Guatemala: indigenous ex-rebel leader killed

Guatemalan indigenous activist Juan de León Tuyuc Velásquez was murdered the night of Jan. 15-16 by unknown persons in Sololá, capital of the western department of Sololá. The body had gunshot wounds and signs of beating. Tuyuc worked on development projects in indigenous communities, and under the pseudonym "Peter" he commanded a front of the leftist Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP) during Guatemala's 1960-1996 civil war. His sister, Rosalina Tuyuc, heads the National Coordinating Committee of Guatemalan Widows (CONAVIGUA), which represents women widowed by the war. Indigenous leader Rigoberta Menchú, the winner of the 1992 Nobel peace prize, described Juan Tuyuc as "committed to democracy, justice" and "the firm and lasting building of peace." She called for the "prompt investigation, capture and application of the law to the material and intellectual authors of the crime." (Latin American Herald Tribune, Jan. 16, from EFE; TeleSUR, Jan. 16, from AFP)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, January 19.