Monday, January 21, 2013

CNN on murder of Guatemalan women

I really want to support you Mutual Support Group but then I read something like this on CNN.
Some 707 women were killed in Guatemala in 2012, a significant increase from 431 in 2011, according to the human rights group Mutual Support, which tracks violence in that nation.
Already this year, 32 murders of women have been reported in just 15 days, while 216 men have been killed in the same period, the human rights group said.
Officials promised that investigators are doing everything they can to identify and catch the perpetrators, but Guatemala's record in pursuing justice is considered pitiful by human rights organizations.
"When it comes to crimes against women and boys and girls, the level of impunity can be as high as 100%," said Mario Polanco, director of Mutual Support.
According to him, in 2012 only 1% percent of women's killings were investigated, and there were zero convictions.
Maybe something was lost in the translation. Unless GAM has changed, they get their statistics from reading the paper. I haven't seen anyone else measure an increase in deaths of women from 431 in 2011 to 707 in 2012. Both INACIF and the PNC show a decline. See here.

I have no idea what he means by "the level of impunity can be as high as 100%".

Amnesty International issued a new press release that, like last week's, continued to highlight the 560 murders of women in 2012 as worse than the 630 in 2011 and 695 in 2010. I guess that I would have to see more evidence that 70 fewer deaths in 2012 is worse than the deaths from 2011.

Counting homicides and comparing homicide rates are not the only way to measure violence. They might not even be the best way. But if you are going to show decreases in murders as a sign of a worsening situation, that just loses credibility in my book.

GAM, Amnesty International, and other domestic and international human rights organizations are critical to maintaining the pressure on the Guatemalan government so that it acts to continue to decrease rates of violence and to increase the rates of prosecution. I understand that they sometimes need to over do it in the PR department, but I'm not sure that making such extreme statements helps.

I also don't want to speculate but the deaths of two young girls in their PJs and their cousin and mom found a few blocks away doesn't shout organized crime. I hope that this is one of the few cases that the authorities do solve.


  1. Mike my friend... It doesn´t sound like organized crime to you? What do you know about Guatemala City or the streets here? Have you walked this neighborhood before? You only read newspapers behind your computer. This lady sold chicken two blocks from where I visit a store for an advertising billboard. According to the neighbors around the block she sold chicken and did ¨well¨ according to the standards of Zone 7 Colonia Quinta Samayoa. So what I heard was gang members were asking for extorsion. This same gangmembers that get paid with drug inventory in route to the United States for you guys to sniff in your Mannhattan and Los Angeles Night Clubs. They made a statement killing the kids. If we don´t get our money we will kill you and your family. It must be nice to write from your college campus and speculate its not orginized crime.

  2. Jose,

    I don't think that you quite understand. In terms of their deaths, it's tragic. However, some but not all analysts differentiate between gangs and organized crime. To me, their murders sounded more like extortion by local gangs rather than organized crime.

    I'm happy to clarify even though the tone and substance of your message initially leads one to want to simply discard it.

  3. As of right now, authorities don't seem to think that the killings were the result of extortion gone bad.