GUATEMALA (*)

Francisco Goldman — The art of political murder (2007)

1998: Bishop Juan Gerardi, relentlessly pursuing accountability for human rights abuses committed by the military during a 30-year civil war, is murdered in his home.

Who did it? This is a work of political, investigative reportage written by a novelist — so it reads with the intensity of a novel.

It unravels the dark entrails of a powerful military establishment, stripping away the layers of a conspiracy. It is a roller-coaster ride: guilty verdicts are handed down, then challenged by a media that seem dead set against the case.

As small steps towards justice are taken, Goldman reveals what the story is about: “This is how a country changes” but also warns that another moment of triumph may never come again.

The heroes are the investigators, judiciary and human rights activists who doggedly pursue justice despite very real threats and intimidation. A judge who lives under police protection has the last word:

I gave up my own freedom so that other people can have justice — so that other people can be free to say what they believe.”

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