Back in May, 2009, the country of Guatemala was pushed into a social and political crisis: an attorney by the name of Rodrigo Rosenberg had been killed while riding his bicycle. Days after his alleged murder, a video surfaced in which Rosenberg stated that if he was dead, it was because the president of Guatemala, Alvaro Colom (among others), had ordered his death. The details are pretty intricate, but the main facts are that Rosenberg had been dating a woman, Marjorie Musa, who was killed along with her father. Rosenberg was allegedly investigating their murder, and in his video he stated this was one of the reasons why the President and others wanted him killed.
Needless to say, the country went into a downward spiral of chaos. People protested, vigils were had, Facebook groups were created, the President was asked to step down, etc., etc. As all things in Guatemala, things calmed down after a few weeks and not much was heard after. The Guatemala Commission Against Impunity (“CICIG”) was now in charge of the investigation, and was promising to bring justice and transparency. The CICIG was created a couple years ago, and is a joint enterprise between the United Nations and Guatemala to try and combat impunity, largely by having an investigatory body that is not affiliated with the country of Guatemala, and thus less susceptible to corruption. Indeed, the head of the organization, Carlos Castresana, hails from Spain, and many within the organization come from a variety of other countries. Thus far, the CICIG had been steadfast in changing legislation and recommending crucial changes to the judicial system. Although it has tried to implement change, it has constantly had to go on an all-out war to achieve anything, since most people who have to approve anything this commission does are happy with the way things are done in Guatemala. Up until recently, the people of Guatemala were generally optimistic and hopeful about the presence of the CICIG and the work it was doing.
However, the CICIG has recently lost much credibility within the Guatemalan public. This is because they recently reported their findings on the Rosenberg case, in which they stated that Rosenberg set up the assassination himself–orchestrating his own death. This news even made it to the New York Times. I checked out the CICIG’s website (which for my luck was not in existence when I was writing a research paper on the commission!), and found a powerpoint presentation on their findings. Granted, it’s all in Spanish, but they seem to have done quite a bit of homework to come to their conclusion. I honestly don’t know who to believe. The report states that Rosenberg was depressed because of the murder of his girlfriend, and because his wife was threatening to take away visitation of their children. Granted, some people get so depressed they decide to kills themselves, but to go the extra mile and orchestrate your own assassination to involve the President of the country, with a plot that was pretty intricate and involved at least a dozen different people? It’s hard to believe. I think Rosenberg would have had to have some strong feelings against the President in order to give his own life to bring the President down.
I applaud the CICIG for actually doing an investigation, which is a step further than Guatemala would have done without the CICIG, but I still wonder if the investigation has any merit to it.