The world's past denial of the Guatemalan Genocide plays into the world's current lack of attention to ongoing femicide, mass kidnappings of babies for illegal adoptions and prostitution, and the mass trafficking of Guatemalan women into the brothels of southern Mexico.

Compounding the complexity of addressing the realities of the Guatemalan crisis for women is the fact that followers of some political philosophies cannot bring themselves to support this politically neutral analysis, because these conclusions clash with a their particular view of the role of the U.S. and its close allies in supporting Guatemala's dictatorships during the time of the genocide. Discussion of Guatemala was censored from one important anti-trafficking forum in the early 2000s because of this conflict.

So the anti-trafficking movement, to be effective, must move beyond partisan politics. Are movement activists of a particular political view, who are otherwise some of the strongest supporters of the goal of ending sex trafficking, really willing to suppress discussion of Guatemala, limit U.S. support for ending femicide, and simply not deal today with the sex trafficking of an entire generation of our young Mayan girls and boys, just to make a political point? We hope not...

The above true story is but one example of the invisibility of indigenous victims, who effectively have no civil or human rights under the laws of Guatemala, nor in most Latin American nations where we are a major segment of the population. The problem is also especially grave today in Mexico and Colombia.

- Chuck Goolsby


Changemakers Competition Application

Global Solutions to Human Trafficking

June 18, 2008

Added June 7, 2008

California, USA

Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Engage in Sex Trafficking and Transporting Illegal Aliens in Los Angeles

Washington, DC - Pablo Bonifacio pleaded guilty today in federal court in Los Angeles, to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and transporting [undocumented] aliens in the pending case of United States v. Vasquez-Valenzuela, announced Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division and Thomas P. OBrien, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. The remaining eight defendants are scheduled for trial on Sept. 2, 2008, in Los Angeles.

During the plea today, Bonifacio admitted to conspiring with multiple co-defendants and others in a scheme to bring young Guatemalan women and girls into the United States illegally for purposes of prostitution, and to hold and harbor them in the Los Angeles area for the same purposes. As he admitted during the plea hearing today, Bonifacio was paid for his role in transporting young females to different locations within the Los Angeles area to engage in prostitution. In addition, the defendant acknowledged that co-defendants arranged for young females to be recruited from Guatemala -- often on the promise of legitimate jobs -- and were then smuggled into the United States illegally for prostitution. The young women and girls were then forced to engage in prostitution to repay their smuggling fees...

Mr. Bonifacio has admitted his role in a scheme that lured young girls into the United States with promises of a better life, said U.S. Attorney OBrien. But the American dream turned into a nightmare when those children were forced to work as prostitutes...

- PRNewswire-USNewswire, U.S. Department of Justice

May 8, 2008

Added May 8, 2008


(Who is not part of this story)


Mayan Leader

and Nobel

Peace Prize





Madres que reclaman devolución de sus hijas siguen en huelga de hambre

Mothers Hold Hunger Strike to Demand the Return of their Kidnapped Children

Four Guatemalan mothers whose babies were kidnapped to be sold in foreign adoption are continuing a hunger strike in front of the National Palace of Culture. The women started the protest on April 28th.

Norma Cruz, director of the Survivors Foundation, which assist women victims of violence, stated that representatives of the National Council on Adoptions, and the federal Attorney General's office have expressed interest in assisting the families.

Nonetheless, Cruz lamented, we don't see real, concrete action, and the investigation has not brought-about any positive results.

The mothers have vowed to continue their protest until there are clear signs that authorities are taking these cases seriously.

Raquel Par, an indigenous woman of the Kakchiquel Mayan ethnic group, told of how on April 4, 2006, her daughter, Heidi Saraí Batz, was drugged and then kidnapped by a woman in the Villa Hermosa neighbor-hood on the south side of Gauatemala City.

Ana Escobar, another victim, related how on March 26, 2006 an armed man entered the shoe repair shop where she worked, attempted to rape her, locked her in a bathroom, and then kidnapped her 6-month-old daughter Esther Zulamitha.

Olga López, whose daughter Arlene Escarleth disappeared on November 27, 2006, and Loyda Rodríguez, mother of Angielyn Lisset Hernández, kidnapped on November 3, 2006, also discussed their tragedies.

According to Cruz, these are just four of the hundreds of cases in which young, poor and unprotected [and mostly indigenous] women become victims of organized criminal gangs whose business it is to rob children to sell to foreigners [mostly from the United States] in adoption.

Cruz: "We have denounced dozens of adoption lawyers. The authorities take this information, but they don't do much to stop these crimes."

In December of 2007, the Guatemalan Parliament adopted the Law of Adoptions, authored by the National Council on Adoptions, an organization representing diverse sectors of society.

Guatemala's government was pressured into enacting the law after the Hague Conference on Private International Law declared in July, 2007 that Guatemala was the number one source country in the world for children given in adoption, where the legality of these adoptions are not guaranteed.

- Actualidad - Terra


May 5, 2008

See also:

LibertadLatina note:

Indigenous women and girls in Latin American countries face extreme violations of their human rights and dignity due to the continuation of 500 years of feudalism based on their sexual and labor exploitation.

Few human rights efforts address the dynamics of racism and sexism facing indigenous and African Descendent women in Latin America.  At LibertadLatina, active advocacy against such modern impunity is a large part of the focus of our work.

We remember them and all women and children facing oppression!

Happy Mothers Day!

- Chuck Goolsby


May 11, 2008

Added Nov. 24, 2006

Guatemala, United States

 The killings of women and girls in Guatemala are rising at an alarming rate yet actions by the Guatemalan government to bring those responsible to justice are insufficient. A U.S. House Resolution condemning these brutal killings has been introduced... urging both the United States and Guatemalan Governments to do more to bring an end to this human rights scandal (H.RES.1081). Urge your Representative to sign on to this important resolution. Take action »

- Amnesty International

See also:

Added Nov. 24, 2006

 Background information on the murders of women in Guatemala


Background Information on Murders of Women in Guatemala

The prevalence of violence against women in Guatemala today has its roots in historical and cultural values which have maintained women’s subordination and which were most evident during the 36-year internal armed conflict that ended with the signing of the United Nations-brokered Peace Accords in 1996.  Of the estimated 200,000 people who "disappeared" or were extra-judicially executed during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict, a quarter of the victims were women.

The consequences of the internal armed conflict in terms of the destruction of communities, displacement, increased poverty and social exclusion has a bearing on levels of violence against women today as does the failure to bring to account those responsible for past human rights violations.

The majority of women killed in the past few years in Guatemala were: living in urban areas of the country, aged 18-30 and many were abducted in broad daylight.  Despite the lack of detailed forensic information, there is significant evidence to suggest that sexual violence, particularly rape, is a strong component characterizing many of the killings.  The brutality of the killings and signs of sexual violence, and often mutilation, bear many of the hallmarks of the terrible atrocities committed during the conflict that went unpunished and reveal that extreme forms of sexual violence and discrimination remain prevalent in Guatemalan society.


Guatemala has the highest murder rate in Latin America with approximately 44 murders per 100 000 inhabitants.

According to the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office no arrests have been made in 97% of the killings of women and more that 70% of the cases have not been investigated.

- Amnesty International


Added Jan. 29, 2006


Getting Away With Murder: Guatemala’s Failure to Protect Women

A Mayan woman and girl walk on a public road carrying a machete in Guatemala.

 - Hastings Law School

The below excerpts are from a report by the Hastings College of Law of the University of California. 

This information describes some of the root causes of the worst environment for gender violence (rape and murder) among all of the nations of the  Americas in 2006.


A 36-Year Legacy of Violence Against Women

During the [36 year Civil War, ending in 1996], agents of the state, including members of the Guatemalan military and the Civil Defense Patrols, used sexual violence as a weapon of war systematically and with complete Immunity.

Sexual assaults were so widespread in the [Mayan] highland combat zones that one local official commented that it would be difficult to find a Mayan girl of eleven to fifteen who had not been raped.

A generation of young men forcibly recruited to the army were indoctrinated in the use of sexual violence as a weapon. While the Peace Accords are long-since signed, the war against women seemingly continues, with the attitudes and practices of violence against women developed during the conflict persisting nearly ten years later.

Guatemalan Law and Crimes of Sexual Violence

Rape occurring within marriage is currently unrecog-nized as a crime.  Therefore, spouses and live-in partners cannot be prosecuted for such an act.  This serves to reinforce the idea that women have the obligation to sexually satisfy their husbands/ partners. 

An offender is released from criminal responsibility or from penalties for a crime of sexual violence [rape] if he marries his victim, as long as she is twelve or older. The stated legislative end of this practice is the restoration of a woman’s honor. Instead, it sentences a girl or woman to a lifetime with her rapist.

* Report - Web Page

* Report - PDF File

- University of California Hastings College of the Law - Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
November 2005


Added Jan. 28, 2006


Guatemalan Human Rights Commission -USA Analyses Femicide

Closeup of a community mural scene, showing a 1980's military massacre of women and children in the Mayan town of Comalapa, Guatemala.

From a short film by

Ian Ramsey North

The Guatemalan Human Rights Commission-USA has developed a campaign to end the brutal violence against women in Guatemala. The Guatemalan government is doing little to stem the violence, so the international community must make its voice heard...

The rule of law in Guatemala is steadily weakening. The judicial system barely functions; the police force is underpaid and under trained.

Perhaps the very horror and the astounding scope of [femicide] murders explain the silence and inaction of the Guatemalan government and the international community.

Hilda Morales, of Guatemala’s No Violence Against Women Network...

“Everyone knows about the murdered women of Juarez [City, Mexico], but it’s as if the case of the murdered women of Guatemala were being hushed up.’’

The US embassy [in Guatemala], for one, has not expressed particular concern.

Most women are raped and tortured before being killed, and their mutilated bodies are left in public places, to be found by members of their communities.

While about a third of the murders are related to domestic violence, investigations suggest a less personal pattern in the other cases.

Twenty-three police officers have been linked to ten of the murders, fueling the suspicion of many Guatemalan analysts that clandestine security forces linked to the police and to the army are murdering women with such brutality to foment political instability and a climate of terror. This intimidation may lead women to retreat from participation in public life, gained with so much effort, and limit themselves again to the private world, abandoning their indispensable role in national development.

The Guatemalan government, by omission, is complicit in the terror. The low priority the government gives the issue of femicidio is reflected in the scant resources it allocates to investigators and the almost complete absence of prosecution.

- "For Women's Right to Live Campaign"

Guatemalan Human Rights Commission/USA

Washington, DC


Another mural massacre scene from Comalapa

LibertadLatina Commentary:

Over 500 women and young girls were brazenly murdered in Guatemala in 2005.  Almost nobody has been prosecuted.  The rate of female murders is 10 times higher than the rate facing femicide-burdened Juarez City, Mexico.

The Guatemalan Femicide represents a tragic convergence of many social ills.

These 'ills' include:

The ongoing legacy of the mass rape and murder of women during the 1980's-1990's Civil War, when 50,000 women were  murdered and most Mayan girls over age 7 were raped by government forces.

The influence of out of control gangs, or maras, & other criminals who run sexual slavery networks, who rape, kidnap and traffic not just in local women and girls but who also attack many of the thousands of Central and South American women and girls who must cross Guatemala while trying to reach 'economic and gender safety' in the U.S.

The existence of a historically 'traditional' racial hatred and apathy toward the plight of the mostly Mayan women and girls victims, who have been sexually violated in Latin American culture for 5 centuries as a 'matter of tradition.'

The silence in the face of these injustices by U.S. political leaders, in regard to discussing Guatemala's genocidal and femicidal past and present, largely because the Guatemalan perpetrators of mass-rape and mass-murder were strongly supported and funded during the 1980's and 1990's by most conservative U.S. leaders. 

This policy of silence exists in stark contra-diction to the moral values professed by Christian Conservatives, who are the strongest leaders of the modern anti-slavery movement.

This slow-motion, largely  anti-Indigenous and  misogynist femicidal massacre must be responded to  aggressively by people of moral conscience every-where, regardless of political persuasion.

Silence is also violence!

- LibertadLatina

Chuck Goolsby

January 28, 2006

See Also:

The untouchable narco-state: how
Guatemala's military defies the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

- Texas observer

Nov. 18, 2005

"Archives Of Terror" expose details of Operation Condor - In which 6 South American nations coordinated the torture and murder of their opponents.

- BBC News

June 08, 2005

The women of Rio Negro [the town of Black River], some of them pregnant, were dragged from their homes, forced to march to the top of a mountain, and there, along with their children, were raped, tortured and killed.

Ana, a survivor...

"The soldiers and (paramilitary civil defense) patrollers started grabbing the girls and raping us."

"Only two soldiers raped me because my grandmother was there to defend me. All the girls were raped."

In total, 177 women and children died that day [in 1982].


Jennifer Harbury

DEC. 11, 1997

LibertadLatina Note:

The Guatemalan Truth Commission found that this nation's military had committed over 600 similar massacres, wiping out 440 Mayan towns during the early 1980's.  These acts, for which virtually nobody has gone to jail, were the root cause of today's femicide. 

Men who learned to kidnap, rape and murder women with complete impunity during the Civil War (when 50,000 women were murdered)... continue the same pattern of activity today, in 2006.

It is time for the U.S. Government to come clean, and denounce this femicide in the strongest terms, and act with conviction to aid Guatemala in stopping these crimes against humanity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

Jan. 29, 2006

Added Jan. 28, 2006


Peasants Wounded In Confrontation With Landowners Over The Unsolved Murder Of A Farm Labor Leader.

Protesters at Nueva Linda Farm Shot and Wounded.

Injusticia y Represion en Nueva Linda.

- Guatemalan Human Rights Commission/USA

Washington, DC

Jan. 22, 2006

Added Jan. 28, 2006


Forensic Anthropologists Receive Threats For Their Work To Exhume Murder Victims

Fredy Peccerelli, head of the  Guatemalan Forensic Anthro-pology Foundation (FAFG), his brother Gianni Peccerelli, his sister Bianka Peccerelli Monterroso and brother in law Omar Giron de Leon have all received death threats in recent days.  They may be in grave danger.

Fredy Peccerelli and other members of the FAFG have been subjected to numerous death threats as a result of their work to exhume mass graves of those killed by the Guatemalan military and their civilian adjuncts in the early 1980s. In 2002 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ordered that FAFG stafff receive
police protection. However, such protection has been inadequate, and at times non-existent.

Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
- expressing grave concern for the safety of the director and staff of the FAFG.

- Guatemalan Human Rights Commission/USA

(And - Amnesty Int'l)

Jan. 13, 2006

Added Jan. 28, 2006

Chule, United States

U.S. Returns Daughter Of Chilean Ex-Dictator Agosto Pinochet to Argentina.

Washington, DC - The eldest daughter of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet has been sent back to Argentina, two days after she arrived in the United States after fleeing tax charges in Chile, a U.S. Homeland Security official said.  Shortly after withdrawing her request for political asylum in the United States, Lucia Pinochet, 60, was sent to Argentina -- the last country she was in before coming to the United States.

She and other family members were indicted Monday on charges of tax fraud, including failing to declare bank accounts overseas, and using false passports.


Jan. 28, 2006

Added Jan. 27, 2006

Guatemala, El Salvador

Central American Nations Fight Youth Gang Violence.

Guatemalan President Oscar Berger

Suman 350 muertos por violencia en Guatemala.


Guatemala's wave of violence will be hard to control, stated the nation's president, Oscar Berger in a recent speech.  According to President Berger, 350 people have been killed during January, 2006 alone.

During a recent press conference President Berger said that youth gangs (maras) are responsible for the violence.

President Berger...

"There is a declared war.  The maras are better organized [than state security].  The rivalry between gangs is causing this cruel massacre of our Guatemalan brothers.  It is very difficult to control."

According to reports by rescue squads and the National Civil Police, during the weekend of January 21-22, 2006, 21 people were murdered, most of them members of the "Mara 18" gang.

In response to the violence, President Berger is planning to create 15,000 new jobs for youth.  Government officials will also meet with leaders of the rival gangs to try to negotiate an end to the violence.

President Berger...

"Our society should respond by offering help to these youth, who's maladjustment causes such inhuman acts."

El Salvador

Conservative Salvadoran president Elías Antonio Saca recently held a press conference to announce the arrests of 9 of the 15 suspects in the January 22, 2006 murders of 7 people at a soccer match.

Gang members had ordered 6 soccer players and fans to lie on the ground, and had shot them at point blank range.  The seventh victim was a gang member, who was apparently stabbed to death by angry onlookers in reaction to the massacre.

President Saca...

"I want to say to the Salvadoran People that my fight is against this type of crime.  I have never thought to let our guard down nor declare a 'vacation' in regard to the maras.  We must continue to apply the 'Super Hard Fist' to them."

In August, 2004 the National Civil Police developed a tough policy of crack-downs and long jail sentences to fight gang violence, known as the "Super Hard Fist."

- La Opinion Digital

Los Angeles, CA

Jan. 24, 2006



Added Jan. 20, 2006

Guatemala, United States

A Haverford College Student produces an Short Online Film on the Aftermath of the Guatemalan Genocide

Closeup of a mural scene of a military massacre of women and children from the Mayan town of Comalapa.

By Ian Ramsey North

Produced by dfelsen

Film description:

 "Haverford College student Ian Ramsey North visited Guatemala to look at how the country and people are coming to grips with Guatemala's brutal past when hundreds of thousands of people were massacred during the civil war."

- Ian Ramsey North

Jan. 12, 2005

Mayan War Widows Activist Carmen Cumez


Film Summary

A short film by Haverford College student Ian Ramsey North has provided insight into how Indigenous Mayan Guatemalans are coping with the legacy of genocide in their nation.

Ramsey North interviewed Carmen Cumez, founder of the National Coordination of Guatemalan Widows (Conavigua) - who's efforts have lead to a promise by the national government to make payments of $4 million per year to victims of state violence during the civil war.  Ms. Cumez described how her husband Felipe's last words to her in 1981 were, "Good-bye forever.  Take care of the children."  Felipe was then lead away by soldiers to by murdered. 

Ms. Cumez hopes to one day locate her husband's body, "to give him a Christian burial."

Approximately 200,000 mostly Mayan victims were murdered, mostly during between 1978 and 1983.  Approximately 50,000 of those victims were women.

The work of the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG), whch works closely with Conavigua was also filmed.  An FAFG team was followed as they excavated the body of a victim who's hands were still tied behind their back.  The body was found on an abandoned military base.
Excavations around the country are continuing.

A FAFI volunteer explained forensic evidence regarding a woman victim, who was forced to her knees and was then shot in the head. Evidence of her torture was also apparent.  FAFI has found 4,000 bodies, and has identified 60% of them through teeth and clothing being recognized by family members.

Many military and political officials continue to deny the facts of the genocide in Guatemala.

Ian Ramsey North's short film accurately portrays the trauma that continues to haunt the survivors of genocide in post-war Guatemala.

- LibertadLatina

Film Summary by

Chuck Goolsby

Jan. 21, 2006

See also:

Added Jan. 22, 2006

"Over the past four decades state sponsored terror left 200,000 people dead, ...200,000 orphans, and 40,000 widows. According to the Truth Commission, the army was responsible for 626 massacres."

- Global Visionaries

Added Jan. 22, 2006

The [Guatemalan] Maya are insisting on a proper accounting of what many consider an attempted genocide by the army and its paramilitary allies. They are also claiming a place at the political table and reasserting the validity of Mayan culture and languages.

- Business Week

Jan. 15, 2001

Added Jan. 14, 2006


Mayan woman grieves during the exhumation of victims of the 1970's through 1980's genocide and femicide in Quiche province, Guatemala

Viudas de Guatemala piden dignificar a víctimas de guerra.

The National Coordination of Guatemalan Widows (Conavigua), who's members survived the Guatemalan Civil War, will initiate its 2006 activities with the exhumation of a clandestine cemetery in the Mayan town of Joyabaj, where they expect to find the remains of 15 people.  Conavigua is asking the residents of Joyabaj to attend the exhumations in solidarity with the families of those who murdered at this site.

Conavigua asks that the national and international communities join with them to pressure the Guatemalan govern-ment to address the need for justice of the victims of the mass murders that took place during the 36 year civil war.

Conavigua and demands that law enforcement act to protect the lives of its members and the families of all victims of war related mass-murder, especially women, many of who have received death threats and mistreatment from forces that oppose their work.

- CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

Jan. 12, 2005

LibertadLatina Note:

These burial sites were created by Guatemalan Army soldiers and death squads to hide the victims of mass torture, rape and murder in the 1960's to 1980's 'civil' war.  Government soldiers, police and 'death squads' murdered 200,000 mostly Mayan victims, including 50,000 women, during the civil war.

See also:

Native Guatemala -

   Femicide & Genocide

"During the last forty years, the [Guatemalan] military has been levying a campaign of terrorism and genocide against... Mayas, in order to distribute native peoples' land among plantation owners."


Book section January 1st, 2006
Books on the Guatemalan Genocide

Guatemala - Eternal Spring - Eternal Tyranny - by Jean-Marie Simon

W. W. Norton & Company (December, 1987)

From a reviewer on Amazon.com:

"I ran across a used copy of this book before my first trip to Guatemala, and it radicalized me, preparing me for the devastating effects of the country's 35-year-long civil war. While the war is officially over, this book still has relevance to the plight Guatemala's indigenous population -- 90% of its people. It is remarkable that the author -- a woman, a photographer, a human rights activist, and a foreigner -- was able to get as close to her subjects as she did. This extremely moving photo-and-text essay is not for the faint of heart, but if you want a taste of what present-day Guatemalans have lived through, this book delivers it."

LibertadLatina commentary:

I first read "Guatemala - Eternal Spring - Eternal Tyranny" in the late 1980's. 

I had worked with advocacy groups in the U.S. to protest the mass-murder, mass rape and ethnic cleaning of the Mayan majority population in Guatemala for several years.  I highly recommend this book's powerful photography and story.

The Mayan girls pictured on the cover were participating in a Mayan cultural event.  What this close-up (of a larger picture shown within the book) does not show is the rows of heavily armed Guatemalan soldiers who lined the road that these girls walked on, grinning with their perverse smiles.

The Guatemalan military forces targeted almost all Mayan girls over the age of 7 for rape during the 1980's (see the below accounts).

In this book, author Jean-Marie Simon writes in this book that Guatemalan military cadets were REQUIRED, when going on leave in the capitol (Guatemala City) to bring back a woman's used underpants.  That is, these army officer corps cadets were encouraged by their superiors to commit rape while on leave.

- Chuck Goolsby

January 1st, 2006

Orbis Books releases English version of report on Guatemalan atrocities
By Barb Fraze - Catholic News Service(CNS)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Orbis Books has released its English translation of last year's church-produced report documenting atrocities during Guatemala's civil war.

``This book is like a Holocaust Museum for the people of Guatemala,'' said Michael Leach, executive director of Orbis Books. At a Washington press conference Oct. 26, Leach said the book, "Guatemala: Never Again!'' documented ``a war of genocide against the Mayan people.'' The one-volume English translation is taken from four volumes issued by the Archdiocese of Guatemala human rights office's Recovery of the Historical Memory Project.

``We don't expect `Guatemala: Never Again!' to be a best seller,'' Leach told reporters gathered at the Longworth House Office Building. ``It wasn't written by Stephen King, but it's more horrible than anything he could write.'' The book, published in cooperation with the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, was abridged from the original Spanish and addresses the suffering of the population, how repression functioned, the consequences of repression, and demands for the future. It documents more than 400 massacres, thousands of murders, rapes and cases of torture.

The book is based on information gathered during the historical memory project. It is based on interviews with survivors, witnesses and even perpetrators of the abuses, most of which were carried out by the Guatemalan military. Roberto Cabrera, who coordinated the historical memory project, said that although ``presenting a work of literature is something that often is a work of joy,'' for his colleagues presenting ``Guatemala: Never again!'' was ``a moment of reclaiming the rights of the victims of Guatemala.'' One victim, Adriana Portillo-Bartow, who now lives in Chicago, told reporters at the press conference that her father, stepmother, sister-in-law, baby sister and two daughters were kidnapped and disappeared in 1981. Portillo-Barlow said that in 1997 she told her story to the archdiocesan project and to Guatemala's Historical Clarification Committee. ``I was in pain, and I was in fear, because I grew up in fear,'' Portillo-Barlow said, describing her testimony. ``Impunity runs rampant in my country,'' she said.

The former coordinator of the archdiocesan human rights office, the late Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera of Guatemala City, issued the four Spanish volumes of ``Guatemala: Never Again!'' April 24, 1998, two days before he was bludgeoned to death outside his parish home.

Two prosecutors and a judge have resigned from the murder case, which remains unresolved. Bishop Gerardi's successor as head of the human rights office, Auxiliary Bishop Mario Enrique Rios Mont of Guatemala City, said the bishop's murder and other crimes will not be solved until there is ``absolute independence for this work'' and ``security for those involved.''

After the press conference, Bishop Rios told Catholic News Service that to resolve the case, Guatemala needed ``independence of the different powers in government.'' He said that with publication of ``Guatemala: Never Again!'' he hoped ``the entire world will become familiar with our reality.'' However, he added that he was ``a little fearful of what will happen'' now that the book has been released in English. ``Every action that we take always has its consequences,'' he said.

Adriana Portillo-Bartow is Director of the "Where Are the Children" project, which seeks to discover the whereabouts of Guatemalan children who disappeared during the war. In 1981, Portillo-Bartow's father, sister and two young daughters vanished without a trace.


Books on the Guatemalan genocide available from Amazon.com:

Resources from LANIC -Latin American Network Information Center - University of Texas, USA (Added here January 1, 2005)

Added Dec. 25, 2005

Bolivia, Guatemala and the 'Native Americas'

Bolivia's president-elect: Evo Morales

LibertadLatina commentary:

We, the 80 million Native peoples of the Americas have, since the European conquest 500 years ago, never had the right to govern ourselves.  Democracy has not existed, and in most countries Native people are seen as a justifiably exploitable group of inferior second class citizens.  The impunity that Native women face across the region is at the heart of much of today's crisis of mass sexual exploitation & slavery.

In Mayan Guatemala, for example, there had never been even one decade, between 1522 and 1992, without a massacre. 

Over 50,000 mostly Mayan women were murdered (out of a total of 200,000 such victims), and most Mayan girls were raped, by government forces in Guatemala during the 1970's and 1980s 'civil' war, with U.S. military support.

I personally know victims of this genocide, and I worked actively to stop it during the 1970's and 1980's.

The wife of one of the perpetrators (who now traffics in women and underage girls from Guatemala to the U.S.), told me that her husband, a former member of the presidential guard [which doubled as the government death squad], said to her:

"Me daba lastima tener que malograr a las mujers"

(I felt bad to have to damage the women [that is, kidnap, rape, torture and murder innocent women by the hundreds]).  

(This murder's grand-father, a white land-owner, would go out and 'shoot a few Mayans' in the village at the edge of his ranch lands when-ever he got mad and wanted to let off some steam.  Such is the power of impunity in racist Guatemala.)

Unlike the cases of mass-rape and murder in Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda, no World Court ever took action in the case of the 1980's genocide in Guatemala, and nobody ever went to jail, as if these Native lives were explicitly less human and thus not deserving of justice.

The current crisis of femicide in Guatemala, which claimed more than 500 female lives in 2005 (which murders are rarely investigated), is a direct outgrowth of the government's past use of femicide and mass-rape as tools of state terrorism aimed at preventing the Mayan majority from exercising their political rights.

Guatemala's population is 60% Mayan.

Bolivian Teens rescued from prostitution.

Bolivia is even more heavily indigenous than Guatemala.  Although Bolivia has avoided genocidal massacres, labor and social protesters, such as those in the Christmas Massacre in 1996, and the Cochabamba Water Revolt in 1998-2003, have routinely been killed in confrontations with authorities. 

Like Guatemala, Bolivia has not allowed the Indigenous majority to rule for over 400 years.

About 85% of Bolivia is of Native ancestry, with 55% being purely Aymara or Quechua, descendents of the empire of the Inca.  Bolivians deserve self determination, and their democratic process has provided that, finally, to them.

President Morales is joined in his unique status by his neighbor, Peru's president, Quechua tribal member Alejandro Toledo, who describes himself as the first Native president in the Americas in last 500 years.

We encourage President Morales to accelerate Bolivia's efforts to expand opportunities for women and girls, and to remove machismo, sexual exploitation and trafficking as dangers to women's lives.  Campesino liberation must mean women & girl's liberation too.

We fully expect that, despite disagreements with President Morales' views, the Western Powers will respect democracy and Native political self determination. 

We will not tolerate violations of our basic human rights of self determination and human dignity!  Five hundred years of disenfranchise-ment, racial genocide and femicide is enough!

- Chuck Goolsby

Dec. 25 - Jan. 1, 2005

Added Dec. 18, 2005

Guatemala, Peru, Argentina

Guatemala - For the first time DNA testing will be used on a broad scale to help solve the [mass] murders that took place during the "dirty wars" in Central and South America.

The researchers at the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala hope the testing will provide key pieces of evidence needed to punish those responsible for massacres during the armed conflict there, that claimed some 200,000 lives.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has ear-marked $3 million for DNA analysis of skeletons exhumed from clandestine grave sites in Guatemala, Argentina and Peru.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont who spearheaded the effort to fund the DNA testing...

"This is important for the families of those who were killed or disappeared, as well as for the cause of international justice."

"By exposing the truth about what happened we can help prevent future atrocities."

Many of the dead were massacred in [Mayan] villages. The majority were victims of government forces according to the country's Truth Commission report, which was released after the war ended with U.N.-brokered peace accord in 1996.

Fredy Peccerelli, the director of the Forensic Anthro-pology Foundation of Guatemala has received death threats because of his work.  He hopes the new genetic testing initiative will lead to more rigorous investigation of crimes past and present [that is, femicide] in a nation with one of the highest murder rates in Central America.


"Only about 5 percent of homicide investigations in Guatemala use scientific evidence.  I hope this begins to show prosecutors and judges that to catch those responsible, we now have better tools."

- Reuters

Dec. 14, 2005

Added Dec. 04, 2005

Femicide in Guatemala

Photo: BBC, UK


“¡Cuidado: zona de peligro para las mujeres!”

 En Guatemala, cuando cientos de activistas iniciaban una marcha de protesta contra la violencia sexista, en el marco del Día Internacional “No Más Violencia Contra las Mujeres”, apareció el cuerpo de una mujer asesinada. Las organizaciones de mujeres han reprobado a las instituciones de justicia, acusándolas de ser cómplices de estos asesinatos.

“Warning! Danger Zone for Women!”

 In Guatemala, when hundreds of activists initiated a protest march against sexist violence, to mark the International Day Against Gender Violence, the body of yet another woman victim appeared. 

Women's groups have reproached the criminal justice system, accusing them of being accomplices in these murders.

According to women's networks, 580 women have been murdered in [the first 11 months of] 2005.  The government puts the figure at 474 victims.

Police Impunity

An investigation conducted by the  Guatemalan Institute for Comparative Penal Sciences, in collaboration with international organizations, studied the cases of 154 women in Santa Teresa Prison, which houses 90% of all female inmates in Guatemala.

The study found that 99% of the women interviewed had been raped, sexually harassed and/or tortured by officers of the National Civil Police (PNC).  

Some 84% of these women were detained without an arrest warrant, according to Lucía Morán, coordinator of the study.

More information on this penal study is available from Lucía  Moran via e-mail at: moranvas@hotmail.com.

- MujeresHoy.com

Dec. 01, 2005

The 'femicide' murder rate in Guatemala is 10 times higher than the rate of femicide murders in the Mexican border city of Juarez. 

Government apathy, and police / military participation in rape, torture and Femicide began during the Guatemalan Civil War in the 1980's, when approximately 50,000 of the 200,000 civilian victims of state condoned murders were women.  Most Mayan girls over age  7 were raped by government forces.

Today's violence is an aftermath to the 1980's anti-Mayan genocide / femicide.

Amnesty International on the 1980's civil war:

"Guatemalan women, some of them pregnant & many of them indigenous, were subjected to a horrifying range of human rights violations by the Guatemalan police and army."

"One woman who was detained for almost a month in an army base in Rabinal, told ...how she was raped over 300 times in front of her father who had been tied up and held in the same room."


Photo: Reuters

Sección Especial de Nóticias Sobre el Disastre del Huracán Stan.

Special Section on Hurricane Stan Disaster News

October, 2005

Guatemala, El Salvador, Southern Mexico

Early October, 2005

Recent floods from Hurricane Stan, a level 5.8 earthquake and a volcanic eruption have disrupted the lives of over 2 million people in Central America and Mexico.

Indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico and in Guatemala have been especially hard-hit by the effects of Hurricane Stan.

They need our help today!


Stan Aftermath:

A man carries his daughter, who died from a lack of medical attention.

Photo: AP

  Guatemalan Mayan woman leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu, who has been appointed as Guatemala's Goodwill Ambassador by President Oscar Berger, has just finished a tour of the United States.

She spoke seriously about the genocide that occurred there in the 1980s leaving 200,000 dead and many more tortured, raped, homeless, orphaned or illegally imprisoned.

Now, Guatemalans are coming together in a new time of tragedy, as torrential rains and flooding connected to Hurricane Stan have caused devastating mudslides throughout the country.

- University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Post

Oct. 19, 2005

See also:

Menchú: Society is ailing - Rigoberta Menchu speaks at Cosumnes River College.

Sacramento Bee California

Oct. 22, 2005

Guatemala's government failed to plan for Stan floods.  Also, Guatemala's Army was barred from providing rescue aid by Mayan residents of the mudslide affected town of Panabaj, which suffered massacres during the 1980's anti-Mayan genocide.

 - AlertNet.org

Oct. 17, 2005

See also:

A Guatemalan Indian community, haunted by a government-sponsored massacre during the country's brutal civil war, refused soldiers' help in recovering those killed in a week of flooding and mudslides and conducted its own searches instead.

 - Associated press

Oct. 10, 2005

Nils Kastberg, director regional para América Latina y el Caribe del Fondo de Naciones Unidas para la Infancia (UNICEF), visitó varias zonas devastadas por el Huaracán Stan en Guatemala.

Nils Kastberg, Latin American and Caribbean representative for UNICEF, visited areas of Guatemala affected by Hurricane Stan.  Kastberg emphasized the importance of providing psycho-social services to children, who after Stan are extremely vulnerable.

 - PrensaLatina.com

Oct. 17, 2005

Disease threatens survivors of Guatemala mudslide.

 - Reuters

Oct. 16, 2005

La mitad de los damnificados que dejó el huracán Stan en su paso por Guatemala son niños.

Half of those left homeless and in need by Hurricane Stan in Guatemala are children.

 - BBCMundo.com

Oct. 15, 2005

Las lluvias dejaron 1,200 huérfanos.

1,200 children have had one or both parents killed as a result of Hurricane Stan.

 - ElSalvador.com

Oct. 15, 2005

Food crisis feared in rain-battered Guatemala.

  - Reuters
October 13, 2005

Casa Alianza rescues a young Guatemalan girl twice: first from sexual exploitation and then from the dangers of Hurricane Stan.

Casa Alianza:

"This situation is expected to worsen the problems of crime and violence in Guatemala.

...As is always the case, the most vulnerable population is children."

  - Casa Alianza
October 13, 2005

See Also:



More Impunity!


Two Indigenous Children Grieve Upon Learning of Their Mother's Murder. 

Guatemala's population is 60% Mayan.

Added Sep. 21 2005

Se incrementa feminicidio en Guatemala.

Femicide Continues to Rise in Guatemala.

The latest statistics regarding the femicide in Guatemala indicate that as of September, 2005, the female murder rate jumped 26.3% from 2004 levels.

From January to September of 2004, 336 women were murdered.  During the same period in 2005, the figure was 458 victims killed.

Andrea Barrios, of the Center for Legal Action in Human Rights (CALDH) said:

"The state has not provided an environment of safety for women, which is reflected in these high rates of murder."

Soraya Long, the director of The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) indicated that 'it is important that women's rights groups keep up the pressure on the Guatemalan government, which has been dismissive of the issue of femicide.'


"Impunity in government entities has caused the Citizenry to loose faith in the system of justice."

Hilda Morales, ambassador of conscience of Amnesty International stated:

"The indifference of the state in the face of this outrage defiles the memory of the victims and affects the dignity of their families, who have to face the corruption of government agencies when they seek justice."

According to monitoring of press reports on murders by the Cerigua agency, femicide victims are most often shot, and they are typically between 18 & 40 years old.

- CimacNoticias

Sep.14, 2005

Added Sep. 17 2005

Foto - Paco Rodríguez-VDG

Diputada Guatemalteca denuncia situación de la mujer.

Galicia ['Spain'] - During a Sep. 13, 2005 visit to the headquarters of the Galician National Block (BNC), Guatemalan Congressional Deputy Alba Maldonado denounced conditions for women across Latin America.

Since 1960 Deputy Maldonado has been an leader in activism against murder and for human rights.

Accompanied by Ana Miranda, European spokes-person for the BNC, Deputy Maldonado stated that between 2001 and August 15, 2005, 1,897 women have been murdered in Guatemala. Only 5 cases had been resolved by the government.  According to the National Police, 436 women have been murdered to date [in the first 9 months] of 2005.

Maldonado explained the historical context of the problem:

"We freed our-selves of a [civil]war that lasted 36 years; the peace accords were never honored by the government; nobody [human rights violators] ever went to trial; and we continue with the 'culture of death' - which is reflected by these statistics."

Maldonado went on to state that there are differences in how women and men are murdered in Guatemala:

"Women are murdered after being tortured, dismembered, and, of course, raped."

Maldonado's political party, the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity attributes weak government investigations to the continuing wave of impunity.

On September 15 Deputy Maldonado presented a complaint against the Guatemalan government's inaction to a meeting of Spain's parliament in Madrid.  Its essence:

"It isn't logical that, in a nation of 12 million inhabitants, 2 million are armed."

LibertadLatina Note:

Deputy Alba Maldonado's analysis is a 100% accurate description of the root causes of a femicide that today causes 10 times more deaths of women than the Juarez, Mexico femicide crisis.

See Also:

Juarez Femicide

Added Oct. 15, 2005

Published June 17, 2005

Niñas continuan siendo víctimas de Explotación Sexual.  Casa Alianza: Esta vez fueron rescatadas dos niñas Guatemaltecas y una Hondureña, en un bar en la zona 12 de la ciudad de Guatemala.

(Thre young girls are rescued by Casa Alianza from a bar/brothel in Guatemala City.)


June 20 2005


 A 16 Year Old Mayan Girl from Guatemala, Previously Freed  by Police From 'Coyotes' (People Smugglers) Who Had Kidnapped Her... Hung Herself at Her Family Home in Boynton Beach. She Could Not Stand Her  'Torment,' Which She Had Not Shared with Family Members.

June 20 2005


 A Coast Guard Patrol Detained 17 Female and 65 Male Migrants from Ecuador.  182 Ecuadorian Migrants Have been Intercepted in Guatemalan Waters in 2005.

Stories From the NBC/ Telemundo TV Network Program 'Al Rojo Vivo.'

Added June 10, 2005

 "In Guatemala, a small country not long emerged from three decades of civil war, women and girls are being murdered faster than anyone in authority can cope."

"Deborah Tomas Vineda, aged 16, was kidnapped, raped, and cut to pieces with a chainsaw, allegedly because she refused to become the girlfriend of a local gang member.

Her sister Olga, just 11 years old, died alongside her.

The raped and mutilated body of Andrea Contreras Bacaro, 17, was found wrapped in a plastic bag and thrown into a ditch, her throat cut, her face and hands slashed, with a gunshot wound to the head.

The word "vengeance" had been gouged into her thigh.

Sandra Palma Godoy, 17, said to have witnessed a killing in her home town, was missing for a week before her decomposing body was found next to a local football pitch.

Her breasts, eyes and heart had been mutilated, reports said."

- BBC News


Added June 10, 2005

Also from BBC News:

 Timeline: Guatemala
12 Mar 2005

Added June 10, 2005

 "We have the right to a life without Violence!" - Femicide in Guatemala.

Added March 19, 2005

Human Rights Defender Sara Poroj and staff of the human rights organization Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM), Group of Mutual Support have been intimidated and threatened to stop work to exhume secret mass graves of victims of 699 anti-Mayan massacres during the 1980s to 1990s Civil War.

Added February 9, 2005

Guatemalan Human Rights Commission

Begins "Defend Women's Right to Live!" Campaign

A March 6-14, 2005 U.S. based delegation is being formed to Demand that Guatemala's Government end the murder of women with Impunity! 

Over 1,200 women have been murdered Since 2001.

In 2004, 527 women were killed, (a 28% Increase).

Massacre at Acteal

Commemorating the 7th Anniversary of the Murder of 45 Mayan Women, Children and Men in Chiapas, Mexico.

Added Jan. 30, 2006

February 2004 - Guatemala's new conservative president apologizes for wartime deaths February

Guatemala City - Guatemala's new president asked forgiveness on Wednesday for the state's role in the country's long civil war, but stopped short of calling the widespread wartime killings of Mayan Indians genocide. Oscar Berger, who took office last month, said he was asking forgiveness from "every one of the victims' relatives for the suffering that came from that fratricidal conflict." About 200 000 people were killed in Guatemala's 36-year civil war, which pitted Marxist guerrillas against a series of right-wing governments and ended with peace accords in 1996. Most of the victims were Mayan Indian peasants, many killed in massacres during army or paramilitary sweeps through rural areas.Berger, a conservative businessman, pledged $9-million to compensate civilians who lost relatives and property in the conflict. He said the amount was "important but insufficient" and promised more funds when state finances were more stable. Berger made his comments at a ceremony in the national palace on the fifth anniversary of a UN-backed "truth commission" report that concluded the army targeted Maya Indians in "scorched-earth" tactics to isolate rebel groups.

Hundreds of civil war survivors demonstrated in the streets outside the palace on Wednesday to demand the government accept the truth commission's conclusion the civilian deaths amounted to genocide. "It is impossible to re-launch the peace agreements without taking into account the truth commission recommendations, including justice for genocide," said Christina Laur, deputy director of the rights group Caldh. The Caldh group is leading efforts to build criminal cases against senior military officers, including former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, for crimes against humanity.

The new government's head of security and defense, Otto Perez Molina, himself a retired general, denied genocide had taken place in Guatemala. "There was no genocide because there was no attempt to exterminate a race. This was a battleground for the United States and Russia, and communism against capitalism. We provided the dead and they provided the ideology," he said.

- Reuters

Feb. 23, 2004

December 6, 2003

Murder wave targets Guatemalan women, girls

A huge bundle of official papers sits on the desk of Sandra Zayas, a criminal investigator in Guatemala City.

...These documents tell the story of a wave of brutal and sadistic murders which is terrifying Guatemala's female population.

Since 2001, more than 700 women and young girls have been killed in apparently motiveless attacks. So far this year more than 250 bodies have been found.... Despite making a number of arrests, police have been unable to stop the killings.


Forensic Anthropologists Threatened in Guatemala.

- The American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Mar. 21, 2002

2 - Special Coverage of Guatemala

Indigenous Women and children in Guatemala  experienced one of the most horrendous acts of genocide in the modern Americas during the 1970s and 1980s.

Guatemala, and its leading Mayan human Rights advocate Rigoberta Menchu Tum today continue to face anti-indigenous repression.

Rigoberta Menchu   

Guatemala - September 5, 2003

Mayan Nobel Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchu intimidated and attacked in Guatemala.

Dear Activist,

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum and her relative, Francisco Menchu, who works for the human rights group the Rigoberta Menchu Tum Foundation (FRMT) in Guatemala, have been intimidated and attacked. Amnesty International is concerned for all staff at the Foundation in the capital, Guatemala City.

The FRMT, which works for the protection of human rights and the rights of indigenous people, was established by Rigoberta Menchu Tum after she won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1992. The FRMT has been working since December 1999 to prosecute a number of former Guatemalan officials for genocide and other crimes against humanity. As a result of its human rights work, the FRMT has constantly experienced serious persecution and harassment.

More information is available at: http://www.amnestyusa.org

Added on December 11, 2004

Information on this harassment campaign In Spanish:

Human Rights Organizations Express Support for Ms. Rigoberta Menchu Tum. 

La señora Menchú Tum recibió insultos, amenazas, empujones y escupitajos, sin que agentes de la Policía Nacional Civil, apostados en el interior de la CC, hicieran nada por controlar a los agresores. Al igual que en otras ocasiones, la pasividad de las fuerzas de seguridad fue cómplice de los atacantes en una situación que pudo haber tenido consecuencias trágicas.


These materials added on December 18, 2004


  Lat Guatemala Murders Prey on Women 12-06-2003.htm


These materials added on December 11, 2004


Campana Nacional Contra la Discriminacion y el Racismo en Guatemala (National Camapign Against Racism in Guatemala - in Spanish).

Human rights groups protest anti-indigenous discrimination in Guatemala.  A K'iche Mayan Woman, Ms. Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj was denied entry-to and service-at a Guatemala City Restaurant on June 5, 2002.

En Español

Denuncia Publica Nacional e Internacional - NO AL RACISMO y la Discriminacion.

Read about the life of Rigoberta Menchu.

Native Indians in Guatemala had no rights of citizenship, which were restricted to people of Spanish descent and were, therefore, vulnerable to abuses by those in power. When the military-led government and the wealthy plantation owners started taking Indian-occupied lands by force, Rigoberta's father, Vincente, became a leader in the peasant movement opposing this action. He began a series of petitions and then, protests, to secure these lands for the indigenous people who had been living on them until now. He was arrested and imprisoned many times for his activities.

In 1979, Rigoberta's sixteen-year-old brother, Petrocinio, was kidnapped by soldiers, tortured and burned alive while his family watched. In 1980, Vincente, along with thirty-eight other Indian leaders, died in a fire at the Spanish embassy, while protesting violations of Indian human rights abuses. Rigoberta's mother, also a leader in her community and a healer, was kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed the following year.

Rigoberta was likewise active in her father's movement, the United Peasant Committee. She was wanted by the Guatemalan government, but after her mother's death, she fled to Mexico. While in Mexico, she dictated her autobiography, I...Rigoberta Menchu (1984), telling the world not only her own story, but also about the lives of her fellow Indians.

In 1992, Rigoberta Menchu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She used the $1.2 million cash prize to set up a foundation in her father's name to continue the fight for human rights of the indigenous people. Due to her effort, the United Nations declared 1993 the International Year for Indigenous Populations.

Background on Rigoberta Menchu and the anti-Mayan genocide that took place in Guatemala in the late 1970's and throughout the 1980's.

The following excerpt from Jorge Rogachevsky's review of Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of
All Poor Guatemalans
effectively rebuts, in our opinion, the widespread criticism-of and efforts to discredit the work of Rigoberta Menchu.

During the early 1980's I read dozens of accurate news reports for a local radio news program in Washington, DC regarding the repeated massacres of entire villages of Mayan peoples in Guatemala.  A total of 440 Mayan villages and towns were completely destroyed by Guatemala's armed forces in an ethnically motivated genocidal  war against the 60% majority Mayan population.  I also participated in numerous demonstrations before the U.S. Congress demanding an end to the genocide.  Congress did finally vote an aid cutoff.

Rigoberta Menchu's activism, her writings and her receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize were pivotal to bringing world attention to bear on the mass-rape and mass-murder with impunity of over 100,000 Mayan people based solely upon their ethnicity.

This act of ethnic cleansing has never been held to account in the world's legal systems.  Rigoberta Menchu and her foundation are working constantly to demand that the war criminals involved be brought to justice.  Rigoberta Menchu and her staff are subjected to constant threats and attacks as a result of their ongoing demands for justice.

We at LibertadLatina.org unequivocally support the important work of Rigoberta Menchu, 100%.

- Chuck Goolsby

"For the United States, it is important that I state clearly that the support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression ... was wrong." 

President Bill Clinton

March 10, 1999

Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of
All Poor Guatemalans

By David Stoll Westview Press; 336 pp.
Review by Jorge Rogachevsky

Jorge Rogachevsky teaches Spanish and
Latin America Studies at St. Mary's College
of Maryland, and has published numerous
essays on Central American and Caribbean
writers. During 1993-94 he was a Fulbright
Fellow in Guatemala.

...What then should be made of Stoll's account?
First, let me say that I strongly urge people to
read Stoll's book since it raises challenges that
anyone concerned about the development of
truly representative societies in Latin America
needs to consider. A word of caution: The level
of detail that Stoll engages in creates a maze of
information that will no doubt overwhelm any
reader who is not well versed in the vicissitudes
of recent Guatemalan history. This could have
the unhappy result of generating a knee jerk
embrace or rejection of Stoll's account not on
the basis of understanding the issues involved,
but rather on the basis of personal prejudice.

With this in mind, the present review hopes to
make a contribution to the debate by
responding in order to the five elements of
Stoll's critique.

First, to Stoll's claims of biographical inaccuracy
in the Menchu text, one can respond simply, "So
what?" Perhaps the English language title is
misleading to some readers. The Menchu text is
not an autobiography; it is a testimony, which is
an established genre within Latin American letters.
The testimonial text uses the image of a prototypic
person in order to convey an experience
characteristic of a major social group that is
marginalized by a dominant group. At the beginning of the Menchu text we read the evocation of a characteristic testimonial subject, "My story is the story of all poor Guatemalans. My personal experience is the reality of a whole people" (Burgos-Debray, Verso, 1984, 1). It is from these lines that Stoll derives the title to his book. The testimonio does not depend primarily on
biographical accuracy, but rather on the
authenticity of its constructed subject. Does the
Menchu text construct an authentic subject?
According to Stoll, it does: "There is no doubt
about the most important points: that a dictatorship massacred thousands of indigenous peasants, that the victims included half of Rigoberta's immediate family, that she fled to Mexico to save her life, and that she joined a revolutionary movement to liberate her country. On these points, Rigoberta's account is beyond challenge and deserves the attention it

In this regard it is not that important if Rigoberta
was illiterate and did not speak Spanish, because in fact the great majority of Indian women living in
villages in Guatemala are illiterate and at best speak a few words of Spanish. Is it really critical if
Rigoberta's brother was burnt to death by the
Guatemalan army, as her text indicates, or whether his body was burnt after he had been shot dead by the same army, as some of Stoll's informants claim?

I am personally not troubled by the possible
"inaccuracy" here; having carried out many interviews in the Ixcan region of Guatemala, according to my informants the practice of burning people alive--often whole groups of people crowded into churches or community halls was far from uncommon on the pelt of the Guatemalan army. Regarding this there are also ample published materials. Stoll's second argument is more troubling. According to him the image of land hungry peasants struggling with lading
landowners to keep hold of a piece of land to eke
out a meager existence is not accurate. To challenge this notion Stoll analyzes the land struggles that Rigoberta Menchu's father, Vicente Menchu, had been involved in before his untimely death during an occupation of the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala City in 1980. According to Stoll, Vicente Menchu is not a destitute landless peasant who must send his family to work in sugar plantations on the coast and who dies because of his struggles against lading landowning oligarchs. Instead, we see an image of Menchu as an entrepreneurial farmer whose main conflicts are with other Indians, in particular members of his wife's extended family, and who dies because he was protesting the disappearance of his son, Petrocinio.

...If it is true that the Guatemalan civil war was, in
terms of human lives, a tremendously costly historical process; if it is true that the guerrilla movement must bear some of the responsibility for the horrors of this period; if it is furthermore true that the insurrectional victory that the left was hoping to achieve in the early 1980s did not come about; it is still no less true that the civil war has led to the opening up of a political space for the majority of Guatemalans to assert themselves in ways that were unthinkable throughout the entire previous history of that country. In this process Rigoberta Menchu Tum has played a very
significant role as a spokesperson for the indigenous community. If we wished to adduce first causes for the recent genocidal experience in Guatemala (always a dangerous exercise) it seems more than curious that according to Stoll this first cause should be laid at the feet of the revolutionary left in Latin America. It seems
much more appropriate, especially since Stoll's
account emanates from the U.S., to indict the U.S. for the overthrow of a left liberal reformist government in Guatemala in 1954. And this is not, as many would claim, ancient history. It happened within my own and Stoll's lifetime. Neither does it suffice, as some might attempt, to apologetically intone that mistakes were made, but that was in the past (think more recently of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama). The result of U.S.
policy towards Latin America has been and continues to be a lengthy catalogue of atrocities. 

Those of us who make our living studying and explaining Latin America from within U.S. academe should at least have the small courage to bring this particular message home in a way that hopefully at some point may make a difference for all of those who have suffered and died in significant measure because of U.S. support--
overt and clandestine--of murderous regimes
throughout Latin America.

The systematic rape of indigenous Mayan women and girls during Guatemala's 1980's Civil War

Indigenous Guatemala -- 1997 article -- Fifteen years ago, the women of Rio Negro [the town of Black River], some of them pregnant, were dragged from their homes, forced to march to the top of a mountain, and there, along with their children, were raped, tortured and killed.

"The soldiers and the (paramilitary civil defense) patrollers started grabbing the girls and raping us," recalls Ana, one of a handful of survivors of the massacre. "Only two soldiers raped me because my grandmother was there to defend me. All the girls were raped."

In total, 177 women and children died that day. The village, one of the most far flung of Rabinal municipality in Baja Verapaz province [Guatemala], disappeared.

From: CERIGUA Weekly Briefs,, No. 48, DEC. 11, 1997 By: Jennifer Harbury


Indigenous Guatemala -- 1998 article -- An award winning Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio news article on the Rio Negro massacre in Guatemala.

Jesus Curozori is 26 years old - dark, short and slim, with blue jeans and Reebok running shoes. The widows speak to him with a respect not merited by his years. That’s because Jesus Curozori is a survivor of a massacre. It also happened 16 years ago, in the nearby hamlet of Rio Negro.

  • CLIP: (Jesus) They went house to house and tied up all the women. Then they made us walk up the mountain. There were 70 women and 107 children. The army hit the women and they hit me as well while I was trying to carry my baby brother.... At the top of the hill, the civil patrollers started to rape the young girls. Then they began to kill the women. At first they didn’t let us see what was happening - they made us keep our face to the ground. But we heard when the women were choking (pause). Anyone who tried to run away, they shot with pistols.

  • CLIP: (La Rue) Often times people today still feel we exaggerate out stories - it happened with the Holocaust in the Second World War - people say they are exaggerations. It takes a witness. And I think Jesus’ testimony brings it very clearly to blood and flesh.

  • CLIP: (Jesus) My small brother needed to go to the bathroom. So we went into the bush. That’s when I ran into a soldier raping a young girl. So the soldier yelled at me "go back right now". When we came out of the bush I came out right where a civil patroller was killing a women. He took his machete and struck twice on her back. And then he cut the woman’s throat.

Casa-Alianza's work with Guatemalan massacre victims

Bruce Harris' Casa-Alianza is among the organizations working even now, 20 years after the fact, to reunite family members who were kidnapped or otherwise displaced when the mass rapes and mass murders took place against indigenous Guatemalans.

From Casa-Alianza: Guatemala: Interview with Adriana Portillo Barto.


The daughters of Adriana Portillo Barto were kidnapped and "disappeared" by Guatemalan security forces in 1981, they were just 9 and 10 years old. Adriana recently returned to Guatemala in order to continue her search for her children whose lives she hopes were spared by the authorities.

From: The 2002 Global Report on Gender Violence of the Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium: http://www.rhrc.org/resources/gbv/gbvlamerica.pdf

Women in Guatemala lived under a pervasive threat of sexual violence during the country's long civil war.  Sexual violence was commonly used by counterinsurgency forces during the 1980s: women were kidnapped, tortured, and raped by the military.  A 1982 study cited by researcher Virginia Rich found that the overwhelming fear of most female Guatemalan refugees was that of being raped.  Perpetrators acted with relative impunity, committing sexual assaults that were so widespread in the highland [mountain] combat zones one local official commented that it would be difficult to find a Maya girl of eleven to fifteen who had not been raped."


President Bill Clinton

CNN - Facing anti-U.S. protests over deportations, President Clinton admitted Wednesday to Guatemalans that U.S. support for "widespread repression" in their bloody 36-year civil war was a mistake.

"For the United States, it is important that I state clearly that the support for military forces or intelligence units which engaged in violent and widespread repression ... was wrong," Clinton said as he began a round-table discussion on Guatemala's search for peace.

"The United States must not repeat that mistake. We must and we will instead continue to support the peace and reconciliation process in Guatemala," he said on the third day of a Central American tour.

CNN report - Clinton says U.S. did wrong in Central American Wars - March 10, 1999


Indigenous Guatemala -- 2002 -- Tens of thousands of women and girls, many of them indigenous Mayans, face persistent discrimination and other abuses working in Guatemala's export sector and as maids and servants in private homes, according to a report released... by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

[They] often suffer sexual harassment and even assaults, said the report, which cites the cases of 29 domestic workers, of whom one third said they had been harassed sexually during their work. Mayan girls and women are particularly susceptible to verbal and emotional abuse, even from children, as a result of the racism that pervades much of Guatemala's non-Indian, or ladino, population, according to the report. 

Guatemalan Women Face Discrimination and Abuse in Job Market Feb 12, 2002 - Jim Lobe,OneWorld US


Sexual harassment of domestic workers, especially indigenous workers, has been identified as a "widespread phenomenon" throughout Latin America.

..."The men of the house appropriated the bodies of these women, and this continues in the present day," according to Amanda Pop Bol, a psychologist and researcher.

[Note: This exploitation also targets Latina and especially indigenous Latina domestics across the United States.



  Women and girls in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
 View Amnesty International's Guatemala Issues Page
  Back to Index





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Key new special sections
About the crisis of forced prostitution of minor girls and young women in the largest center for organized sex trafficking in Mexico: Tlaxcala state.

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Added Oct. 09, 2011

The Indigenous Americas



Chuck Goolsby

A Call to Action

During the past ten years the Libertad Latina project has called attention to the crisis of large scale sexual exploitation and trafficking that continually plagues Latin America, the Caribbean and indigenous and African descendent peoples from across the Americas.

One of our core focus areas has been to highlight the fact that indigenous children and women are uniquely targeted by criminal sex traffickers and rapists within the larger societies that they live in. This occurs in Latin America, the United States and in Canada. The documentary evidence for this proposition may be found in the archives of our publication.

Historically, indigenous children and women have been sexually exploited by men of the dominant society. Those abuses occurred 500 years ago across the Americas, and they occur today.

Within the United States, women and girls from the indigenous population suffer 3.5 times the rate of sexual assaults compared to other groups of women in this society. Some 80% of the perpetrators in those cases are white U.S. men. They often get away with their crimes without being prosecuted.

In Canada, 90% of children in prostitution are of indigenous (first nations) ethnicities, which is a direct result of the condoned sexual abuse of native children at the hands of priests and others in the nation's now-closed mandatory native  boarding school system.

The figures for abuse in Latin America are many times higher, by comparions, given that governments and civil society have no need to hide their continuing racial hostility toward first inhabitants.
The most highly concentrated waves of atrocities against Latin American indigenous women have occurred during the past 30 years. They include::
1) six wars in Central America that entangled indigenous communities, leading in the most horrific case to the deaths of 50,000 mostly Mayan women in Guatemala and the rape of almost all Mayan women and girls of any age during the 1970s and 1980s;
2) Peruvian abuses during the 1990s, when former president Alberto Fujimori authorized the  sterilizations of 300,000 indigenous women without their consent - unethical acts that were carried out by medical doctors during childbirth procedures;
3) the present-day mass kidnapping and enslavement of indigenous girls and women, as well as socially condoned domestic and agricultural labor servitude (peonage) with impunity in modern Mexico.

Our project has written essays for years calling for an end to these mass violations of basic human rights.

During our nearly 11 years of existence, we have insisted that the anti trafficking ‘movement’ and government agencies such as the U.S. State Department end the almost deliberate denial of the existence of the mass sex trafficking crisis in Latin America, the Caribbean and in indigenous communities across the Americas.

Only during 2011 have we seen evidence that U.S. government policy and Mexican government action is placing more emphasis on the crisis in the region. The important role of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in bringing about that change is also to be saluted.

Recently, prominent publications in Mexico have highlighted concerns raised by activists in Mexico and Central America. The alarm bell has been sounded to warn the world that organized criminal sex traffickers are rapidly accelerating their kidnappings and efforts to entrap indigenous children and youth for the purposes of either prostituting them directly, or reselling them to global trafficking networks who will enslave them in Japan, Western Europe or, more recently, the Middle East.

We ask, what has the U.S. State Department’s Office on Trafficking in Persons done to identify and act to stop the human trafficking crisis that affects indigenous women and girls? What have they, or the governments of Mexico and Japan done to investigate the trafficking of thousands of poor, underage indigenous girls from southern Mexico’s heavily indigenous states – to Japan?

From what we can observe, the answer is that nothing at all has been done to address the targeting of indigenous children as a major source of 'raw material' for the global forced prostitution trade.

The anti trafficking movement and government agencies in the U.S. cannot rely only upon the appointment of officials with Spanish  surnames and the engagement of  agencies that serve the Latin America immigrant community to ‘handle’ the Latin American human trafficking issue. Dynamics of intra-Latino oppression permeate both the region and the immigrant diaspora. Many Latin Americans who otherwise have the education and required social consciousness to take action against human trafficking also have culturally ingrained prejudices against indigenous (and African descendent) peoples.

These realities are especially problematic in Mexico.

Therefore, we are glad to see Mexican congressional representative and anti trafficking leader Rosi Orozco and Xavier Abreu Sierra, director general of the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples - further raise the alarm in an October 8, 2011 article in La Jornada, a Leading Mexico City daily paper, in regard to the crisis facing indigenous victims in Mexico.

We are also encouraged by the efforts of Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean, who has shone a constant spotlight on the crisis facing indigenous girls who confront enslavement by sex traffickers.

More must be done. This crisis has become increasingly dire over time.

Indigenous leaders such as Mayan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu, who is also an activist against the sex trafficking of indigenous children in the region, must be allowed to have a prominent place at the table of deliberations on the subject.

Multi-billion dollar drug cartels seek to diversify their earnings by engaging in the mass kidnapping and sex trafficking of poor Mexican girls and young women. They need large numbers of victims to feed into the wholesale global market for sex slaves. At the end of the day, the most accessible and vulnerable source of victims are young indigenous girls who may not speak Spanish.

Once entrapped, these children are beaten, gang raped, starved, pimped out and then are resold to trafficking operations across Mexico, Central America, the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

We call upon the anti trafficking community and applicable government agencies to bring more focus to this aspect of the global trafficking crisis. We cannot sit by and watch yet another generation of our indigenous children be subjected to this obscene mass gender atrocity.

The government of Mexico must be held to account for its indifference in the face of the mass sex trafficking of indigenous girl children.

The government of Japan must also be held to account for its indifference in the face of the mass sex trafficking of indigenous Mexican girl children to Japan - to become sex slaves and geishas to the tune of several thousand victims.

All who are victims, and all who are at risk deserve the world's attention. Indigenous girl children from the Americas must not continue to be left on the sidelines of that effort.

We the people will hold both government and the NGO community accountable for their inaction to rescue these innocent children from a life of rape, torture and early death.

We are not second class human beings.

Enough is enough.

End this atrocity now!

Chuck Goolsby


Oct. 09, 2011

Added Oct. 08, 2011

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Mexico

Indigenous girls in Mexico are constantly under threat from local and global sex traffickers and sxex tourists

En México, 45% de las víctimas de trata son niñas indígenas: legisladores

México, DF. En México “45 por ciento” de las víctimas de la trata son niñas indígenas dieron a conocer, Rosi Orozco, presidenta de la Comisión Especial para la Lucha contra la Trata de Personas y Xavier Abreu Sierra, director general de la Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas (CDI), quienes expresaron la urgencia de contar con una ley general que combata este crimen que arrebata la infancia a más de 20 mil niños mexicanos.

La diputada federal señaló que aunque en 2007 se promulgó la Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, existen importantes vacíos que llenar, sobre todo que en las indagatorias no se “revictimice” a las niñas que han sufrido esta situación y se sancione de manera ejemplar también a los clientes. Recordó que el 13 de julio, Felipe Calderón promulgó un decreto que reforma el artículo 73, lo que faculta al Congreso a expedir una Ley General en la materia.

La legisladora llamó a crear conciencia y advertir a las familias de estos pueblos originarios a no dejarse engañar por los tratantes, pues las formas para enganchar a las menores no sólo son múltiples, sino que muy efectivas”.

Officials: Some 45% of trafficking victims in Mexico are indigenous girls

Mexico City - In Mexico, "45 percent" of the victims of trafficking are indigenous girls, declared federal congressional deputy Rosi Orozco, president of the Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons and Xavier Abreu Sierra, director general of the National Commission for Development Indigenous Peoples (CDI). They expressed an urgent need for the passage of a comprehensive law to combat human trafficking, a crime that robs [the freedom of] more than 20,000 Mexican children.

Deputy Orozco noted that despite the fact that the [ineffective] Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons was passed in 2007, there are important gaps ]in criminal law] that must be filled, especially in regard to structuring investigations so that they do not "re-victimize" girls who have experienced being trafficked. Johns should also be punished, she added. Orozco recalled that on July 13th of 2011 President Felipe Calderón issued a decree amending Article 73 of the constitution, which empowers Congress to issue a general law addressing human trafficking.

Orozco called for creating awareness about trafficking and warning families not to be fooled by the traffickers, because techniques used by traffickers to entrap children are not only many in number, but they are also very effective."

Carolina Gómez Mena

La Jornada

Oct, 08, 2011

Added Oct. 08, 2011

Mexico / New York, USA

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Mexico

Photos of four suspects who were arrested on October 6, 2011 for running a sex trafficking ring in the center of Mexico's forced prostitution 'industry' - Tlaxcala state, located just east of Mexio City, Victims were transported to New York City.

Above photos: The Secretariat for Public Security

Tlaxcala state (border in red) is located just to the east of metropolitan Mexican City.

Tlaxcala is used by sex traffickers as a destination for sex trafficking victims, who are beaten, raped and prostituted in Mexico City before being 'exported' to destinations around the world.

Desarticulan red de trata de personas que operaba en México y EU

Elementos de la Policía Federal desarticuló ayer, 6 de octubre, una organización de presuntos delincuentes dedicados a la trata de personas que operaba en México y Estados Unidos. Entre los cinco detenidos se encuentra Antonio Lira Robles, alias "Coñazo", quien es requerido por autoridades de Estados Unidos.

Elementos de la Policía Federal desarticuló ayer, 6 de octubre, una organización de presuntos delincuentes dedicados a la trata de personas que operaba en México y Estados Unidos.

De acuerdo a un comunicado, reportes de inteligencia indican que este grupo delictivo operaba identificando y reclutando a sus víctimas en parques y centros recreativos; posteriormente mediante promesas y engaños las trasladaban a los estados de Tlaxcala, Puebla y al Distrito Federal para obligarlos a trabajar en la prostitución.

La Policía Federal, en coordinación con la Oficina de Inmigración y Administración de Aduanas de Estados Unidos (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), se tuvo conocimiento que las víctimas también eran trasladadas Nueva York, Estados Unidos, con fines de explotación sexual.

Ente estos hechos, Policías Federales, en atención una orden de aprehensión con fines de extradición internacional, girada por el Juzgado Décimo Octavo de Distrito en Procesos Penales Federales en el Distrito Federal, así como a la orden de cateo otorgada por el Juez Tercero, contra cuatro inmuebles en la localidad San Miguel Tenancingo, Tlaxcala, realizó un operativo en combinación con la Siedo.

Como resultado de estas acciones se detuvo a Antonio Lira Robles "Coñazo", originario de Tlaxcala, a quien se le identifica como encargado de reclutar y explotar a víctimas en México y trasladarlas ilegalmente a los Estados Unidos.

Al realizar el cruce de datos con el Centro de Inteligencia de la Policía Federal se pudo confirmar que esta persona es requerida por autoridades de Nueva York por los delitos de tráfico de personas con fines de explotación sexual.

Asimismo se detuvo a Heladio Ramírez Granados "Eladio", Moisés Ramírez Granados, Francisca Granados Rojas "La Pancha" y Pedro Ramírez Lira.

Así como el aseguramiento de 3 vehículos, 2 armas de fuego, 4 equipos de comunicación y documentación diversa.

Los detenidos y lo asegurado serán puestos a disposición de las autoridades correspondientes, quienes determinarán la situación jurídica de los presuntos responsables.

[Note: The publisher of this article, Grupo Fórmula, was recently honored for its decision to remove sexual services advertising frrom its publications. -LL]

Grupo Fórmula

Oct. 07, 2011

See also:

Added Oct. 08, 2011


Mexico detains 5 in US sex slave case

Mexico City - Police arrested four men and a woman for allegedly helping force women to work as prostitutes in Mexico and the United States, authorities said Friday.

Mexican federal police said they acted on information from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office indicating some of the women were taken to New York. Police did not say where in New York the women were prostituted, but said there were outstanding U.S. extradition requests for some of the suspects.

The arrests were made Thursday during raids on four homes in the town of Tenancingo in central Tlaxcala state, which has long served as a center for Mexican pimps and the forced-prostitution trade.

The alleged leader of the gang, Antonio Lira Robles, lured women with promises and trickery to Mexico City and later forced them into prostitution, authorities said. Some were later taken to the United States.

Pimps in Tenancingo are know for wooing women to their town with false promises of marriage or good jobs. Isolated and under psychological pressure and sometimes beatings, the women are forced to become prostitutes.

In some cases, they are held against their will, or their children are taken away and the pimps threaten the women that they won't see their kids again if they disobey orders.

The suspects were turned over to prosecutors for investigation on possible human trafficking charges.

Police also seized two pistols in the raids.   

 The Associated Press

Oct. 08, 2011

See also:

Special Section:

About the crisis of forced prostitution of minor girls and young women in the largest center for organized sex trafficking in Mexico: Tlaxcala state.

Especially see within this section:
Quinientas mujeres son explotadas en Nueva York por Bandas de Tenancingo
Some 500 women and girls have been trafficked from the city of Tenancingo in Tlaxcala state into prostitution in just one borough of New York City.

Added Oct. 08, 2011


ONU advierte sobre ‘crisis’ por homicidios en América Central y el Caribe

VIENA, Austria - La Oficina de las Naciones Unidas contra las Drogas y el Crimen (UNODC, sigla en inglés) advirtió que la tasa de homicidios en América Central y el Caribe se estaba acercando a un "punto de crisis", en el primer estudio del organismo sobre homicidio global, publicado el 6 de octubre.

En América Central, por ejemplo, uno de cada 50 hombres de 20 años será asesinado antes de alcanzar la edad de 31 años, porcentaje varios cientos de veces más alto que en algunas partes de Asia, según informó el estudio del organismo, con sede en Viena.

Durante 2010, ocurrieron 468 mil homicidios en todo el mundo, 36 por ciento de ellos en África, 31 por ciento en América, 27 por ciento en Asia, 5 por ciento en Europa y 1 por ciento en Oceanía.

Tomando en cuenta la densidad poblacional de cada región, la tasa de homicidio en África y América supera en más del doble el promedio global, mientras que en Asia, Europa y Oceanía es aproximadamente la mitad.

"Desde 1995, la tasa de homicidios ha disminuido en muchos países, principalmente en Asia, Europa y América del Norte, tanto que podría definirse como de rara ocurrencia", decía el informe.

"Sin embargo ha aumentado en otros, especialmente en América Central y el Caribe, donde hoy puede decirse que se está acercando a un punto de crisis"…

El estudio también muestra que existe un claro vínculo entre el crimen y el desarrollo; los países con graves disparidades en el nivel de ingresos tienen cuatro veces más posibilidades de ser escenario de crímenes violentos que las sociedades más equitativas, según informó la UNODC.

"Para alcanzar los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio, deben combinarse las políticas de prevención del crimen con el desarrollo económico y social y gobiernos democráticos basados en el estado de derecho", dijo Yury Fedotov, jefe de la UNODC.

El informe está disponible aquí.

InfoSur Hoy

Oct. 06, 2011

See also:

Added Oct. 08, 2011


UN study: Homicides soar in Central America

Mexico City - Honduras and El Salvador have the highest homicide rates in the world as killings reach a crisis point in Central America, a United Nations report said Thursday.

The study on homicides by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime blamed organized crime for the region's surge in violence.

Honduras had 6,200 killings in 2010 out of a population of 7.7 million people, while El Salvador with 6.1 million people had 4,000 homicides.

The 2011 Global Study on Homicide calculated a rate of 82.1 homicides per 100,000 people for Honduras and 66 per 100,000 people for El Salvador. Cote D'Ivoire in West Africa followed with 56.9 and the Caribbean nation of Jamaica with 52.1. The United States had a homicide rate of 5 per 100,000 people in 2009, the report said…

Mexico has seen a 65 percent increase in killings since President Felipe Calderon launched his offensive against drug cartels in late 2006, the report found. The country is considered part of Central America in the report.

Mexico had a homicide rate of 18.1 per 100,000 people last year, among the lowest in the region, although the 112 million-person nation dominates headlines for its brutal killings and bloody drug gang turf battles…

Over the past 15 years, the study said, homicides have gone down in Asia, Europe and North America while increasing in Central America and the Caribbean. It said bloodshed in the latter two regions "can be seen to be nearing crisis point."

The U.N. blamed firearms and widening income disparities for the violence. It said guns were used in three-quarters of all homicides in Central America and the Caribbean.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime report

Adriana Gomez Licon

The Associated Press

Oct. 08, 2011

Added Oct. 06, 2011

More than 400 Peruvian police took part in a three day operation that rescued almost 300 sex trafficking victims in the nation's Amazon Jungle region.

Photo: Reuters

Detienen a 5 por trata de personas en zona minera

Lima — La fiscalía informó el lunes la detención de cinco personas tras un operativo policial que duró tres días y donde se rescató a 293 mujeres de prostíbulos de una zona selvática donde miles de mineros informales explotan oro.

"Se ha ordenado la detención preliminar de cinco individuos por el delito de trata de personas", dijo a la AP el fiscal Fernando de Santa María, quien intervino en el gigantesco operativo, el primero del gobierno de Ollanta Humala.

La acción se realizó entre el viernes y la madrugada del domingo en más de 60 prostíbulos ubicados en la ciudad de Puerto Maldonado, capital de la región Madre de Dios, ubicada a 861 kilómetros al sureste de Lima.

Madre de Dios, una región rica en biodiversidad, sufre la fiebre de la explotación ilegal de oro lo que conlleva a la contaminación de ríos, destrucción de bosques tropicales, intensa migración y el aumento de la prostitución.

En un primer momento el viceministro de Interior, Alberto Otárola, dijo el domingo a la AP que se rescataron 234 prostitutas, de las cuáles 15 eran menores de 18 años. Pero el lunes, el fiscal de Santa María precisó que el número de prostitutas rescatadas era 293 y cinco de ellas eran menores de 18 años: una de 13 y cuatro de 17.

El delito de trata de personas se castiga en Perú con penas de entre cinco y diez años de prisión y el delito se agrava con hasta 12 años de cárcel si se prostituye a menores de edad.

The Associated Press

Oct. 03, 2011

See also:

Police free 300 women in Amazon

More than 400 police took part in the three-day operation

Police in Peru say they have rescued nearly 300 women from sexual exploitation in a raid in the country's Amazon region.

At least four people were arrested in Puerto Maldonado on suspicion of human trafficking.

Among those rescued from about 50 brothels were at least 10 minors - the youngest was a 13-year-old girl.

More than 400 police took part in the three-day operation in the region, known for its illegal gold mining.

The region has seen an influx of fortune-hunters trying to make a living from the trade.

Prosecutors say young girls are lured to the area by women who travel around offering them jobs in shops or as domestic helpers, but that the girls often end up being forced to work as prostitutes in local bars.

Last month, the charity Save the Children said that more than 1,100 underage girls were being used as sexual slaves in illegal mining camps in the south-eastern Peruvian state of Madre de Dios.

Camps set up along the main highway have also attracted unlicensed bars used for prostitution.

The gold rush is contributing to the destruction of the rain forest and contaminating the environment with tons of mercury, used in processing the precious metal.

Peru is the world's fifth largest gold producer.

BBC News

Oct. 03, 2011

See also:

La prostitución infantil golpea la Selva

Prostituyen a niñas de 14 años. Ofrecen sus servicios sexuales por 50 soles la hora.

Child prostitution is rampant in Peru’s Amazon Jungle region

Fourteen year old girls are sold. Services are offered for as little as 50 new soles ($18 US dollars).

[Includes video report - in Spanish]


Feb.. 06, 2011

See also:

More about child prostitution in the gold mining camps of the Amazon Jungle

According to June Kane's 1998 book, Sold of Sex, an estimated 2,000 child prostitutes were at that time being exploited in Brazil's Amazon Jungle gold minig town of Fortaleza, a place where newly arrived 9-year-old girls were being auctioned off to local gold miners as sex slaves.

Their ages were: 

15 to 16

approx. 400 girls

13 to 14

approx.  620 girls

 8 to 10

approx.  340 girls

Younger than 8 

approx.    20 girls

See also:

Child Prostitution A Way Of Life In Peru

…Of the 3.8 million people living in extreme poverty [in Peru], 2.1 million are children, with more than 60% of the under-18 population living below the poverty line…

Victoria Huerta, a psychologist at La Restinga, a local nonprofit organization [located in the Amazonian city of Iquitos] that works with at-risk children, said that many girls are lured into prostitution by a family member -- sometimes even a parent -- or a neighbor with the promise of quick cash...

...About half of the 600 male inmates in the Iquitos prison, which was built to house 300, were arrested on charges of rape of a minor under age 14.

Part of the problem is a social attitude that views sex with adolescent girls as normal, said Luis Gonzalez-Polar Zuzunada, president of La Restinga.

"It's not seen as a crime," he said. "People think that's the way it is. Here, anyone is a potential client…"

Once children become involved in prostitution, it is difficult for them to get out. Many were raped by relatives before becoming involved in prostitution, and "it's hard for them to recognize what has happened to them," Huerta said. "They want to (get out), but there is no process that supports them in that…"

The work is not easy, however, because both the family situations that led the girls to get involved in prostitution and the sexual exploitation leave serious psychological scars. Many of the girls are also addicted to drugs, and Huerta said that La Restinga's staff members need specialized training -- or some expert assistance -- in dealing with that combination of problems. Because the city is fairly remote, accessible from the rest of the country only by air or river, such expertise is hard to find.

Many of the children involved in prostitution have dropped out of school -- and some have never been to school, especially if their families have moved to the city from remote villages. La Restinga offers summer school and tutoring to help them get up to their grade level…

La Restinga is currently working with nearly 50 girls who have been sexually exploited or are at risk of being drawn into prostitution. The girls take part in summer school sessions and art workshops, partly funded by Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' international relief and development agency. Integrating them into the larger group helps keep the girls from feeling stigmatized, Huerta said.

"When they come here," she added, "they turn into what they are -- children."

May 11, 2007

Added Oct. 04, 2011


Attorney General Marisela Morales takes action against sex traffickers in Chiapas state, the largest region for commercial sexual exploitation of children in the entire world, according to NGO Save the Children.

Chiapas state is located in southern Mexico along the border with Guatemala.

Close to 1 million of Chiapas state's 3.5 million inhabitants speaks one of the state's 56 indigenous languages. One third of those people do not speak Spanish, a fact that increases their vulnerability to human traffickers..

Las autoridades mexicanas rescataron a 137 víctimas del delito de trata de personas en el sureste del país.

Las autoridades mexicanas realizaron un operativo para poner en libertad a 137 víctimas de la trata de personas que fueron sometidas durante dos años a la explotación sexual en el estado de Chiapas, al sur de México.

En la red de tráfico de personas, las autoridades detuvieron a 143 presuntos responsables La mayoría de las víctimas son menores de edad, 70 de ellas tienen entre 12 y 17 años, 76 son mexicanos, 27 originarios de Honduras, 14 de Guatemala, tres de El Salvador y de 17 aún no se ha determinado su nacionalidad.

Las mujeres integrantes de esta red de trata de personas, 131 de los 137 retenidos, se encargaban de “enganchar” a jóvenes centroamericanas con promesas de trabajo. Sin embargo, eran obligadas a prostituirse bajo amenaza de ser entregadas al Instituto Nacional de Migración, además de privarlas de alimento por varios días.

La procuradora Marisela Morales señaló que la trata de personas no sólo lesiona la integridad física de las víctimas, sino que después del tráfico de drogas y armas, es el delito que más rendimientos genera a los criminales.

“No menos indignante es constatar que la trata de personas es un negocio rentable para quienes la ejercen, esta deleznable práctica se ha multiplicado en años recientes”, señaló la procuradora.

La titular de la PGR reconoció a la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional la estrecha colaboración en el combate de este delito.

Mexican authorities rescue 137 victims of the crime of human trafficking in the state of Chiapas

Mexican authorities have conducted an operation that resulted in the release the 137 victims of human trafficking. The victims had been subjected to sexual exploitation in the [border] state of Chiapas in southern Mexico.

Authorities arrested 143 alleged members of the trafficking network. Most of the victims are minors, with 70 of them being between the ages of 12 and 17. Some 76 of the victims are Mexican, 27 are Honduran, 14 are from Guatemala and three are Salvadorans. The nationalities of 17 victims have not yet determined.

Women suspects comprise 131 of of those arrested. They worked to entrap Central American [migrant] youth through the use of false offers of legitimate employment. However, they were forced into prostitution under threat of being handed over to the National Migration Institute. They were also threatened with being deprived of food for several days.

[Federal] Attorney General Marisela Morales said that human trafficking not only harms the physical integrity of its victims, but is also the most profitable crime after drug and arms trafficking.

"It is revolting to see that human trafficking is such a profitable business for those who exercise this despicable practice, one that has increased in recent years," said the Attorney General.

Attorney General Morales acknowledged the United States Agency for International Development for their cooperation in combating human trafficking.

Sara Pablo

Voz de América / Voice of America

Oct. 03, 2011

Added Oct. 02, 2011


Accused sex traffickers Darío Lara Lara (left) and Abimail Muñoz Cotilla

Prostituían a mujeres en antros y hotels

Las llevaban por todo el país para explotarlas

La Procuraduría capitalina detuvo a dos personas acusadas de privar de la libertad a dos mujeres, una de ellas menor de edad, para explotarlas sexualmente, burdeles, cantinas y hoteles de la Ciudad de México, Baja California, Morelos, Puebla y Veracruz.

Darío Lara Lara y Abimail Muñoz Cotilla, esposo de la denunciante quienes, fueron consignados.

Entre los detenidos se encuentra el marido de una de las denunciantes. Ambos sujetos fueron capturados en el estado de Tlaxcala. En conferencia de prensa, el doctor Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa informó que los imputados son Darío Lara Lara y Abimail Muñoz Cotilla, esposo de la denunciante quienes en su momento quedarán a disposición del Juez Penal 32, como probables responsables de los delitos de trata de personas, privación de la libertad y delincuencia organizada.

Consta en el expediente que el 30 de agosto pasado, la víctima logró escapar del hotel donde la mantenían privada de la libertad y solicitó ayuda de elementos de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública del Distrito Federal. Fue canalizada a la Fiscalía Central de Investigación para la Atención de Delitos Sexuales.

Al rendir declaración ministerial, una de las víctimas señaló que a finales de mayo de este año cuando regresaba de su trabajo y al descender del transporte público en Panzacola, Tlaxcala, dos sujetos la obligaron a subir a una camioneta negra, para llevarla hacia una vivienda, donde la tuvieron encerrada ocho días y fue agredida sexualmente por Darío Lara.

Por todo el país

Posteriormente, la llevaron a un bar en Izúcar de Matamoros, Puebla, donde la obligaron a prostituirse; de ahí la condujeron hacia otro establecimiento en Poza Rica, Veracruz, y cuando se negaba a brindar sexoservicio era golpeada y le quemaban las piernas y espalda con cigarros. En esos lugares, dijo la afectada, otras mujeres eran también obligadas a brindar sexoservicio y conoció a una menor de 16 años.

También la llevaron a la ciudad de Campeche, Campeche, donde había varias jóvenes, entre ellas una menor de 11 años, y que hacían fiestas para sujetos que llegaban armados; que en una ocasión la agraviada se percató que a dos chicas, una de ellas era la menor de 16 años, una mujer conocida como "La Mami" les ordenó y enseñó cómo introducir droga en sus partes íntimas con un tampón.

Las trajeron después a la capital del país, donde seguían siendo prostituidas en un hotel de la zona de La Merced. Huyeron a Tijuana, Baja California, por el despliegue policíaco derivado de un operativo en la zona. A esa ciudad fronteriza arribó su esposo Abimail Muñoz Ocotitla, quien después de agredirla verbalmente fue a conversar con Darío Lara.


La denunciante manifestó que al estar todavía en Tijuana, los probables responsables llevaron a siete chicas para intentar internarlas a Estados Unidos, pero cuando la menor pretendió huir, Darío Lara Lara la mató de un balazo. Su cuerpo lo abandonaron en un terreno baldío.

De ahí un bar de Cuautla, Morelos, los inculpados y sus víctimas tuvieron que huir porque sujeto armados los balearon a consecuencia de la venta de droga que realizaban, por lo que a bordo de una camioneta llegaron a un hotel del sur del Distrito Federal de donde la denunciante huyó cuando sus captores se encontraban bajo los influjos de enervantes.

La afectada proporcionó información al Ministerio Público para investigar la trata de personas en agravio de mujeres, entre ellas menores de edad, que son explotadas sexualmente, por lo que solicitó medida cautelar de arraigo en contra los inculpados.

Con la denuncia de las víctimas y oficio de colaboración con autoridades ministeriales del estado de Tlaxcala, Darío Lara Lara y Abimail Muñoz Ocotitla fueron detenidos por agentes de la Policía de Investigación y sujetos a investigación en el Centro de Arraigo de la PGJDF, bajo pronunciamiento del Juez 32 Penal; se ejercitará acción penal contra los dos inculpados, en agravio de ambas víctimas.

Trafficking victims were prostituted in clubs and hotels

The enslavers trafficked their victims across Mexico

The Mexico City Attorney General’s Office has arrested two men who are accused of holding a woman and a minor youth against their will, and then sexually exploiting them in brothels, bars and hotels in Mexico City and the states of Baja California, Morelos, Puebla and Veracruz.

The suspects were placed in pre-trial detention.

Both subjects were arrested in the state of Tlaxcala. At a press conference, Mexico City Attorney General Dr. Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa reported that the suspects are Darío Lara Lara and Abimail Muñoz Cotilla, who is the husband of one of the complainants. They will be turned over to Criminal Court #32 for trial. They are charged with the crimes of human trafficking, deprivation of liberty and organized crime.

The record shows that on August 30,  2011, one of the victims managed to escape the hotel where she was then being enslaved. She requested help from Mexico City’s Ministry of Public Security. The case was forwarded to the Sex Crimes Investigations section of the city Attorney General’s Office.

During a formal declaration one of the victims stated that in May of 2011 she was returning from work when, as she stepped-off of a public bus in the city of  Panzacola, Tlaxcala, two men forced her into a black SUV. They took her to a house where she was imprisoned for eight days. There, she was sexually assaulted by Dario Lara.

Taken across Mexico

The victim was later taken to a bar in the city of Izucar de Matamoros, in Puebla state, where she was forced into prostitution. She was then taken to another location in the city of Poza Rica, in Veracruz state. When she refused to prostitute herself, she was beaten and her back and legs were burned with cigarettes. This victim testified that she met other women who were forced into prostitution at these locations. One of them was a 16-year-old girl.

This woman was also taken to the city of Campeche, in Campeche state, where she witnessed the fact that several minors, including an 11-year-old girl, [were also being forced into prostitution]. At that location, parties were held for men who arrived carrying weapons. She once observed that two girls, one of whom was less than 16 years were forced by a woman who went by the name of ‘Mami’ to introduce drugs into themselves through the insertion of tampons.

The victims were brought to Mexico City, where they were again prostituted in a hotle located in the city’s La Merced [prostitution tolerance zone]. The traffickers later took the victims and fled the [recent, anti trafficking] heavy police deployment in the area. They were taken to the city of Tijuana, in Baja California, state. The victim’s husband, Abimail Muñoz Ocotitla, then arrived in Tijuana and verbally assaulted her. He then went to talk to Dario Lara.


The complainant said that while she was in Tijuana, the alleged traffickers brought seven girls to try to enslave the in the United States. When the underage girl in the group attempted to flee, Darío Lara Lara killed her with a single shot. Her body was abandoned in a vacant lot.

From there, the traffickers and their victims were taken to the city of Cuautla, in Morelos state. The group had to flee the area after rivals shot at them as the straffickers attempted to sell illicit drugs.

The group then arrived in the southern section of Mexico City. At that point, the complainant fled while her captors were under the influence of drugs.

The victim supplied detailed information to the City Attorney General’s human trafficking investigations office. The suspects were investigated for crimes against their adult and minor victims. As a result, prosecutors requested pre-trail detention for the suspects.

Having obtained the statements of the victims and the coorperation of the Tlaxcala state authorities, Darío Muñoz Lara Lara and Abimail Ocotitla were arrested by police investigators and were interrogated in the arraignment center of the Mexico City Attorney General’s office. They will be tried by the 32nd Judge of the Criminal Court for crimes committed against the two [known] complainants.

Tomás Rojas Madrid


Sep. 2011

Added Oct. 02, 2011


Congressional Deputy Rosi Orozco (far left), President of the Special Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Chamber of Deputies, sits at the speakers table as El Universal newspaper publisher Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, announce that his paper, one of Mexico City's two largest dailies, will end sexual services advertizing on its pages. From a story published on Sep. 20, 2011

Hay avance en combate al delito de trata de personas, afirma Rosi Orozco

México, Distrito Federal - La presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, Rosi Orozco, del grupo parlamentario del PAN, presentó la revista “México Social” y comentó que comienza a avanzar el combate a la impunidad de este delito como resultado de la serie de reformas que se han impulsado.

No obstante, la legisladora manifestó que es necesario brindar mayor certeza jurídica a la población, por lo que urgió aprobar la Ley General para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas y Delitos Relacionados.

Comentó que estas publicaciones mensuales contribuirán a mantener a la sociedad informada sobre los temas de trata de personas y violación a los derechos humanos, de manera que las víctimas se animen a denunciar ante las autoridades para erradicar el problema que cada vez se hace más evidente.

Recordó que el tres de agosto se propuso ante el Pleno de la Comisión Permanente del Congreso de la Unión, la Ley General para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas y delitos relacionados, a fin de solventar los problemas en la materia para la procuración de justicia.

Explicó que dicha ley tiene como objetivo establecer definiciones claras y armonizar el marco jurídico nacional en materia de trata de personas y los compromisos internacional de los que el país forma parte.

“Es importante atender el problema de trata de personas de manera interna y no sólo los compromisos internacionales del país en materia de derechos de las víctimas nacionales y extranjeras”, dijo.

En su intervención, el director de la revista “México Social”, Mario Luis Fuentes, consideró que parte de la erradicación del problema es hacerlo visible, por lo que el tema de trata de personas será analizado y plasmado en estas ediciones mensuales.

“Este problema debe ser visible a los jóvenes que están en situaciones de riesgo, de ser víctimas para construir mecanismos de prevención, protección y reintegración de las víctimas una vez que han sido rescatadas”, dijo.

Mario Luis Fuentes señaló que el Estado debe reconocer que aún no cuenta con los elementos suficientes, ni con los diagnósticos que ayudarán a atacar el problema de trata, por lo que las fuentes de investigación deben ampliarse para conocer las dimensiones reales de las sociedades que se encuentran en alta vulnerabilidad.

Congressional anti-trafficking leader Deputy Rosi Orozco says that advances are being made in the fight against human trafficking

Mexico City - The president of the Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons in the Chamber of Deputies [lower house of Congress], Deputy Rosi Orozco of the National Action Party (PAN), recently commented about advances that are being made in the fight against human trafficking in Mexico. She also introduced a new journal, "Social Mexico," that will cover human trafficking.

Deputy Orozco added that it will be necessary to provide greater legal certainties to the public [to demonstrate the government’s serious commitment to confront trafficking]. She urged Congressional members to approve the General Law on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Trafficking in Persons and Related Offences [a bill that has been awaiting passage during many months of impasse caused by opponents].

Orozco said that Social Mexico will be a monthly publication that will inform society about issues related to human trafficking and other human rights violations, and will encourage victims to report trafficking, which is an ever increasing problem.

The current anti-trafficking bill was presented to on August 3rd, 2011 to a plenary session of the Permanent Committee of Congress, says Orozco. The General Law on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Trafficking in Persons and related crimes is designed to solve problems [that exist today] in anti-trafficking criminal enforcement.

Orozco explained that the law is designed to establish clear definitions [of activities that constitute trafficking] and will standardize the national legal framework to fight trafficking in persons and assure compliance with international protocols.

"It is important to address the problem of trafficking internally, and not just focus on the nation’s international responsibilities to protect foreign and domestic victims,” said Orozco.

Mario Luis Fuentes, director of Social Mexico, stated that he believes that part of the effort to eradicate human trafficking must involve giving the issue higher public visibility. Social Mexico will therefore cover human trafficking in-depth in its monthly issues.

"This problem must be made visible to the young people who are at risk of becoming. We must also build prevention mechanisms, design ways to protect those who are at risk and reintegrate victims into society,” said Fuentes.

Fuentes added that the State must recognize that it still does not have adequate information or studies to understand the dimensions of human trafficking in the nation. Therefore, institutions should increase their research efforts to understand the true dimensions of the situation facing vulnerable populations in Mexico.

El Observador Diario

Sep. 28, 2011

Added Oct. 02, 2011


Detiene PGR a presunto tratante de personas en Tlaxcala

Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala.- Elementos de la Procuraduría General de la República detuvieron a Jorge Cuahutle Pérez, a quien apodaban “el Tlacuache y/o El Moreno”, presunto tratante de personas, con fines de prostitución.

En un comunicado, la PGR señaló que esta persona es señalada como responsable del delito de trata de personas y el aseguramiento se realizó en el municipio de Tenancingo.

Esta comunidad está ubicada al sur de esta capital y es señalada como un sitio donde se ubican redes de trata de personas.

La dependencia federal señaló que “de acuerdo con el expediente PGR/TLAX-AMPDC/475/2011, una mujer denunció a Cuahutle Pérez, señalando que mediante amenazas y haciendo uso de la violencia, el 12 de julio de 2011, la introdujo a su domicilio y la mantuvo por más de dos meses privada de su libertad”.

Sin embargo, el pasado 14 de septiembre, “la víctima logró escapar de su cautiverio y acudió al agente del Ministerio Público Federal a denunciar esta situación”.

Después de integrarse la averiguación previa respectiva, se realizó un operativo “para la detención de Cuahutle Pérez, en el centro de Tenancingo”.

La PGR indicó que al momento de su detención, “le fueron encontrados diversos paquetes conteniendo hierba verde al parecer marihuana, así como cocaína”.

“Al verse acorralado trató de ofrecerles a los elementos aprehensores, la cantidad de 60 mil pesos para evitar ser puesto a disposición de la autoridad federal”.

Es importante señalar que Jorge Cuahutle Pérez cuenta con antecedentes por el delito de lesiones y lenocinio en el estado de México y Tlaxcala, acotó la dependencia federal.

Indicó asimismo que a la víctima se le brindará protección en un albergue.

Federal agents arrest suspected human trafficker in Tlaxcala state

Tlaxcala city in Tlaxcala  state - La enforcement agents from the federal attorney general’s office (PGR) have arrested Jorge Cuahutle Perez, who was nicknamed "the opossum and / or the dark one" on allegations of sex trafficking.

In a statement, the PGR said that Cuahutle Perez has been identified as having engaged in the crime of human trafficking. The suspect was arraigned in the city of Tenancingo.

Tenancingo is located south of the capital and is a known center for human trafficking networks.

The PGR related that a woman denounced Cuahutle Perez. The victim stated that on July 12, 2011, the suspect had taken her to his home and had deprived her of liberty by holding her there against her will for over two months through the use of threats and violence.

On Sep. 14, 2011 "the victim managed to escape from captivity and went to the Federal Prosecutor's Office to report the situation," stated officials of the PGR.

After conducting a preliminary investigation, authorities conducted an operation “to detain Cuahutle Perez in Tenancingo’s downtown area."

The PGR said that at the time of his arrest, "he was found with several packets that apparently contained… marijuana and cocaine."

"Finding himself cornered, Cuahutle Perez attempted to offer the arresting officers a bribe of 60,000 pesos to avoid federal detention."

Federal officials pointed out that Cuahutle Perez has a history of involvement in violent crimes and pimping in the states of Mexico and Tlaxcala.

His victim will be provided with protection in a shelter.


Sep. 30, 2011

Added Oct. 02, 2011

Paraguay, Argentina

El 80% de las víctimas de trata en Argentina son Paraguayas

Los gobiernos argentino y paraguayo fortalecerán la cooperación para combatir este flagelo. Se firmará un convenio con Migraciones por este tema.

Buenos Aires . Funcionarios y especialistas de Argentina y Paraguay se reunieron en Buenos Aires para fortalecer la cooperación entre ambos países con el fin de prevenir y combatir la trata de personas.

Durante la jornada organizada por la embajada paraguaya, Josefina Keim, coordinadora de Prevención y Combate de la Trata de la Cancillería de ese país, confirmó que una investigación argentina “asegura que el 80 por ciento de las mujeres explotadas en Argentina son paraguayas”. “Por eso nuestros países necesitan articular mejor el trabajo”, agregó.

Por su parte, la titular de la Dirección Nacional de Política Criminal de Argentina, calificó como “intenso” el trabajo que realizan ambos países en conjunto, en relación a este tema.

Explicó que se intercambia información con la fiscalía especializada en trata de Paraguay de forma tal que, “cuando se detecta el ingreso al país de una persona que manifiesta que va a un domicilio con antecedentes de allanamientos, se puede agilizar las actuaciones judiciales y avanzar en la investigación para evitar la explotación de esa persona”.

Adelantó que “se firmará un convenio con la Dirección Nacional de Migraciones para generar un mayor conocimiento de la problemática y utilizar toda la información de las distintas áreas del Estado, para lograr un trabajo coordinado”.

Por su parte, Ida González de Paredes, ministra de la embajada de Paraguay, explicó que la motivación para organizar el encuentro era “proteger a los connacionales”. “Estamos tratando de coordinar actividades y mejorar la comunicación con las instituciones competentes”, cerró.

En Madrid. La Policía española detuvo en Madrid al rumano Ion Clamparu, considerado uno de los mayores capos de la trata de blancas y presunto cabecilla de una red de explotación de prostitutas, cuyo nombre figura en la lista de los criminales más buscados de Interpol.

La detención de Clamparu, de 43 años y conocido como “cabeza de cerdo”, se produjo el pasado jueves, por agentes llevaban tiempo vigilándolo. Él mismo se entregó.

Eighty percent of sex trafficking victims in Argentina are Paraguayan

The governments of Argentina and Paraguay are strengthening their cooperation to better combat the scourge of modern slavery. Both nations will sign an accord on migration to address the issue.

Buenos Aires, Argentina - Officials and experts from Argentina and Paraguay recently met in Buenos Aires to strengthen cooperation between the two countries to prevent and combat trafficking.

During a conference organized by the Embassy of Paraguay, Josefina Keim, coordinator of preventing and fighting human trafficking within Paraguay’s Foreign Ministry, confirmed that an investigation conducted in Argentina "shows that 80 percent of the women who are [sexually] exploited in Argentina are Paraguayan." "For that reason, our two nations need to improve their efforts in this area," she said.

Paula Honisch, the head of the National Directorate of Criminal Policy in Argentina, noted that both nations are working “intensively” on the issue.

Honisch explained that Argentina exchanges information with Paraguayan prosecutors in such a manner that, “when a person enters Argentina stating that they plan to arrive at a location that the authorities have previously raised, judicial action can be quickly taken to avoid the exploitation of that persons.”

Honisch added that Paraguay "will sign an agreement with Argentina’s National Directorate of Migration to generate greater awareness of the problem and to bring together information from across state agencies to achieve a coordinated effort."

Ida Gonzalez de Paredes, Minister of the Embassy of Paraguay, said the purpose of  the meeting was "to protect our co-nationals". "We're trying to coordinate activities and improve communication with the relevant institutions," she said.

EFE y Télam

Sep. 25, 2011

Added Oct. 01, 2011

Added Oct. 02, 2011


1 millón de emigrantes con registros penales

Un total de 2.901 inmigrantes indocumentados, con antecedentes criminales, fueron arrestados en todo Estados Unidos. Se trata del mayor operativo policial, hasta la fecha, informó ayer la agencia de Aduanas e Inmigración (ICE).

La operación Verificación  (Cross Check) se desarrolló en los 50 estados y  territorios de ultramar del 17 al 23 de este mes.

De los detenidos, 1 282 tenían múltiples condenas, y más de 1.600 habían purgado penas  por delitos como asaltos a mano armada, tentativa de asesinato, secuestro o narcotráfico, informó en rueda de prensa el director de la ICE, John Morton.

 681 detenidos habían sido expulsados del país tras sus condenas penales, pero reingresaron  ilegalmente. De los aproximadamente 11 millones de indocumentados que se calcula  viven en EE.UU., cerca de un 10% tiene  algún tipo de antecedente y sigue en las calles, dijo Morton.

Entre los detenidos hubo ciudadanos de México, República Dominicana, Panamá, Honduras y Nigeria.

Alrededor de un millón de inmigrantes ilegales que tienen condenas penales y están sujetos a deportación aún se encuentran en EE.UU. La agencia dijo que deporta a cerca de 390 mil personas al año, aproximadamente la mitad de las cuales son criminales convictos...

One million immigrants with criminal records live in the U.S.

A total of 2,901 undocumented immigrants with criminal records have recently been arrested in the United States. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that the effort was the largest law enforcement operation of its type to date.

Operation Verification (Cross Check) was carried out in 50 states and U.S. territories from Sep. 17th through the 23rd.

Of those arrested, 1,282 people had multiple convictions, and over 1,600 had been convicted of serious crimes such as armed robbery, attempted murder, kidnapping or drug trafficking, said ICE director John Morton at a press conference.

Some 681 detainees had been deported after their criminal convictions, but reentered the U.S. illegally...

Among those arrested were citizens of Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Honduras and Nigeria.

About one million illegal immigrants have criminal convictions and are subject to deportation in the U.S. are still The agency said it deports about 390,000 people per year. About half of that number are convicted criminals…

AFP, Reuters, ANSA

Sep. 20, 2011

Added: Sep.27, 2011

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Mexico


Indigenous girls in Mexico live under constant threat from local and international sex traffickers

Delito de trata es recurrente en la Zona Montaña de Guerrero

Guerrero state - México ocupa la segunda posición a nivel mundial en el delito de trata de personas, tan sólo superado por Tailandia.

Falta de papeles agudiza el problema

Activistas reportan explotación sexual y laboral en comunidades indígenas que padecen marginación y pobreza extrema

Acapulco, Guerrero state -  En la Montaña de Guerrero, la marginación y pobreza extrema orilla a algunos indígenas nahuatlecos, mixtecos, amuzgos y tlapanecos a vender a sus hijos menores de edad; otros son robados y los padres no pueden reclamarlos “por falta de papeles”, además de que muchos “desaparecen” en la búsqueda de mejores condiciones de vida.

No existe un registro oficial ni de ninguna otra clase, pero por las escasas denuncias ante organismos no gubernamentales como Tlachinollan —reconocido mundialmente por su férrea defensa de los derechos humanos—, se sabe que muchos de esos niños desaparecidos terminan reclutados para la pizca de jitomate en Sinaloa, como víctimas de las redes de prostitución infantil o como esclavos domésticos.

Neil Arias, vocera de Tlachinollan, dijo que, por usos y costumbres, cuando las hijas cumplen 12 años, sus padres las entregan en matrimonio a cambio de una “dote” que se traduce en dinero en efectivo.

La organización tiene registrados siete casos de desaparición de menores en 2010 luego de que sus padres los enviaron a las ciudades de Tlapa, Chilpancingo y Acapulco en busca de trabajo, pero como son “cazados” por los tratantes, desaparecen.

Sin embargo, la Procuraduría de Justicia del Estado tiene confirmadas 15 denuncias por la desaparición de niños indígenas que habían sido secuestrados fuera de sus escuelas.

No obstante, “los casos que son denunciados ante la Procuraduría no son investigados, sólo los archivan”, dijo Neil Arias, miembro del área jurídica de la organización.

Basándose en publicaciones locales, la abogada aseguró que sólo en Tlapa de Comonfort se dan al mes de dos a tres casos de niños o niñas indígenas desaparecidos. Otros casos se han registrado en Metlatónoc, Cochoapan El Grande, Atixtlac y Acatepec.

Entre los casos documentados por Tlachinollan está el de Claudia, una joven de 19 años de edad que tiene tres meses de haber desaparecido en la comunidad de Yoxondacua del Carmen, de Cochoapan El Grande, uno de los municipios más pobres del país.

La joven viajó al municipio de Tlapa de Comonfort para buscar trabajo y fue empleada por una comerciante ambulante de frutas. Hasta ahí sus huellas; nadie ha sabido más de ella.

Además, como sucede en muchos casos de desaparición, la familia no tiene ningún documento de la existencia de Claudia, ni acta de nacimiento ni fotografías, lo que dificulta la intervención de las autoridades.

“Es un trauma para las familias. Aquí, en la Montaña, carecemos de documentos y hay muchos niños y adultos que no tienen registro oficial. Muchos casos no son denunciados porque para poder denunciar a una persona extraviada es necesario presentar documentos de su existencia”.

De acuerdo con la Coordinación Técnica del Sistema Estatal del Registro Civil, en Guerrero hay 300 mil personas que no tienen acta de nacimiento ni otro documento para identificarse. De esa cantidad, 60% son niños y 40% adultos.

Dotes y ventas

Tlachinollan documentó denuncias en la región de la Montaña de padres que se llevan a sus hijos a trabajar como jornaleros en otros estados para luego regresar sin ellos y asegurar que desaparecieron. Otras denuncias fueron por la entrega de las hijas de entre 12 y 15 años de edad a cambio de dinero, según la práctica de usos y costumbres.

En algunos casos, las jóvenes son llevadas a las familias de sus novios a cambio de una “dote” de 100 mil pesos, lo que la organización no gubernamental calificó de “un comercio” que propicia la violencia familiar debido a que los novios consideran a las mujeres un objeto de su propiedad.

La venta de niñas se mantiene en municipios como Cochoapan El Grande y Metlatónoc, así como en Atixtlac y Acatepec, considerados entre los más pobres del país.

En ellos, las familias mantienen a las hijas como una mercancía.

En 2008, en el municipio de Atixtlac, tres niñas de 14, 15 y 16 años de edad fueron vendidas por cantidades de entre 30 y 50 mil pesos por un hombre que actualmente es procesado por el delito de trata de personas.

El hombre se hizo pasar por su padre para venderlas luego de atraerlas ofreciéndoles trabajos de cinco mil pesos mensuales. Después las obligó a realizar trabajos domésticos sin salario y en calidad de esclavas.

The crime of human trafficking is commonplace in the mountain region of Guerrero state

 Mexico ranks second worldwide in the crime of human trafficking, surpassed only by Thailand.

The lack of paperwork documenting the existence of indigenous children exacerbates the problem

Activists report the existence of sexual and labor exploitation in indigenous communities suffering from extreme poverty and marginalization

Acapulco, Guerrero state - In the mountains of Guerrero, marginalization and extreme poverty of some indigenous causes some Nahuatleco, Mixtec, Amuzgo and Tlapaneco families to sell their underage children. Others are kidnapped, and their parents cannot supply the police with documentation [or even photos] of their child, because they don’t have any. Children and youth also disappear as they migrate in search of better opportunities in life.

The Tlachinollan Center is known globally for its fierce defense of human rights. Although no official registries of the plight of trafficked indigenous children exist in Mexico, the Center and other nongovernmental organizations have documented the few formal complaints of missing children that indigenous parents have been willing to make. From that work it is known that many of these missing children are taken to work in the tomato fields of Sinaloa state, are forced into child prostitution networks or are enslaved in domestic servitude.

Tlachinollan Center spokesman Neil Arias says that by custom, when a family’s daughter reaches age 12, the parents give her away in marriage in exchange for a "dowry" which translates into cash.

During 2010 the organization registered seven cases of missing children after their parents had sent them to the cities of Tlapa, Chilpancingo and Acapulco in search of work. They had been "hunted" by traffickers and disappeared.

The Guerrero Attorney General’s Office has also confirmed 15 cases involving indigenous children who were abducted outside of their schools.

However, "cases that are reported to the Attorney General are not investigated, they are only archived," said Arias, who is a member of the Tlachinollan Center’s legal team.

Based on news reports found in local publications, Arias said that in the town of Tlapa de Comonfort alone, two or three indigenous children disappear each month. Other cases have been reported in the towns of Metlatónoc, Cochoapan El Grande, Atixtlac and Acatepec.

Among the cases documented by the Tlachinollan Center is that of Claudia, a 19-year-old indigenous woman who has been missing for three months from the community of Yoxondacua del Carmen, in the Cochoapan El Grande municipality – one of the poorest regions in Mexico.

She traveled to the town of Tlapa de Comonfort to find work and was employed by a street vendor who sold fruit. That is the last that anyone has heard from her.

The family has no documentation of the existence of Claudia, neither a birth certificate nor photographs, which makes the intervention of the authorities difficult.

"This is traumatic for the families. Here in the Mountain region, many children and adults are not officially registered. Many cases go unreported because in order to file a report of a missing person, the family  must present documentation of their existence," says Arias.

According to the technical coordination of the State System of Vital Records, Guerrero is 300 000 people who have no birth certificate or other document to be identified. Of that amount, 60% are children and 40% adults.

Dowries and sales

The Tlachinollan Center documented allegations in the Mountain region of parents who take their children to work as laborers in other states before returning without them. The parents then report them as having disappeared. In other cases, complaints were filed because families had handed over their 12- to 15year-old daughters in exchange for cash, in accordance with their indigenous traditions.

In some cases, girls are taken to the families of their boyfriends in exchange for a "dowry" of 100 thousand pesos [$7,300 US dollars]. One nongovernmental organization called this a "business" that fosters domestic violence because the boyfriend consider the woman [or underage girl] to be their property.

The sale of underage girls continues to take place in towns such as Cochoapan El Grande, Metlatónoc, Atixtlac and Acatepec, which are considered to be among the poorest areas in Mexico.

In these regions, families view their daughters as merchandise.

In 2008 in the municipality of Atixtlac, three girls - ages 14, 15 and 16 - were sold for amounts between 30 and 50 thousand pesos [between $2,200 and $3,600 US dollars] by a man who is now on trial for the crime of human trafficking.

The man had posed as the father of the girl victims, after having entrapped them with false job offers stating that he would pay them 5,000 pesos [$360 US dollars] per month to perform domestic work. After accepting the offers, the girls were put to work as unpaid domestic slaves.


Sep. 26, 2011

Added: Sep. 25, 2011

Honduras, Mexico

Sex traffickers are increasingly targeting underage indigenous girls from Honduras.

The victims, who are typically between the ages of 12 and 15, are for the most part taken to Mexico's southern border city of Tapachula, in the state of Chiapas. We note that Save the Children has identified the southern Mexico border region near Guatemala as being the largest zone of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the world. Tapachula is the center of that hell.

- LibertadLatina

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Central America

Miskito indigenous girl children in Honduras

See also:

Indigenous communities in Honduras – like indigenous communities around the world – are among the most poor and marginalized. Working with Change for Children's local partner Alianza Verde, [our] project works with indigenous women’s associations to build capacity, develop a strong network amongst indigenous communities, educate about women’s rights and engage communities in national level policy dialogue.

Change for Children

Aumenta trata de niñas indígenas en Honduras

La mayoría de las menores tienen entre 12 y 15 años de edad

Tegucigalpa, Honduras - La trata de niñas indígenas de Honduras hacia México ha aumentado, denunciaron organizaciones mexicanas en contra de la explotación sexual infantil.

La miembro de la organización Enlace, Comunicación y Capacitación, Ana Elena Barrios, aseguró que la mayoría de las menores tienen entre los 12 y 15 años de edad y son explotadas en la ciudad de Chiapas, fronteriza con Tapachula.

Barrios advirtió que este es “uno de los puntos de prostitución más grande del mundo”. Opinó que aparte de Honduras, igualmente ha aumentado la trata de niñas indígenas de Guatemala y El Salvador, hacia México.

La coautora de la investigación "Sur inicio de un camino", que versa sobre los derechos de la población migrante centroamericana, reveló que hay nuevas rutas, más aisladas, para introducir centroamericanas a través de la zona de la Mesilla, del municipio Frontera de Comapala, Chiapas.

Este fenómeno a la alza es ignorado en México por discriminación racial y de género, señaló América Martínez, de la Asociación para el Desarrollo Integral (APADI), que realiza campañas de salud sexual en sexoservidoras y contra la trata.

Así funciona la trata

Los compradores pueden ser hombres de la comunidad que migraron y ahora son "enganchadores", o desconocidos que emborrachan a los padres o autoridades locales y van por niñas desde los ocho años de edad, revelan las investigaciones.

“El que busca sexualmente a estas niñas obviamente es mucho más violento, porque es una expresión absoluta de poder, donde ellas no tienen ninguna opción de defenderse, ni siquiera de usar condón”, lamentó América Martínez.

Otro mecanismo de los "enganchadores" es el de enamorar a las adolescentes y prometerles casarse, y uno más el de ofrecer empleo fuera de la comunidad.

Esas niñas terminan en prostíbulos de la región, son esclavas laborales o se trafica con sus órganos, por lo que también se les lleva a otros estados mexicanos o incluso a Estados Unidos, indican los estudios.

Teresa Ulloa, titular de la Coalición Regional Contra el Tráfico de Mujeres y Niñas en América Latina y el Caribe (CATW en sus siglas en inglés), observa que el incremento de este delito también se debe a “la llegada del crimen organizado a las comunidades indígenas” y a la fallida estrategia del Estado contra el narcotráfico.

En su opinión el narco recién descubrió en las niñas en general un potencial a explotar “porque no se les pone atención, y ya las empezaron a reclutar de halconas, sicarias, mulas o de esclavas sexuales, y eso es trata, porque al final las están usando para proteger su negocio”.

Igualmente responsabilizó del aumento de la trata infantil a la estrategia del Estado contra el narco: “generalmente donde se mueve el operativo conjunto hay más trata hacia ese lugar, más violaciones de mujeres, más consumo de prostitución, y más feminicidos”.

The sex trafficking of indigenous children is on the increase in Honduras

Most of victims are between 12 and 15 years old

Tegucigalpa, Honduras – Non-governmental organizations that work against child sexual exploitation in Mexico have denounced the fact that the sex trafficking of underage girls from Honduras into Mexico is on the increase.

Ana Elena Barrios of the organization Networking, Communication and Training noted that most of the girls who are being victimized are between the ages of 12 and 15 years. They are typically taken to city of Tapachula in Mexico’s southern border state of Chiapas.

Barrios warned that “this is one of the largest centers of prostitution in the world.” She added that the enslavement of minor indigenous girls from Guatemala and El Salvador to Mexico is also increasing.

Barrios is the co-author of "The South, the Beginning of a Journey", which investigates the state of human rights of Central American migrants. She revealed that traffickers have now developed new, more isolated routes for human trafficking that are located in the Mesilla area in the Comapala region of the Mexican Border in Chiapas state.

This rising phenomenon is being ignored by Mexico’s government due to racial and gender discrimination, according to América Martínez of the Association for Integral Development, which provides health services to those in prostitution and works against human trafficking.

This is how trafficking works

Those who work as traffickers may be migrant men who now who work as ‘trappers,’ or other anonymous men who scheme to get [indigenous] parents drunk. These traffickers target girls as young as age 8, according to research.

"The men who seek out sex with these underage girls are obviously much more violent, because their actions are an absolute expression of power, when the girl has no option available to defend herself – not even to use a condom,” lamented América Martínez.

Another tricks used by these "recruiters" is to pretend to fall in love with the victim and then promise to marry her, or to offer the girl a false employment opportunity outside of her community.

These girls end up in brothels in the region, face labor slavery or have their human organs taken from them. They are taken to states within Mexico or to the United States.

Teresa Ulloa, president of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW), notes that the increase of this crime is also due to "the arrival of organized crime in indigenous communities" and is also a byproduct of Mexico’s failed strategy against drug trafficking.

In Ulloa’s view, the drug cartels recently discovered that the sex trafficking of girls in general was profitable, "because nobody pays attention [to their plight],”  and because the drug traffickers have begun to recruit [large numbers of youth] to work are street hawkers, assassins, sex slaves and drug mules. All of those activities constitute trafficking, because at the end of the day they are using these minors to protect their businesses."

Ulloa equally blamed the rise in child trafficking on the State's strategy against drug trafficking. “Generally, we see an increase in trafficking, more violations of women’s rights, more consumption of prostitution and more femicide [gender based murders] in areas where anti-drug operations are taking place.”

El Heraldo


Sep. 22, 2011

See also:

Latest News

A sample of other important news stories and commentaries

Added: Aug. 05, 2011

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Mexico

LibertadLatina Commentary

Indigenous women and children in Mexico

During the over ten years that the LibertadLatina project has existed, our ongoing analysis of the crisis of sexual abuse in the Americas has lead us to the conclusion that our top priority should be to work to achieve an end to the rampant sex trafficking and exploitation that perennially exists in Mexico. Although many crisis hot spots call out for attention across Latin America and the Caribbean, working to see reform come to Mexico appeared to be a critical first step to achieving major change everywhere else in the region.

We believe that this analysis continues to be correct. We also recognize the fact that the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia are other emergency zones of crisis. We plan to expand our coverage of these and other issues as resources permit.

Mexico is uniquely situated among the nations of the Americas, and therefore requires special attention from the global effort to end modern human slavery.


  • Is the world's largest Spanish speaking nation

  • Includes a long contiguous border with the U.S., thus making it a transit point for both 500,000 voluntary (but vulnerable) migrants each year as well as for victims of human slavery