2009-05. Rosenberg Video Unleashes Political Crisis and Deepens Social Division
May 14th, 2009
Guatemala City, Guatemala. May 13th, 2009. Issue: Impunity / Justice / Society
The release of a posthumous video by recently murdered lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg has unleashed the worst political crisis in the current administration. Last Monday, May 11th and one day after Rosenberg’s assassination, a video began circulating in which Rosenberg himself states: “If you are watching this, it is because I was murdered by President Alvaro Colom.” Colom’s wife and two close aids, who were major campaign contributors, are also mentioned by name. A great uncertainty over what will happen next, in addition to extreme tension due to the unbearable wave of violence, have gripped the capital city.
As a result of the crisis, two very different protests were carried out in the central park of Guatemala City. The first gathering brought thousands of demonstrators who angrily demand justice for Rosenberg’s death in addition to a resolution for the out-of-control violence in which Guatemalan society lives today. This first group, composed primarily by residents from the wealthier sectors, also demands the immediate resignation of President Colom.
“Guatemalan Unity! Together for Peace”
“I am Rodrigo. We want Justice”
“We demand Justice”
“Wanted for Murder. Reward: Justice”
“No more Fear. No more Violence. No more Blood. No more Silence. No More!”
“Murderers. We demand incarceration.”
Simultaneously, dozens of buses brought hundreds of organized people to show their support for President Colom in front of the Presidential Palace. These governmental sympathizers come primarily from low-income shantytowns, known as asentamientos, within the outskirts of Guatemala City. During a live CNN interview on Tuesday the 12th, President Colom admitted his UNE party had strong presence and support in such areas. These demonstrators claim that Colom’s government is victim of a movement seeking political instability. Despite the tensions among the groups, no violent confrontations occurred.
“Mr. President, the People are with you. Zone 21.”
“We would like to thank the government and his wife for the help they bring to the asentamientos.”
Part 1 of the posthumous video by attorney Rodrigo Rosenberg (with English subtitles).
Part 2 of the posthumous video by attorney Rodrigo Rosenberg (with English subtitles).
James Rodriguez: Independent documentary photographer and photojournalist.
Available For: Long or short-term assignments in the Americas or abroad. Spot News, Editorial, NGO/NPO project documentation, Travel Photography, Events, Sports/Action.
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Primary Focus: Exposing and documenting social justice issues, particularly those involving land tenure, human rights abuses, post-war processes, negative effects of globalization.