2008-02. Chupina Barahona, Death Does Not Absolve You
February 24th, 2008
Guatemala City, Guatemala.
February 23, 2008.
Issue: Genocide / Impunity / Justice
Text: Communiqué by HIJOS Guatemala
Photography, Captions and Sp-Eng Translation: MiMundo.org
On Saturday, February 23rd, the organization HIJOS Guatemala publicly condemned the recently deceased German Chupina Barahona. Former director of the National Police during the Military Dictatorship of Romeo Lucas Garcia, Chupina Barahona died at home despite having charges against him for genocide and crimes against humanity. Members from HIJOS Guatemala read the following communiqué during the event which took place in front of the former National Police Headquarters which currently host the Ministry of the Interior:
Impunity Protected the Genocidal Chupina until His Death
German Chupina Barahona, accused of carrying out Genocide, served as special assessor to [former dictator] Arana Osorio, known as the Jackal from the Orient, during his wave of repression which left a trail of death and terror. During the military dictatorship of Romeo Lucas Garcia, Chupina served as director of the National Police, directly participating in the assassinations of Oliveiro Castañeda de Leon, Alberto Fuentes Mohr, Manuel Colom Argueta, abduction and forced disappearance of labor union leaders from the National Workers Central (CNT), as well as the burning down of the Spanish Embassy, among many other acts of terror, extermination, and impunity.
Chupina is one of the seven criminals who are currently undergoing a judicial process for crimes against humanity within the Spanish court system. The Spanish National Audience requested the detention of such criminals, five being military personnel and two civilians. A local court did file arrest warrants against five of the seven accused.
Nevertheless, following the footsteps of other former Latin-American military tyrants, such as the assassin Pinochet, Chupina Barahona claimed illness and entered a hospital so as to delay the legal process. In December 2007, Guatemala’s highest judicial tribunal, the Constitutionality Court, ruled in favor of the accused. It was then when Chupina returned under complete impunity to his home. On February 18, Chupina died in his home with his loved ones while thousands of Guatemalans still await some sort of justice to be carried out.
A lack of will by the Guatemalan Judicial System to process war criminals is clear. Even though death caught up with Chupina before being publicly recognized as the criminal he was, we believe DEATH DOES NOT ABSOLVE HIM. Our authorities are fully responsible and should neither stall nor derail a judicial process against those still alive, in addition to those who are now shielded by death (Chupina Barahona and Romeo Lucas Garcia).
The shadow of terror cast upon by them must be known by the new generations, the youth of today and tomorrow – we have a right to know the truth. To our “authorities”: We demand Justice Now! Death to military impunity!
CHUPINA BARAHONA, DEATH DOES NEITHER ABSOLVE NOR GRANT YOU FORGIVENESS!
WE DON’T FORGET, WE DON’T FORGIVE, WE WON’T RECONCILE.
Besides members of HIJOS, others present also stated their thoughts and feelings. While expressing herself, Marylena Bustamante displayed a small billboard with a photograph of her disappeared brother which read: “Emil Bustamante: Detained-disappeared by the Guatemalan Army on February 13, 1982. Seen alive, yet brutally tortured, in the Matamoros military garrison on March 23, 1982, day in which Rios Montt carried out a coup d’état.”
The former National Police Headquarters are located along the highly transited 6th Avenue in Zone 1 of the Capital City. Hence, a number of people walking by stopped to listen.
Raul Najera explains how German Chupina Barahona’s legacy to the current Civil National Police includes a number of repression methods still used today and are directly responsible for the present-day social insecurity which Guatemala struggles with.
“Danger: Police in the Vicinity”.
Iduvina Hernandez, well known and respected human rights activist, summarizes the event’s principal sentiment: “German Chupina Barahona: Assassin today and always!”
Versión en español aquí.