Dangerous fight against violence in Guatemala | Vanishing Point

Guatemala is one of the countries in the world with the highest rates of violence, a problem to which the inequality, discrimination, racism and corruption. In this context, Jordán Rodas, the country’s Human Rights Ombudsman, works, the equivalent of the Ombudsman in Spain, a figure born from the 1986 Constitution dedicated to defending and promoting human rights throughout the country and supervising public administration.

Poverty in Guatemala is the beginning of all that violence, according to Rodas. “When there is poverty in families, it is difficult to provide education, it is difficult to provide health, food and all of these are factors to have a decent life. And in Guatemala there are no conditions for a dignified life today, that is why many compatriots have to emigrate ”.

50% of Guatemalan children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition. “Without enough nutrients, it will be impossible for him to learn at school, and that will reduce his chances of having a decent job later,” he laments.

The situation is perpetuated by a the status quo political and economic that the Procurator describes as “a predatory elite with little solidarity.” On the occasion of the fulfillment, this year, of 25 years of the peace accords, Rodas criticizes the lack of political will of the current and previous governments to address the structural problems of the country.

Rhodes has denounced the lack of democracy, impunity and persecution of journalists and defenders of human rights. Since he came to office in 2017, he has suffered an “isolation” from the rest of the State institutions, especially after former President Jimmy Morales expelled the Internal Commission against Impunity from Guatemala. Even so, he says “calm”, although he has had to take “precautionary measures due to threats” in the form of messages.

“I was like hair in soup to him the status quo, and warning messages were arriving that he was calmer“, remember. For this reason, he must go with bodyguards, something that, he says, he assumes with responsibility.

In his work of supervision of the public administration, he has encountered corruption in multiple areas. For example, in the lack of medical personnel or supply of medicines in the health centers of some municipalities. “There are schools without desks, roads that are inaugurated one year and that same year are already collapsing.” A corruption that, he says, comes from the “complicity of an unscrupulous businessman who agrees to illicitly enrich himself at the expense of what the Guatemalan people would have to have.”

Forced disappearences

The internal armed conflict between 1960 and 1996 left more than 40,000 disappeared in Guatemala. One of them Rodas’ older brother, Joaquín Rodas Andrade, disappeared on March 2, 1984 in the regime of the Military Óscar Humberto Mejía. There were also massacres such as that of Sepur Zarco.

From Spain, the Procurator is seeking the support of the Basque Agency for Development Cooperation and the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation, which provide it with sufficient resources to have specialized technical staff to investigate these cases.

“Fortunately in Guatemala these cases of disappearances were not put under the rug, it has cost a lot. There are judges persecuted for this, not only for trying and prosecuting the corrupt, but also for crimes against humanity ”, explains Rodas.

The Attorney General warns that “Guatemala is little of being a dictatorship“And suffer another armed conflict because the reasons for the 36-year war” are still valid, “he assures.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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