Guatemala: H.I.J.O.S. Reject Impunity

By handing complete impunity to the high-ranking military officials  responsible for Genocide between 1978 and 1985, the Guatemalan Judiciary system has stricken a severe blow against Justice. The children and family members of the hundreds of thousands of victims forcibly disappeared, tortured, and massacred, are speaking out to reject the current Guatemalan judiciary system and demand an end to impunity.

Text: Communiqué by H.I.J.O.S.
Photography & Sp-Eng Translation:

 “A number of social sectors rejected the December 13 ruling by the Constitutional Court (Guatemala’s highest judicial body), as it declared that Spain had no jurisdiction in prosecuting five former military leaders (including three former heads of state) and two civilians. All seven have been accused of Genocide during the 1980s as well as participating in the burning down of the Spanish Embassy on January 31, 1980, where 37 people were killed, including several Spanish citizens. Nearly 30 years have passed since hundreds of massacres took place and not a single person has been processed by law.” (1)

H.I.J.O.S. Guatemala emitted the following communiqué and, in line with its ideology, also pronounced its opinions in public spaces.


By handing complete impunity to the high-ranking military officials responsible for Genocide between 1978 and 1985, the Guatemalan Judiciary system has stricken a severe blow against Justice. We, the children and family members of the hundreds of thousands of victims forcibly disappeared, tortured, and massacred, firmly REJECT THE CURRENT GUATEMALAN JUDICIARY SYSTEM AND DEMAND AN END TO IMPUNITY WHICH FEEDS THE EXISTING SYSTEM OF VIOLENCE.

In our history, there have been numerous processes seeking to build a different JUSTICE in Guatemala. Such processes, in conjunction with those involving popular resistance, have attempted to vindicate true justice which, along with dignity, remains as a key element which could and will pave the road to true equality.

Numerous different movements, including the revolutionary ones comprised by labor unions, teachers, students, peasants, and indigenous folk, in addition to the historical ones which have sought to find those forcibly disappeared by the Guatemalan State, have vindicated Justice from a perspective of transformation: Handing to the people once again what is rightly theirs, instead of snatching it away and giving it to the few who control the most.

Today, most of us who raise our voice were born and raised under the imposition of laws which defend a regime who has imposed its own justice by means of privileged courtrooms, clandestine prisons, mass graves, and torture centers, where military rule was applied to strictly benefit business interests by the methodic use of rape, mutilation and horrific torture methods like nail-pulling.
This so-called Law became a tool and weapon of mass destruction as the military governments’ plans were designed to scorch the earth and drain the water from the fish.

As we continued to grow, true justice continued to be rejected in the justice tribunals: First, because the accused commissioner was the General’s nephew, then, because the assassin was the sugar baron.

In such ways, the judiciary processes which we have witnessed have granted complete freedom to assassins by means of immunity and impunity. The civilian governments which one day claimed to stop the cycle of military coups, ended up protecting those who would oppress at their orders and, by doing so, placed a stronghold on their model of justice so as to truly open up to the global market and apply their neoliberal plans.

In the end, the LAW which they have imposed on us is the same one we reject, that which attempts against our wellbeing: a Law synonym with repression and impunity.

We once again vindicate and pledge our support to the true JUSTICE which will transform this system. And, as we continually decline the acceptance of their rotten system of laws and justice, we have and will continue to be pursued, harassed, and criminalized by the rich.

These self-named patriots, veterans in the application of terror, often seek justice outside our own borders. Yet, when it arrives, they once again recall the anticommunist speech despite having blatantly sold out our nation to the Empire of the North.

Nowadays, assassins and sell-outs constantly speak of Justice. Yet, simultaneously, they attempt to forcibly submit us to their insane plan for forgiveness as well as a reconciliatory plan imported from the minds of the north. How can reconciliation truly exist when justice is denied for the nation’s dead while the assailants mock history?

These are the reasons why we walk our path, raise the utopist banners of life, and refuse to give up our struggles: so as to justify the amnesia of the genocidal and betraying army. When the time comes, liberty will be denied to them; Justice will be on our side.

We will not give back the Justice which they imposed on us, because thanks to the example set by our heroes and martyrs we firmly believe that those who have carried out the orders are not the intellectual actors. Instead, we will direct our forces against those who have manipulated the system in order to maintain hegemony.

For us, JUSTICE will come on the day when all Guatemalans break the silence and point out those responsible. On the day when the monuments honoring assassins are brought down and instead, memorials honoring our loved ones are erected – They who offered their lives for political transformation for the masses. The day when Education retells the true history. The day when all families can go to a grave and mourn their loved ones who were forcibly disappeared. The day when the military can accept their mistake of having served the rich as well as foreign interests. The day when the soldiers, themselves sons of peasants, will turn about and offer their weapons to the service of the people and so as to signal those responsible for the economic and military atrocities.

Until that day comes, and while criminals and assassins continue to be freed and protected by the LAW of IMPUNITY, MEMORY and JUSTICE will continue to pursue them as well as the ones who today make the mistake of shielding those who have stained our history with blood and hunger.

The Impunity imposed today signifies that the people will have to build, from their own history, the processes of a struggle which will lead to the consolidation of Justice and Truth, in addition to the signaling, trial, and collective incarceration of the military and oligarchic assassins.

We reject and repudiate the high-ranking military officials and their accomplices responsible for impunity.

We don’t Forget, we don’t Forgive, we won’t Reconciliate. Justice Now!!

(Acronym for: Sons and Daughters for Identity and Justice, against Forgetfulness and Silence)

Versión en español aquí.

1 Orantes, Coralia. “Rechazan resolución de la CC en caso España”. Prensa Libre, December 18, 2007.