Vancouver resident Wendy Méndez to testify at #CasoDiarioMilitar trial in Guatemala

Published by Brent Patterson on

Vancouver resident Wendy Mendez holds a photo of her mother, Luz Haydee Méndez Calderón, who was disappeared in Guatemala in 1984. Photo by Mike Bell/PNG.

On December 12, the Vancouver Sun reported: “Wendy Méndez will be a material witness at the trial of 12 members of a Guatemalan death squad accused of torturing and disappearing her mother Luz Haydee Méndez Calderón in 1984.”

The article continues:

Two years [after her mother was disappeared], Méndez and her father came to Canada as political refugees.

In 1999, Méndez returned to Guatemala to search for her mother. Weeks before her arrival, a military dossier, the Diario Militar, better known as the Death Squad Diary, was leaked to human rights groups. The dossier held crucial information on the fates of 183 of Guatemala’s disappeared. Luz Haydee Méndez Calderón was entry 83.

Méndez, who co-founded an international organization for the children of the disappeared, HIJOS , remained in Guatemala for several years, advocating justice.

In June, a Guatemalan judge indicted the former military officers for crimes related in the dossier, including the disappearance of Méndez’s mother.

Amyn Sajoo, a lecturer in international studies at SFU [Simon Fraser University in Vancouver] said it’s critical for the Canadian government to speak up.

Grantly Franklin, spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, said Canadian officials have met prosecutors in Guatemala to hear their concerns and the Association of Families of the Detained and Disappeared of Guatemala [FAMDEGUA], and continues to support victims of the Diario Militar case.

Grantly Franklin, Global Affairs Canada spokesperson

Méndez is urging Canadians to write their MPs and the Canadian ambassador in Guatemala so prosecutors and witnesses are protected.

We are currently awaiting the appointment of a new Canadian ambassador to Guatemala, but the Embassy can be contacted at gtmla@international.gc.ca.

The full article can be read at Faces she never forgot: B.C. woman to testify against men accused of torturing her mother.

The CBC has also reported on Hull, Quebec-resident Maria Consueleo Pérez (whose husband Dr. Orencio Sosa Calderon was disappeared in 1983) and Montreal-resident Annabella Jiménez, Montreal (whose husband Hector Rolando Valdez Guzmán was also disappeared in 1983). That article by Erin Ellis can be read at Still missing.

Maria Consueleo Pérez, Annabella Jiménez

The Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project has been accompanying the Human Rights Law Firm (BDH) at these hearings.

PBI-Guatemala accompanied the seven days of hearings that resulted in the indictment of six defendants on June 9.

It also accompanied the four days of hearings that resulted in the indictment of former Defense Minister Marco Antonio González Taracena on June 25.

On October 7, Prensa Comunitaria reported: “Currently, the first statement hearings have concluded and the lawyers believe that until next year will be the next stage of the process, in which the judge decides whether they are sent to trial or not.”

And on November 22, La Prensa reported that Guatemala’s Attorney General Consuelo Porras dismissed prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval on July 23 and removed Hilda Pineda from the Human Rights Prosecutor’s Office on October 11 in reprisal for the hearings.

It is unclear from media reports when the #CasoDiarioMilitar trial will resume.

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