It has been a very packed week here in Guatemala since the recent arrest of General López Fuentes. Last Monday, June 20th, NISGUA was present at an emotional court hearing in which the former Army Chief of Staff was formally indicted on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and forced disappearance.
The trial date for López Fuentes was set for September 21, 2011. This is a critical time for accompaniment, both here on the ground and in the US. In anticipation of the trial, we are asking all of you to write letters to the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR), expressing your support as they prepare for this historic trial. We will receive all of your messages and deliver them personally to the group before the trial and express our international support for their important work! (See details below.)
To give you a sense of the coverage here on the ground, we have translated an important article published in El Periódico, which includes eyewitness testimony from members of the AJR. News of the arrest comes during an important month for historical memory in Guatemala. Read more about the National Day Against Forced Disappearance and stay tuned for coverage of the Day of Heroes and Martyrs on Thursday, June 30th.
What you can do to support this historic moment:
- Gather and celebrate! As you know, NISGUA activists across the country are preparing to host summer house parties for the sake of educating their communities, raising funds, and taking action for justice in Guatemala. Please share this recent victory with your family and friends by signing up to host a house party today! See our house party guide for more information and for how to get involved.
Those of you who are already signed up to host, please consider incorporating this past week’s news into your house party through the following ways
- Solidarity Notes: Write notes or cards to show your support for the Guatemalan leaders at the forefront of this struggle! (Please address notes to the AJR as an organization and not to individuals.)
Mail your notes to the NISGUA Oakland office:
436 14th St., Suite 409
Oakland, CA 94612
- Advocacy: We encourage you to make use of the following López Fuentes Case Talking Points for engaging in local grassroots advocacy such as actions, events, educational opportunities, or for use at your houseparty. Please contact Lara if you would like to talk through any advocacy ideas that you are interested in leading!
- Media work: We ask you to please share the following NISGUA press release about the López Fuentes case far and wide, particularly with any media contacts you may have. In addition, these talking points can help guide you in writing letters to the editor. We are also available to coordinate quotes and interviews!
- Calling all Bay Area supporters! Please join the NISGUA community this Thursday June 30th at Sunrise Restaurant in San Francisco's Mission District as we celebrate our organization's 30th Year Anniversary and this recent victory in Guatemala! Come enjoy delicious Latin American cuisine as you support human rights work in Guatemala.
Check out the restaurant's website: http://sunriserestaurantsf.com/Welcome.html
Where: Sun Rise Restaurant
3126 24th St., San Francisco
When: 6:00pm (A brief presentation will take place 7pm!)
**20% of all consumption goes toward NISGUA.**
Also, feel free to bring some extra cash, as you will have the chance to also support an on-the-ground, human rights accompanier, Megan Whelan, who begin her work in Guatemala this fall. To find out more about her work, read about our Guatemala Accompaniment Project (2012 recruitment starting soon!)