Rosenberg was a Guatemalan businessman who was murdered on May 1, 2009. Days after his murder, a video appeared in which he claimed that if he were dead it was because President Alvaro Colom, his wife Sandra Torres, and his personal secretary Gustavo Alejos had killed him. The article gives a good behind the scenes description of Rosenberg's murder, CICIG's investigation, and the eventual clearing of the president's name with the shocking announcement that Rosenberg had been the one who had arranged him own death.
A lot of good stuff in the article, but I just wanted to say that Guatemala paid a terrible price with Rosenberg's death. Rosenberg thought that Colom and his wife were somehow behind his girlfriend and her father's death (the Musa family) and had hoped that implicating Colom in death murder would somehow propel the country forward on a path to greater democracy and stability. During the press conference to announce Rosenberg's suicide, Castresana said of Rosenberg, "He was an honorable person...He wanted to open up a Pandora's box that would change the country."
Well, he did open up a Pandora's box that almost brought down the president. However, I can't imagine how bringing down a president that you thought was guilty but didn't have enough information to prove anything against would have helped Guatemala in any way.
In addition, while CICIG cleared Colom's name, one gets the feeling that neither CICIG nor Colom recovered. Solving Rosenberg's murder, which wasn't even a murdered, has been one of its most important successes. Solving the murder was necessary, but it distracted CICIG from its real work of uncovering organized crime and building a credible criminal justice system. It also seems to have crushed Castresana as both he and CICIG came under attack.
As the targets mounted against Castresana, he became increasingly paranoid, and appeared to conflate legitimate critiques with dirty reprisals. He accused a highly regarded Spanish CICIG agent of being a spy. And he alleged that one of Guatemala's most respected journalists was part of a criminal network. "He was seeing conspiracies everywhere," Francisco Goldman, the author of "The Art of Political Murder," told me. "I think he started to go mad."Castresana then "escalated his long-standing feuds with colleagues at the U.N." before abruptly resigning on June 7, 2010. During a recent November 2010 meeting with Grann, Rosenberg
said of the attacks on his reputation, "They have hurt my image forever." He and his wife were divorcing, and he had not been able to see his children. "I have nothing," he said. "I lost my family while in Guatemala. It almost took my life."And while Colom was cleared of the Rosenberg's murder, his administration was never able to take advantage of the situation once his name was cleared in January 2010. While Colom had a point when he said that people were out to destroy his goverment following Rosenberg's murder, people were tired of his continuous playing of the victim card. People wanted leadership and results and Colom was unable to deliver. By May, he had already appointed a new attorney general linked to organized crime.
Check out the entire article if you have time or you can check the Wikipedia entry for much of the same basic information. Even better, you can wait for the movie. Paramount and India Paintbrush recently purchased the rights to make a film off the New Yorker article. I can't say that it will be a very interesting movie. In many ways, it's "great" that Rosenberg killed himself. Alternative scenarios whereby President Colom had him killed or parallel powers had him killed so that they could execute a coup against the government would have had much uglier endings. Rosenberg being responsible for his own death was surprising, but, at the same time, anti-climactic.