X-Judy Entry 6: Guatemala Gets it Done

Guatemala may be a small country, but when it comes to the X-Judys, they play with the big boys:

19th February, 2007: A burned-out car containing the charred corpses of three Salvadoran officials and their driver is found in the countryside near Guatemala City. The bodies are identified as Eduardo D’Aubuisson, William Pichinte, and Jose Ramon Gonzalez, all members of El Salvador’s then-ruling ARENA party. (If D’Aubuisson’s name rings a bell, that’s because his father was Roberto D’Aubuisson, founder of ARENA and fan of Hitler and blowtorches.) The three men had been visiting Guatemala as representatives of Parlacen, the Central American Parliament. Their car had disappeared from a police-led convoy the night before.

21st February, 2007: Guatemalan President Berger announces that the FBI will be assisting in the investigation of the murders. But not because the Guatemalan police can’t be trusted, or anything. Just because the FBI has all of these newfangled toys, like “DNA testing,” and “actual forensic methodology.”

22nd February, 2007: Wow, that didn’t take long! Luis Herrera, the head of the Guatemalan Police’s special unit on organized crime, and three of his officers are arrested for the Salvadorans’ murder. It turns out that they didn’t know that the police vehicle that they used to kidnap the men had a GPS tracking system. Which places them at the times/places of the kidnapping and murder. Photographs from traffic cameras corroborate the men’s movements that night, and clearly show who was in the car. The men confess quickly, claiming that they were confused -they thought that their victims were drug dealers. Which would, of course, have made everything totally okay. Carlos Vielmann, Guatemala’s interior minister, releases a public statement claiming that the arrests are a sign of newfound dedication to cleaning up corruption.

25th February, 2007: Oops, not so fast! Herrera and co. are murdered in El Boqueron prison, the maximum-security facility where they had been taken after their arrest. The government initially claims that they were killed during a prison riot, but news sources note that there was confusion about whether the riot started before or after the men were killed. However, eyewitnesses and the New York Times report that armed men in riot gear and ski masks stormed the prison, went through seven sets of locked doors, and murdered the men without any resistance from Boqueron’s guards.

2 March, 2007: Reporters Without Borders voices its support of Cable Guatevision, a Guatemalan TV station that has been receiving death threats ever since airing a report on the Feb. 25th murders at El Boqueron. In a rather charming understatement, it notes that recent events have given “reason to fear” that the police and security systems might have been infiltrated by criminals. (Um, what tipped you off?)

The Following Several Months: Guatemalan government shrugs shoulders, says “investigating high-level corruption and organized crime is hard!!”, makes no progress on solving the case.

19 June 2007: El Salvador’s President Tony Saca issues a statement condemning Guatemala’s lack of progress in solving the case.

Since Then: What, you haven’t forgotten about this yet? Those dudes were killed ages ago. I mean, seriously, by now they’d probably be dead of old age! This whole thing is totes a downer, so we’re just going to let it go. You know, for the good of the children. And the future. And puppies. We love puppies. You love puppies too, right? Nice puppy you’ve got at home, for instance. It would be a shame if something were to happen to that puppy of yours.

Right Now: Just saying.

Amanda Taub

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