Yesterday Guatemalans commemorated the thirteenth anniversary of the senseless murder of Bishop Juan José Gerardi. Masses were held in honor of a religious figure whose tireless work for social justice and against human rights abuses endeared him to Guatemala's poor.
Unfortunately powerful enemies did not agree with Gerardi's crusade for over a decade after the country's bloody civil war. He was savagely beaten to death outside of his residence two days after issuing a report critical of human rights violations by the armed forces.
Two former military officers and a priest were convicted in 2001 of masterminding Gerardi's murder though the Guatemalan archdiocese issued a call this week for authorities to actively investigate his death. "The Catholic Church awaits for justice to be served against all those involved in the vile assassination," said the director of the archdiocese's human rights division.
Much like the murder of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980, Geradi's death served as a reminder of the brutality of armed conflicts in Central America during the 1980s.
Journalist Maria Hinajosa recently interviewed author Fransisco Goldman whose book "The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop" examined Gerardi's death. In the video below, Goldman described how he became aware of the "theater of terror" that was the Guatemalan civil war:
Online Sources - Terra Peru, EFE
Video Source - YouTube