Leaders of the New Guatemala Democratic Front (FDNG) reportedly have been intimidated and falsely accused of links to the Guatemalan armed insurgency. On October 30, President Ramiro de Le"n Carpio stated in a press conference that the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG) was represented by a political party that would participate in the general elections on November 12. Everyone knew which party he meant, he said. This thinly veiled reference to the FDNG--the only new, left-of-center party participating in the elections--endangers the lives of the party's leaders, supporters, and sympathizers. The candidates' personal safety is considered precarious. Such unsupported accusations, in themselves a form of intimidation, are frequently followed by attacks, extrajudicial executions, and other illegal, repressive acts of retaliation.
Plantation owners in Santa Rosa, former military commissioners, and civil patrollers in the Quich have made similar accusations linking legitimate, civilian politicians to the armed insurgency. Printed information about the FDNG reportedly has been destroyed by army soldiers from Santa Cruz del Quich. The home of Amilcar Mendez, a recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Human Rights Award and a congressional candidate for the Quich region, was recently raided and searched by an unidentified man who stole only a speech Mendez had given at the Latin American Scholars Association Conference in Washington, DC.
Added to these acts of intimidation was a request by the commander of Quetzaltenango military zone #1715, General Sergio Arnoldo Camargo Muralles, that a local court immediately issue arrest warrants for FDNG members whom he accused of crimes. General Camargo alleged that on October 17, heavily armed campesinos associated with the FDNG occupied the Western University Center (CUNOC) in a rally organized by Jorge Gonz lez del Valle, the FDNG presidential candidate, and Rosalina Tuyuc, an FDNG congressional candidate. In an October 31 press release, the FDNG categorically denied this accusation.
Contact the following Guatemalan authorities. Express concern for the safety of supporters and members of the New Guatemala Democratic Front and their families. Urge the government to guarantee their safety; to put an end to the intimidation; to investigate the actions against them and bring to justice all those responsible; and to take all necessary measures to ensure respect for the democratic process.
President Ramiro de Le"n Carpio: fax 011-502-2-537-472 or 011-502-2-515667
Defense Minister General Marco Antonio Gonz lez Taracena: fax 011-502-2-21906
Edmund Mulet, Guatemalan Ambassador to the U.S.: phone: 202-745-4952; fax: 202-745-1908
Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA
3321 12th St NE
Washington, DC 20017