Guatemala: two charged as “authors” of lawyer’s murder

According to local media, on Dec. 10 a Guatemalan court issued arrest warrants for the brothers Francisco José and José Estuardo Valdez Paiz in the May 10, 2009 murder of attorney Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano. The Valdez brothers, who own pharmaceutical businesses and are reportedly distant relations of Rosenberg, are charged as the “intellectual authors” of the crime. Three of 11 people arrested in the case told the authorities that the brothers had contracted them to kill an alleged extortionist, who turned out to be Rosenberg. The suspects are thought to be out of the country.

Shortly before his death, Rosenberg made a video in which he said: “If you are reading this message, it is because I, Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano, have been murdered by the private Presidency secretary Gustavo Alejos and his colleague Gregorio Valdez, with the approval of Mr. Álvaro Colom [the Guatemalan president] and Sandra de Colom [his wife].” The release of the video after Rosenberg’s death led to a political crisis, with the opposition demanding that President Colom step down. Colom refused, insisting on his innocence.

The investigation is being conducted by the UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). (EFE, Dec. 31; Prensa Latina, Dec. 31)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 4

See our last posts on Guatemala, the Rosenberg case and the struggle in Central America.