A Landmark Trial Seeks Justice for Victims of Sexual Violence From Guatemala’s Civil War

Orsetta Bellani, Vice News (Photo: O.B.)

The eleven elderly indigenous women of Maya Q’eqchi’ origin sat silently with their shawls covering their heads as their stories of sexual torture at the hands of the military from the height of the country’s civil war were retold in a Guatemala City courtroom. At times tears welled up in the eyes of the younger woman who was translating the Spanish proceedings into their language. Continue reading…

Mexico: Sexual torture is an institutionalized practice

Orsetta Bellani, Latinamerica Press (Photo: O.B.)

On the morning of Aug. 7, 2012 Claudia Medina Tamariz, natural products saleswoman, was arrested by members of the Mexican Navy at her home in the port of Veracruz. She was tortured with electric shocks and asphyxiation; they threw buckets of water on her and inserted their fingers into her vagina. When they threatened to harm her children, she confessed to a crime she did not commit:  belonging to the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel.
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“Today it is a crime to defend human rights”. Interview with indigenous leader Bertha Cáceres

Orsetta Bellani, Latinamerica Press (Photo: O.B.)

Eighty percent of crimes go unpunished in Honduras, yet social movements there are criminalized and prosecuted. In the Lenca peoples’ fight against hydroelectric power firm Agua Zarca, on the grounds the company is privatizing rivers, water, land and energy, three members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) are accused of serious offenses: Tomás Gómez, Aureliano Molina and Bertha Cáceres, the organization’s general coordinator. Latinamerica Press correspondent Orsetta Bellani interviewed Cáceres on the eve of the country’s presidential elections Nov. 24, which were ultimately won by right-wing candidate Juan Orlando Hernández. Continue reading…