Slain Lawyer's YouTube Video Plunges Guatemala into Crisis, Protests Form on Facebook


The crisis in Guatemala sparked by an assassinated attorney's final words -- captured on YouTube -- continues to expand online and in the streets.

Above, a protest poster distributed on Twitter in posts marked with the hashtag #escandalogt (short for "Guatemalan Scandal," for those who don't read Spanish).

The poster reads: I WILL NOT BE AFRAID TO GO OUT INTO THE STREETS, DEFEND MY LIBERTY, UPHOLD THE LAW, DEMAND JUSTICE, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID TO LIVE IN MY HOMELAND AND CHANGE ITS FUTURE.... GUATEMALA, I WILL NOT ABANDON YOU.

Inset above, a photo taken on Sunday: a worker guards the body of Rodrigo Rosenberg just after he was shot by gunmen in Guatemala City.

In the posthumously-released video, Rosenberg said he feared he would be assasinated, and that if he were, those responsible would be operating at the orders of Guatemalan president Álvaro Colom.

Prensa Libre reports that Facebook is now being used by Guatemalans calling for Colom's impeachment and trial. Organizers are spreading word on Twitter and various social networking sites to gather for a second day of protests, tomorrow, Wednesday May 13. Snip from article, with my rough translation from Spanish:

En el portal de Facebook se puede leer el enunciado de un usuario: "Hoy solo fue una pequeña muestra. Mañana con más fuerza y mientras más personas lleguemos mejor aún!!!! Manifestemos Todos!!! Mañana somos más!!!, se lee en otro.

On Facebook one can read the declaration of a user who says, 'Today's demonstrations were only a small example, tomorrow with more strength and even more people we will achieve more still! Everyone, Protest! And, 'Tomorrow, there will be more of us,' says another user.

Here is one of many Facebook groups calling for Colom's resignation and trial.

The Wall Street Journal has a report up here. Colom was interviewed on CNN en Español today, and a transcript is here. Here's an AP item from today, here's a NYT item.

I'm hearing anecdotal reports on Twitter and elsewhere that account holders at Banrural, the Guatemalan bank at the heart of this scandal, are withdrawing all their cash from the institution and causing a growing liquidation panic that threatens to further destabilize the already teetering country.

Previously
- Guatemala: Protests for Assassinated Lawyer Streamed Live from Laptops in the Streets
- In YouTube Video Shot Before His Death, Attorney Blames President for His Assasination