Guatemala National Call-In Day

Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2000 07:55:28 -0400 (EDT)

Dear All,

The other e-mail on Guatemala human rights abuses and the part you can play in helping to heal a nation...Note that the action it refers to is for today, Wednesday. Thank you.



"I have only dreams: to build a better world, a world of harmony and understanding, a world in which it is a joy to live. This is not asking for too much." -- Yitzhak Rabin

Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2000 03:00:38 -0400
Subject: National Call-In Day: URGENT ACTION

Dear All:

Please join concerned human rights groups around the country THIS WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, for a NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY to demand justice in Bishop Gerardi's case.

Today, April 26, is the two-year anniversary of the brutal assassination of Bishop Juan Gerardi, a leading human rights advocate in Guatemala and coordinator of the Catholic Church's truth seeking project, the Recovery of the Historical Memory (REMHI). Bishop Gerardi was bludgeoned to death just two days after the presentation of the REMHI report, the first public report about the systemic violations of human rights during the nation's 36 year civil war (1960-1996). The scathing report attributed the vast majority of the human rights abuses--estimated at 200,000 deaths and disappearances--to the Guatemalan Army. It found that the armed forces targeted the civilian population, above all indigenous women and children. Its conclusions were later corroborated by the official UN Historical Clarification's Report, which found that during the early 1980s, the Guatemalan Army's abuses were part of a campaign of genocide against the Mayan people.

Bishop Gerardi's murder marked the first time in the violent history of Guatemala that a bishop has been assassinated. Yet the perpetrator remains shielded with impunity. After 18 months of slow and troubled investigations, Col. Byron Lima Estrada--who was trained both at the U.S. Army School of the Americas and by a U.S. Army Mobile Training Team--and his son, Capt. Byron Lima Oliva, were detained in connection with the assassination. However, it remains to be seen if any of the perpetrators will ever be prosecuted.

Join human rights groups around the world today in denouncing thelingering impunity for human rights violators in Guatemala. Do your part in this country and take a few minutes and demand that the Guatemalan government and its major fundor and supporter during the civil war, the U.S. government, push for the prosecution of this horrendous and symbolic crime.

1) Please call the Guatemalan Embassy and urge the Guatemalan Government to:

  • Clarify the Bishop Gerardi assassination as President Portillo promised during his campaign and in his inaugural speech
  • Investigate fully institutional involvement in the crime or cover-up to bring an end to impunity.
  • Use the Gerardi case to begin dismantling the wall of impunity that prevails in Guatemala.
  • Implement the recommendations of the Recuperation of Historical Memory (REMHI) report and the Historical Clarification Commission (CEH) report.

Guatemalan Embassy, Washington, D.C., tel. 202-745-4952
OR the Guatemalan Consulate in:
Los Angeles, 213-365-9251;
San Francisco, 415-788-5651;
Coral Gables, 305-679-9945/46/47/48;
Chicago, 312-332-1587;
New York, 212-686-3837;
Houston, 713-985-9531;
Washington, DC, 202-745-4952, ext. 106 and 107.

2) Please call the White House and urge President Clinton to:

  • Follow up his historic acknowledgment to the Guatemalan people for the U.S. government's past role in supporting repression in Guatemala by paying reparations to the victims of war.
  • Urge the Guatemalan government to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of Bishop Gerardi and comply with the recommendations of REMHI and the CEH.
  • Continue the ban on military aid to Guatemala.
  • Protect the rights of Guatemalan immigrants residing in the U.S., many of whom fled the violence in Guatemala, by urging Congress to pass HR 36, Central American and Caribbean Adjustment Act.
  • Continue to declassify U.S. government documents on human rights violations in Guatemala.

The White House, Washington, D.C. 202-456-1414

For more information about:

Thank you for your support.

For more information about National Call-In Day:
Guatemala News and Information Bureau (GNIB)
3181 Mission Street Box 12
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone/fax: (415) 826-3593

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