Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala

Report of a Delegation

National Academy of Sciences

Committee on Human Rights

Institute of Medicine

Committee on Health and Human Rights

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C. 1992



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Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala: Report of a Delegation Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala Report of a Delegation National Academy of Sciences Committee on Human Rights Institute of Medicine Committee on Health and Human Rights NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1992

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Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala: Report of a Delegation NOTICE: This report has been approved by the members of the Committee on Human Rights of the National Academy of Sciences and the Committee on Health and Human Rights of the Institute of Medicine. It was reviewed by the Council of the National Academy of Sciences. The delegation to Guatemala was sponsored by the Committee on Human Rights of the National Academy of Sciences and the Committee on Health and Human Rights of the Institute of Medicine. The mission was made possible through the use of general operating funds provided by the Ford Foundation, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, the New-Land Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and individual donors. Available from: Committee on Human Rights National Academy of Sciences 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Also available for sale from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 92-62175International Standard Book Number 0-309-04793-5 Copyright 1992 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. B-035 Printed in the United States of America

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Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala: Report of a Delegation DELEGATION TO GUATEMALA CAROL CORILLON, Director, Committee on Human Rights, National Academy of Sciences PATRICIA EVERS, Program Officer, Committee on Human Rights, National Academy of Sciences ROBERT LAWRENCE, Director of Health Sciences, Rockefeller Foundation, New York, New York ELIOT STELLAR, Chair, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, and University Professor of Physiological Psychology, University of Pennsylvania MARY JANE WEST-EBERHARD, Senior Researcher, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, resident in San José, Costa Rica

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Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala: Report of a Delegation COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS 1992 ROBERT LAWRENCE, Chair, The Rockefeller Foundation, New York, New York MARY ELLEN AVERY, Harvard Medical School CLAIRE M. FAGIN, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania WILLARD GAYLIN, The Hastings Center, New York, New York GEORGE I. LYTHCOTT, New York City Department of Health MANUEL MARTINEZ-MALDONADO, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine ALICIA H. MUNNELL, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston PAUL GRANT ROGERS, Hogan & Hartson, Washington, D.C. JOSEPH CASSELLS, Director

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Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala: Report of a Delegation COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS 1992 ELIOT STELLAR, Chair, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and Institute of Neurological Sciences, University of Pennsylvania ANDREAS ACRIVOS, Levich Institute for Physico-Chemical Hydrodynamics, City College of New York KENNETH J. ARROW, Department of Economics, Stanford University RENATO DULBECCO, Salk Institute, La Jolla, California GERTRUDE B. ELION, The Wellcome Research Laboratories, Burroughs Wellcome Company, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina THEODORE M. HESBURGH, President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame JEROME KARLE, Laboratory for the Structure of Matter, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. ROBERT S. LAWRENCE, The Rockefeller Foundation, New York, New York GEORGE I. LYTHCOTT, New York City Department of Health DANIEL A. OKUN, Kenan Professor of Environmental Engineering (Emeritus), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill VERA RUBIN, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington MALVIN A. RUDERMAN, Pupin Physics Laboratories, Columbia University MARTHA VAUGHAN, Laboratory of Cellular Metabolism, National Institutes of Health MARY JANE WEST-EBERHARD, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, San José, Costa Rica CAROL CORILLON, Director

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Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala: Report of a Delegation This page in the original is blank.

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Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala: Report of a Delegation Contents     PREFACE   ix     GUATEMALA, AN OVERVIEW   1     Civilian Governments,   1     A History of Violence,   4     The Committees' Work in Guatemala,   11     Visit to Guatemala, June 1991,   13     THE 1992 MISSION   15     Terms of Reference,   15     Government Perspectives,   16     Universities and Research Institutions,   29     Service and Human Rights Organizations,   34     FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS   37     The Guatemalan Government,   37     Nongovernmental Human Rights Efforts,   38     International Support,   39     Political Killings and Disappearances,   39     The Case of Myrna Mack,   40     Scientific Research,   40

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Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala: Report of a Delegation Appendix A:   The Committees   43 Appendix B:   Cases in Guatemala   45 Appendix C:   Members of the Delegation   63 Appendix D:   Guatemalan Judicial Procedure and the Mack Case   65

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Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala: Report of a Delegation Preface The Committee on Human Rights of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), created in 1976, includes members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The committee works in behalf of scientists, engineers, and health professionals who are detained, imprisoned, or exiled or who have disappeared for political reasons. It also promotes investigation and prosecution in cases of colleagues who have been killed for political reasons. The Committee on Health and Human Rights of the Institute of Medicine was created in 1987 to take action on health-related abuses of human rights in the United States and elsewhere. It also helps health professionals whose human rights are violated. The individuals whose cases the committees undertake cannot have practiced or advocated violence. (See Appendix A for the committees' full mandates.) Most of the committees' casework throughout the world has been aimed at securing the release of colleagues who are in prison. Although there are no known political prisoners in Guatemala, tens of thousands of people have been killed or abducted, and many have disappeared over the past 30 years, for political reasons. The committees' goal is that those responsible for the abductions, disappearances, and political killings of scientific colleagues and other victims be brought to justice. There is also concern about the immediate physical safety and well-being of colleagues and students of science who may be at risk for such politically motivated violence.

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Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala: Report of a Delegation The human rights concerns of the NAS Committee on Human Rights were heightened with the 1990 stabbing murder in Guatemala City of a prominent anthropologist, Myrna Elizabeth Mack Chang. The killing, which by all responsible accounts was politically motivated, so alarmed and aggrieved the committee that it decided to launch a strong campaign to support the courageous efforts of the Mack family to bring those responsible for the planning and execution of this crime to justice. The hope of the NAS committee and the IOM's Committee on Health and Human Rights was that, through their actions, which would include a mission to Guatemala City, attention would also be brought to the cases of other colleagues who have been murdered for political reasons or have been abducted, have never reappeared, and are presumed dead. (The original list of 32 cases used during the mission, and others that were added subsequently, is given in Appendix B.) It was also hoped that the committees' actions might bring a measure of protection to vulnerable and threatened colleagues. Much of the information contained in this report was gathered by Carol Corillon, Patricia Evers, Robert Lawrence, Mary Jane West-Eberhard, and me as members of a human rights delegation to Guatemala sponsored by the NAS Committee on Human Rights and the IOM Committee on Health and Human Rights. (See Appendix C for biographical sketches of the delegation members.) The mission took place from February 27 to March 3, 1992. Additional background information came from a trip to Guatemala in June 1991 to observe the inauguration of a major human rights program in Guatemala by the University of San Carlos. The 1991 trip was made by Jay Davenport of the National Research Council staff; Anthony Siegman, professor of engineering, Stanford University, and a member of NAS and NAE; and Mary Jane West-Eberhard, senior researcher, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and a member of NAS. While in Guatemala City, the 1992 delegation met with senior Guatemalan government, police, and military officials; representatives of human rights and religious organizations whose activities include our scientific colleagues; scientists, health professionals, and academics; representatives of nongovernmental organizations; and the Mack family. The delegation also met with the U.S. ambassador to Guatemala, Thomas Stroock, as well as several other U.S. diplomats. The delegation paid a courtesy visit to the president of the Guatemalan Academy of Sciences, Dr. Roberto Lembke. We were most gratified that so many individuals were eager to meet and work with us and by the cordial and open tone of the meetings held. Of course, we did not expect nor even hope, after spending only one week in Guatemala, and then only in Guatemala City, to come away with a global assessment of the human rights situation in the country. We did, however, expect to gain some insights into what we, as representatives of

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Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala: Report of a Delegation institutions with well-established human rights committees, could do to support efforts to improve the situation. We also committed ourselves to communicate to everyone we met the strong concerns of our committees and the membership of our institutions about the future safety of our Guatemalan colleagues. We believe that these objectives were accomplished. During the course of the mission we did not seek and, in fact, we expressly shunned any and all efforts to publicize our visit. We believed that by privately expressing our human rights interests and concerns we would have a better chance of treating, and being treated by, everyone we met as fairly and as objectively as possible and of opening channels for future communication. Guatemalan officials with whom we met expressed appreciation for our mission and for the manner in which it was carried out. We hope that these contacts will help us to gain the immediate attention and response of the Guatemalan government to any future expressions of concern regarding the well-being of our colleagues. We also hope that the conversations undertaken with these officials and their expressions of concern for the respect of human rights will translate into direct, forceful actions to defend and protect the human rights of our colleagues and others who continue today to live and work in a climate of fear. This report was written by Carol Corillon with the collaboration of the four other mission delegates. Deborah Singiser of the staff of the Committee on Human Rights and Eugenia Grohman of the National Research Council staff also made contributions to the research, editing, and publication of the report. The chair of the Committee on Health and Human Rights of the Institute of Medicine, Robert Lawrence, the other members of the delegation, and I want to say a special word of thanks to all of the individuals with whom we met and who provided us with invaluable assistance in Guatemala City, many of whom are not mentioned by name in this report. We thank the Human Rights Office of the Archdiocese of Guatemala in particular for the assistance provided to the delegation before, during, and after the mission. We thank the Embassy of Guatemala in Washington and particularly Ambassador Juan José Caso-Fanjul and Eric Bolaños of the staff for their assistance in informing the Guatemalan authorities of our mission and its objectives. We also thank Ramses Cuestas of the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Relations for the meticulous attention that he gave to setting up the appointments that we requested and for ensuring that our terms of reference and other mission documents were translated into Spanish and delivered to the appropriate offices prior to our visit.

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Scientists and Human Rights in Guatemala: Report of a Delegation Despite the narrow focus of this report, we hope that it will help to inform concerned individuals, human rights groups, and our colleagues in science organizations and sister academies of sciences who share our concern about the need to protect the human rights of fellow scientists and others in Guatemala. Eliot Stellar, Chair Committee on Human Rights National Academy of Sciences