This Sunday the Salvadoran newspaper El Mundo published reports and interviews from the UN mandated CICIG investigation asserting the existence of a parallel ‘security’ structure that ‘committed crimes, assaults, extortion, kidnappings, and the theft of drugs and cash from other organized criminal groups’ in Guatemala.
These findings come after years of investigating the brutal murders of the three Salvadoran legislative representatives and their driver on February 17th 2007 outside of Guatemala City. Two months later Victor Rivera or ‘Zacarias’, the lead investigator and primary consultant for Carlos Vielman, the Guatemalan Interior Minister, was also gunned down. There have been at least eight other assassinations linked to the case.
Guatemalan investigators have accused the Salvadoran ex-legislator Roberto Silva and the Guatemalan ex-legislator Manuel de Jesús Castillo for the crimes, supposedly as part of a partisan retaliation. The UN mandated CICIG experts disagree with this hypothesis. This is understandable considering that two of the main figures implicated were also in charge of the ‘official’ investigation.
El Mundo’s interview with the Costa Rican investigator Gisele Rivera explains that “between 2004 and 2008, the ex-minister Carlos Vielman, during the administration of Oscar Berger, in coordination with many others, including police chiefs, the Venezuelan Victor Rivera, investigators, and other players, carried out continued criminal activity. They are responsible for the extrajudicial killings of the three Salvadoran legislators and the four police officers who participated in the PARLACEN case.”
CICIG’s team of 14 expert investigators handed in their report to the CICIG commissioner Carlos Castresana on July 28th of 2009. The report found the Interior Minister Carlos Vielman, the chief of Criminal Investigations (DINC) Victor Hugo Soto Diéguez, and Victor Rivera to have been operating a criminal organization from within the Interior Ministry and the National Police.
Unfortunately, Castresana shelved the report and restricted other lines of investigation. He resigned from the post last August, as have many of the CICIG investigators. In an article published in the New York Times on Saturday, Castresana said of CICIG “We are like the emergency room doctor who intervenes in extreme cases, but that can’t solve the deep-seated problems.”
The new Director, Francisco Dall’Anese defends the commissions continued work, despite the many obstacles. CICIG has seen notable results, including the arrests of two of the major figures implicated in this case – albeit for other crimes. Vielman and Diéguez are currently on trial for the extra-judicial murders of several inmates in the Guatemalan “Pavon” prison.