2008-05. Ambush-Protest at Mejia Victores’ Home
May 15th, 2008
Guatemala City, Guatemala.
May 3, 2008.
Issue: Impunity / Justice / Historic Memory
“Revealed in May 1999, a declassified document deemed the Military Diary
describes a number of human rights violations directly ordered by former General Humberto Mejia Victores during his tenure as Dictator from 1982 to 1985. The torture, abduction and forced disappearance of 170 Guatemalans are clearly described in such document and form part of the more than 45,000 forced disappearances carried out by state security forces during the internal armed conflict.” (1)
“To this date, no military leader has been judged for crimes against humanity. As a result, we Guatemalans find the need to develop our own methods to point out those who have committed state terrorism so that they will not die under the blanket of impunity or forgetfulness.” (2)
“What is an ambush-protest? It is a tool used to seek and denounce publicly those criminals who have not been processed by due law. By using the mobilization of masses, artistic expression and the spread of consciousness, these criminals are signaled and ridiculed in their own social, economic, and political spaces.” (3)
“The ambush-protests promote the rescue of collective and historical memory by granting friends and family members of war-time victims and survivors a public tribune for expression; one which the justice system has denied them over the years.” (4)
“State terrorism and its consequential limitation of civil liberties was financed by the oligarchy and carried out by the Guatemalan armed forces. The tally from such policies left over 250,000 mortal victims and nearly 45,000 detained-disappeared during the war.” (5)
“We are trying to vindicate justice from a people’s perspective so as to empower those who have been denied such sought-after justice. Until now, the warped justice we have lived under has constantly sold itself out in courthouses and has been protected with fire arms.” (6)
The Problem of Militarism in Guatemala
“We define militarism as the use of an organized state force so as to confront diverse social, political, and economic issues. In Guatemala, such task has been delegated to the Army.” (7)
“As all social processes, Guatemala’s militarism must be contemplated within its historical context. In other words, it is imperative to analyze how the structures of power that control and nurture the armed forces have positioned themselves and continued to gain space in the political, social and economic arenas within the country. Such path of attained power by the armed forces began in the liberal era all through the internal armed conflict and has culminated in a reconfiguration of state-run power structures which impose authoritarianism, impunity and injustice.” (8)
“The considerate rise in military spending, the army’s participation in the regional race for technologically-improved military equipment, the application of national task forces, and recent participation in so-called international peace-keeping forces (such as the ones ran by the UN), can only reiterate that the Guatemalan Army continues to be an institution with the same political and warlike power as it was during the war years.” (9)
“Since its inception, the army has been closely tied to the dominant classes. Hence, it provides a vital support to the economic plans of neoliberal capitalism. Even when power disputes have arisen between these two groups, truces are often reached so as to suppress Guatemalan society in order to force this latter one to kneel down before certain political and economic interests. As both the oligarchy and army clearly showed during the internal armed conflict, they are both capable and willing to unleash the most horrific national holocaust so as to perpetuate themselves as lords of politics, culture and economy over the rest of Guatemalan society.” (10)
“Due to a conscientious vision of our history in addition to a dignified legacy of social struggles seeking true freedom and a fairer life, we have been forced to generate strategies destined to break the silence. Strategies which will confront, denounce, and act against those responsible for horrendous war crimes, the Genocide carried out in Guatemala, impunity, and what seems like an imminent remilitarization of the country.” (11)
“As a result, we demand: The immediate removal of the Army from our streets – no more combined Police and Military forces; The annulment of decree 40-2000 which legalizes Army members to patrol our streets in conjunction with National Civil Police officers.” (12)
“We demand the abolition of the June 30th [Army Day] and September 15th [Independence Day] military parades. Such display of force by the Army to Guatemalan society can only be considered offensive and a clear signal of impunity as the institution has been signaled for crimes against humanity by several justice systems [both at national and international levels]… It is paradoxical that after the signing of the Peace Accords [which ended a 36-year war] we still have such displays which contribute to the institutionalization of violence and totalitarianism in a country seeking to build democratic processes.” (13)
“Access to the military archives is also a must. We, as Guatemalans, hold a historic right to investigate, reconstruct, rescue, and assign state funds so as to clarify what truly occurred and seek genuine justice in those cases involving forced disappearances, massacres, extrajudicial executions, torture, and genocide.” (14)
“We ask all national and international organizations, Guatemalan citizens, and international solidarity members to pronounce themselves against the Genocidal Army, against its controlling hierarchies and against its symbols so that once and for all the armed forces will exit our schools, exit our streets, and exit our history.” (15)
Please contact the following emails if you wish to collaborate with H.I.J.O.S. Guatemala in order to stop all military parades or with any other action related to the current campaign: We do not want to arm you, We want to demilitarize you
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
For Memory, Truth and Justice
We don’t forget, we don’t forgive, we won’t reconcile
(Acronym for: Sons and Daughters for Identity and Justice, against Forgetfulness and Silence)
Versión en español aquí.
In Japanese: 日本語で。
1 HIJOS Guatemala. “3ra Embuscada al General Asesino Mejía Victores”; Flyer. Guatemala, May 2008.
5 HIJOS Guatemala. “Ante la Impunidad Militar, Justicia Popular”; Comuniqué. Guatemala, May 2008.
7 HIJOS Guatemala. “No Queremos Armarte, Queremos Desmilitarizarte”; Comuniqué. Guatemala, May 2008.