LETTER: OAS urged not to be complicit in human rights violations in Guatemala

On December 1st, 2020, Xinka, Ixil and Garifuna authorities met with a mission from the Organization of American States (OAS). They called on the OAS to recommend that President Giammetei and the Congress’ Executive Council resign and cease attacks against the Constitutional Court and Human Rights Ombudsperson.

See below for a joint letter issued by the B’oq’ol Q’esal Tenam (Ancestral Indigenous Authority of the Maya Ixil community) and the Xinka Parliament to the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro.

Read the original letter in Spanish here.

November 27th, 2020
Guatemala

Mr. Luis Almagro
Secretary General of the Organization of American States
Washington D.C., United States

Dear Mr. Almagro,

We write to you from Maya Ixil territory in the Quiche department, and from Xinka territory in the departments of Jalapa, Jutiapa, and Santa Rosa, in Guatemala, Central America, and we are writing with regards to the following:

The B’oq’ol Q’esal Tenam (Ancestral Indigenous Authority of the Maya Ixil people) and the Xinka Parliament have been informed that today an OAS Commision, lead by Mr. Fulvio Pomeo arrived in Guatemala. Mr. Pomeo is an Argentinian government official who was present during Mr. Jimmy Morales’ plan to purchase aircrafts from Argentina. As such, Mr. Pomeo holds direct interests in Guatemala, and is therefore an unsuitable person to lead this mission. Because of this, we have no confidence in him. Furthermore, we categorically reject the decision by the Secretary of the OAS to undertake this visit, required by the government of Guatemala, as it constitutes a mechanism for Alejandro Giammatei and his government to legitimize the grave violations of human rights committed by his administration. On Saturday, November 21st, state security forces committed brutal violations of human rights, while presumed government-backed infiltrators caused damage to state property, specifically to the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala building.

We call for the Secretary of the OAS to support the demands of the Maya, Xinka, Garifuna and mestizo communities of Guatemala, which have been communicated in several publications by our communities and organizations. Our indignation pushed us to demonstrate peacefully, asking for the resignation of the President, Members of Congress, and other corrupt officials. Our president labelled these actions ‘terrorism’, and as the cause of the instability of state institutionality.

In lieu of endorsing the corrupt government of Giammatei, we ask the OAS to advise Giammatei to resign and to verify the grave human rights violations and the closure of democratic spaces, which are contributing to the consolidation of power in the hands of the government of the pact of the the corrupt, headed by Mr. Alejandro Giammatei. This includes the Executive Council of the Congress of the Republic, Members of Congress who voted in favour of the 2021 National Budget, various judges in the Supreme Court of Justice, the Court of Appeals, and judges who are part of the pact of the corrupt.

It is the government that has caused the institutional crisis in Guatemala, not the Guatemalan people. Additionally, the intention of the public is not to stage a coup d’etat. It is the corrupt officials who have co-opted the state and provoked a crisis. After more than one year, corrupt deputies have yet to complete the process to appoint Court Magistrates, and responded violently against peaceful demonstrators on November 21st, 2020, ordering repressive tactics against demonstrators and, presumably, inflicting damage to the Congress of the Republic building themselves.

In conclusion, the Guatemalan government does not govern to support our communities, democracy, or human rights; it governs for the strengthening of corruption, organized crime, the mafia, and impunity. It has expelled the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), and it is currently undermining the Constitution Court and the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity. The Congress has refused to select Magistrates for the Courts of Justice and has defied verdicts from the Constitutional Court. The Supreme Court of Justice has criminalized Constitutional Court Magistrates; judges and magistrates who are not associated with the pact of the corrupt. Our rights and urgent community needs are not being upheld or attended to, and now, Mr. Giammatei asks for support from the OAS to keep him in power, under the guise that the institutional democracy of the state is at risk.

We reiterate our request that the Secretariat of the OAS must not be complicit in human rights violations carried out by Guatemala’s corrupt government, and that similar incidents do not come to pass in other countries in Latin America where the Secretariat has supported governments who work in the shadows of society. Furthermore, we request open communication regarding the agenda of this mission, and that meetings be public and transparent, which will allow the government’s grievances against the population to be known.

We look forward to receiving your response, which can be sent to: [email protected] and [email protected], and to (502) 4218 4265 and (502) 3104 8124. We are extremely grateful.

Sincerely,

For B’oq’ol Q’asal Tenam Naab’a’:

Miguel de Leon Ceto
B’aza B’oq’ol Q’esal Tenam
Primer Alcalde Indígena Maya Ixil de Nebaj

For the Xinka Parliament:

Aleisar Arana Morales
Huxi Hurak
Presidente del Parlamento Xinka

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