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GUATEMALA:
FEARS FOR SAFETY OF LEADERS IN GUATEMALA

Update info:
3 Apr 2013
Country:
GUATEMALA
Subject:
Encarnación Marcos, Rigoberto Aguilar, Rodolfo López and Roberto González
Gender: m
Period:
30 Apr 2013
Distribution date:
3 Apr 2013
UA No:
067/2013

Four Xinca indigenous leaders were kidnapped near Mataquescuintla, Jalapa department in Eastern Guatemala after participating in a public meeting. One was killed; the other three survived the attack.

On 17 March, four Xinca leaders – Encarnación Marcos, Rigoberto Aguilar, Rodolfo López and Roberto González – participated in a public event held in the El Volcancito hamlet, San Rafael Las Flores, where they acted as observers at a community-organised consultation on mining in the area. Following the event, the four men left El Volcancito at 8.30pm. At approximately 9.15pm, as they were approaching Mataquescuintla, their vehicle was stopped by approximately 12 men in two trucks. The heavily armed men, who were wearing balaclavas, forced them into the trucks. Rigoberto Aguílar and Rodolfo López were released at different times during the night; Rigoberto Aguílar had reportedly been beaten.

In the early morning of 18 March, Encarnación Marcos was found dead: his body had been thrown into a ditch and his hands were tied. One of the pickup trucks had been left near the corpse. Initial press reports indicate Encarnación Marcos had been strangled to death.

As Roberto González was still missing, community members took to the streets and blockaded the road to Jalapa throughout the day. At 5.00pm, negotiations between indigenous leaders of Santa María Xalapán, the Catholic Church, and government authorities were held to try to resolve the crisis. Hours later, Roberto López was found alive in Chimaltenango, near Guatemala City, in as yet unclear circumstances.

The four activists are from the community of Santa María Xalapán in Jalapa department, Eastern Guatemala. They hold official roles in the traditional Xinca indigenous authorities and have been campaigning on a range of social issues. Amnesty International is gravely concerned for the safety of Rigoberto Aguilar, Rodolfo López and Roberto González.

Take action

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

  • Urging the authorities to take immediate steps to provide all necessary protection to the three Xinca leaders of Santa María Xalapán in accordance with their wishes;
  • Calling for an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Encarnación Marcos and the kidnapping of Rigoberto Aguilar, Rodolfo López and Roberto González, with the results made public and those responsible brought to justice.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 30 APRIL 2013 TO:
President of the Republic
Otto Pérez Molina
Presidente de la República
Casa Presidencial
6ª Avenida 4-41, Zona 1,
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2221 4423
Twitter: @ottoperezmolina
Salutation: Dear President / Estimado Sr. Presidente

Attorney General
Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey
Fiscal General de la República
Ministerio Público
15ª Avenida 15-16, Zona 1, Barrio Gerona
01001 Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2411 8168
Salutation: Dear Attorney General / Sra. Fiscal General

And copies to:

UDEFEGUA (NGO)
Unidad de protección a defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos
1 Calle 7-45 zona 1, Oficina 2-b,
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
E-mail: udefegua@yahoo.com

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.