Weekly News Roundup

January 30th – February 3rd

National News

  • Seven Guatemalans are bringing a class action lawsuit against the US government for using them as subjects in a scientific experiment.  The case is being brought in a Washington DC District Court on behalf of 700 soldiers, mental health patients, and orphans who were deliberately infected with gonorrhea but never given medical treatment or any type of compensation.
  • Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams traveled to Guatemala to investigate crimes against women.  The 1997 American Peace Prize winner and spokeswoman for the Nobel Women’s Initiative led a delegation of 20 on a tour of Mexico and Central America.
  • The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) awarded Guatemalan Fredy Peccerelli and American Kate Doyle with the Alba Activism Award for their work in human rights.  Peccerelli is the director of the Foundation of Forensic Anthropology and Doyle has been part of truth commissions in several countries including Guatemala.
  • Mutual Support Group (Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo) brought a criminal complaint against 3 former guerillas for the massacre of 22 campesinos that occurred on November 24, 1988 in El Aguacate.  The charges were brought now because the commander, Perdo Palma Lau, has now lost immunity.
  • GHRC board member Jean-Marie Simon was covered by an article in the New York Times.   It highlights her role as chronicler of violence during the civil war.  Her book “Guatemala: Eternal Spring, Eternal Tyranny” documents the worst of the violence during the war years and is currently being re-printed.
  • GHRC signed a letter published in El Periodico to Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz denouncing the assassination of artist Victor Leiva.  A year has passed since his death but a killer has not yet been identified.

International News

  • Adrián Ventura, the director of the Community Worker’s Center in New Bedford, MA, was attacked at gunpoint during the middle of the day.  The identity of the attackers in still unknown.    Adrián is of Mayan descent and a survivor of political persecution in Guatemala.  He was forced to flee his homeland, and now lives in Massachusetts where he works as an advocate for immigrant’s rights.  He recently pressured a local employment agency, EDA Staffing, to improve the working conditions for their employees, many of whom are immigrants.  Read the article in English and in Spanish.
  • Al-Jazeera published an article on the Rios Montt trial that analyzes how the defense attorney will defend the former dictator, who is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity.

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