In Which Guatemala Clinches a Definitive X-Judy Win

Holy crap, guys. When we said that we couldn’t choose between Kenya and Guatemala for the title of Ultimate X-Judy champion, we weren’t suggesting that they should try harder to convince us. Apparently Guatemala understood things differently, however, because this is a doozy. Guatemalan lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg has accused the President Alvaro Colom of murder -his own.

Rosenberg was assassinated last weekend as he rode a bicycle near his home in Guatemala City. He had been representing two murdered anti-corruption activists, Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie, who were killed last March. Khalil had recently resigned from the board of Banrural, a Guatemalan bank rumored to be engaged in corruption on a massive scale. Supposedly, Guatemala’s President Colom had asked Musa to join the board, but then the bank never actually permitted him to take up that seat. Fearful that his good name was being used as windowdressing for criminal activity, Musa withdrew from the position that he’d never really been able to occupy in the first place. Apparently someone wasn’t cool with that, because Khalil and Marjorie were shot soon afterwards. (In public, in the middle of the day as they waited at a red light in a well-populated area. No one can accuse Guatemala of not knowing the X-Judy drill by now.)

Rosenberg anticipated his own death. Before he died, he recorded a short video accusing Colom, his wife Sandra de Colom, and his private secretary Gustavo Alejos of murdering him in retaliation for speaking out against the curruption at Banrural and the Musas’ assassination. They were posted on the website of Guatemala’s El Periodico, along with a copy of Rosenberg’s written statement. The videos are below, and a translation of the statement is included in full after the jump. It is heartbreaking, but well worth a read.

Via a helpful commenter at boingboing, a transcript of the written document left behind by Rodrigo Rosenberg before being shot to death:

Rodrigo Rosenberg’s Declaration, prior to his death

If you are reading this message, it means that I, Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano, was murdered by the President’s Private Secretary Gustavo Alejos and his associate Gregorio Valdez, with the approval of mister Alvaro Colom and Sandra de Colom.

The reason for which Gustavo Alejos and Gregorio Valdez have ordered my death, and for which the President of the Republic Alvaro Colom has approved it, is because until the day I was killed, I was the lawyer for two incredible Guatemalans, Mister Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie Musa, and knew exactly how Alvaro Colom, Sandra de Colom, Gustavo Alejos and Gregorio Valdez were responsible for this cowardly assassination, which I made known to them and to anyone who could and would hear me.

I was a 47 year old Guatemalan, with 4 beautiful children, with the best brother one could ask in life, with wonderful friends, and with an overwhelming desire to live in my country, but I could not have lived with myself without rebelling, arming myself with valor and denouncing before all Guatemalans who have principles and values the real reasons for the deaths of Mister Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie Musa, without regarding the consequences, and understanding that my life was in danger, I wanted to leave behind this testimony, should something come to happen to me, as it unfortunately did.

It was Alvaro Colom who, through Gustavo Alejos and Gregorio Valdez, asked for the collaboration of Mister Khalil Musa to form part, Ad honorem, of the board for Banrural, without Mister Khalil Musa being aware of the illegal, million-dollar business transactions taking place daily in Banrural, which range from money laundering to the deviation of public funds to non-existent programs belonging to the President’s wife, Sandra de Colom, as well as the funding of paper firms employed for drug-dealing.

It was Alvaro Colom, in agreement with Gustavo Alejos and Gregorio Valdez, who withheld Mister Khalil Musa’s already signed appointment, without his knowledge, for over three months, for in reality they had no intention whatsoever of granting him this post, but were using his good name with the argument that if new quotas of power were not distributed, Mister Khalil would denounce the corruption with which Banrural’s General Manager Fernando Peña operates this bank at his whim, for the service of Mrs. Sandra de Colom, as an associate and financier with the funds of the bank and of the businesses owned by Gregorio Valdez and Gustavo Alejos, without the bank’s president, José Angel López, doing anything to stop Fernando Peña from turning Banrural into the dwelling for thieves, drugdealers and murderers which it is now.

With the impunity with which Guatemalans in recent years have granted to thieves and murderers, José Angel López, Fernando Peña and the cowardly Gerardo de León directly threatened and intimidated Mister Khalil Musa a few weeks before his assassination, so that he’d give up his post and Mister Khalil Musa, as a true gentleman, told them he had no problem with his appointment being canceled, as it was Gustavo Alejos and Gregorio Valdez, in agreement with our most splendid President Alvaro Colom and his perennial shadow, Sandra de Colom.

Mister Khalil Musa let Gustavo Alejos and Alvaro Colom know that he’s decided not to take part in the board of Banrural to avoid troubles, but they asked that he give them time, as all was getting resolved, without Mister Khalil Musa having the slightest idea that once the thieves and murderers had everything settled, they would kill him along with his daughter, Marjorie Musa (whose only crime was to be an exemplary daughter who always accompanied her father), as he’d served his purpose, without caring for anything or anyone and with the utter leisure of knowing that good Guatemalans would once more do absolutely nothing, justifying their inactivity in the impotence which always pervades us, or simply saying “Most likely, they were involved in something…”

Boasting lack of moral principles or values and of the vaguest sense of shame, Gustavo Alejos, after trying to invent other theories who nobody accepted on the grounds of the moral virtue of the victims, personally told Mister Khalil Musa’s family that he’d regrettably been assassinated for the horrible problems which exist in Banrural, reaching the point that the very President Alvaro Colom invites one of Mister Khalil Musa’s political relatives to his office to confirm what’s been said by his Private Secretary.

Now you can understand why neither Alvaro Colom and much less Gustavo Alejos publicly declared what they told to the family of Mister Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie Musa, and ordered the corrupt and incompetent Secretary of the Interior and the nonexistent Attorney General to let this assassination slide, as always occurs with the murders, thefts and violations which have thrust Guatemala into its darkest depths.

Day by day this horrible story repeats itself and fills with grief one more of our Guatemalan families, while good Guatemalans decide to look the other way and pray it’s not our turn.

It’s enough! Let’s rescue our country from thieves, murderers and drugdealers, and once united, let us reclaim our Guatemala, our values and our faith in justice, and let us kick out the current puppet we have for president, and let us imprison the thieves and murderers, starting with Gustavo Alejos, Gregorio Valdez, Fernando Peña and Gerardo de León, among others, and once and for all, let us demand the resignation of all the current members of Congress, all of who, with very few exceptions, are a bunch of thieves, and let us start all over again, for the love of God and our country.

Surely the cowards will try to defend themselves by staining the memory of Mister Khalil Musa or his daughter Marjorie Musa, and will try to convince Guatemalans that this is all a new ploy, but in the end, the one and only truth that matters is that if you are reading this message, it’s because I, Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano, was murdered by Gustavo Alejos and Gregorio Valdez, with the approval of Mister Alvaro colom and Sandra de Colom, for refusing to allow the vile and cowardly assassination of two incredible people like Mister Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie Musa to become another statistic, thus continuing to hand over my country to the killers, cowards, thieves and drugdealers who currently govern it.

Rodrigo Rosenber Marzano

I remind Mister Vicepresident of the Republic, Doctor Rafael Espada, that he who’s silent, yields, and that you are neither a thief nor a murderer, and should be the first one to head the movement to recover our Guatemala, and make the law be carried out with the help of all the good Guatemalans who support it without reserve.

(Hat Tip: My sister, who sent me the boingboing link.)

Amanda Taub


    ……Gabriel García Márquez wrote ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ which is an analysis of passion within the Latin American culture. With fantasy, the novel portrays our intimate reality, and one is reminded that, “If the past is forgotten, the future will not be remembered.”
    ……When a Latin Americans assumes a presidency of a country, he seems to feel the greased finger of god, and he, also, begins to feel as a loved personal friend with divine rights. Watching Mr. Colom before the cameras, gesturing nervously and backed by his phalange of sweaty rumpled henchmen, the only thing missing were the tattoos and the hand signs; but it’s all the same thing, these folks are simple cholos in neck ties. With the voice cracking under his peculiar speech impediment, he portrayed a frighten mechanical Pinocchio. One can only wonder about his estate of mind, does he think he can make up the truth as he goes along by divine presidential right, or is he truly confused in the belief that at least the very ignorant and the stupid should believe in him?
    ……The reality is that violence and political assassinations are natural death causes, however, for religious and philosophical conditions the public does not wish to accept it. That is not to say that it should not be avoided. But generally the weaker the government the more they make use of the technique; but, for Latin America, historically the practice became the norm with the Holly Inquisition and it stands, still without qualms. In this remarkable case, Mr. Rosenberg has played a masterful move check mating President Pinocchio and his government by anticipating the eminent end accurately, and by planting the unprecedented political time bomb of all time.
    ……Mr. Rosenberg has left the world the ‘Rosenberg Maneuver’ that will be seen employed for evermore. – Corona Ágreda

  2. Interesting looking back to see how this case was reported at the time. Don't be so quick to jump to conclusions about Colom et al, next time…

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