Viewing cable 03GUATEMALA2635
Title: RIGOBERTA MENCHU HARASSED BY FRG SUPPORTERS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03GUATEMALA26352003-10-10 18:56:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Guatemala
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS GUATEMALA 002635 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL PINS GT OAS
SUBJECT: RIGOBERTA MENCHU HARASSED BY FRG SUPPORTERS 
 
 
¶1.  Summary:  Nobel Peace Prize winner and indigenous rights 
activist Rigoberta Menchu Tum was harassed by supporters of 
FRG presidential candidate Efrain Rios Montt inside the 
Constitutional Court building on October 9.  Although she was 
not harmed, Menchu still sounded shaken by the incident early 
on October 10, when Ambassador called to express his concern 
and sympathy.  Menchu thanked the Ambassador for his call and 
said she would shortly hold a press conference and file a 
legal complaint with authorities.  End Summary. 
 
¶2.  Menchu and the FRG supporters, who reportedly included 
some FRG Congressional deputies and officers from the 
Ministry of Finance, were at the Constitutional Court to 
observe proceedings in the appeal by 34 members of the Bar 
Association against the Court's order prohibiting 
consideration of any legal appeal of its decision to permit 
Rios Montt to contest the presidency. 
 
¶3.  According to press reports, confirmed as accurate by the 
Rigoberta Menchu Foundation, Menchu arrived around noon in 
the hearing room, in time to hear a representative of the 
Attorney General's Office make a statement in favor of Rios 
Montt's inscription as a candidate.  Approximately 200 
supporters of Rios Montt erupted in jubilation at the 
statement, and began to shout insults and threats at Menchu, 
a prominent opponent of the FRG who filed a genocide case 
against Rios Montt in Spain.  The FRG supporters blocked the 
single exit to the building for 30 minutes to an hour. 
Menchu was reportedly jostled, pushed and spat on by some of 
the FRG supporters, but suffered no physical injury.  Police 
were notably absent from the building during this time. 
Menchu was able to leave the building after OAS observers and 
the Human Rights Ombudsman arrived to escort her. 
 
¶4.  The Ambassador called Menchu in the morning of October 10 
to express his concern for her safety and his sympathy for 
her following the abusive treatment she received.  Still 
sounding shaken, Menchu thanked the Ambassador and described 
the incident as "ugly" and her attempts to calm the 
situation.  She said she would hold a press conference at the 
Ombudsman's office and would file a complaint with the Public 
Ministry later that morning. 
 
¶5. Comment:  Menchu normally lives in self-imposed exile from 
Guatemala in Mexico, for security reasons, although her 
foundation has an office here.  Since Rios Montt's candidacy 
was ruled valid in July, Menchu has been at the forefront of 
efforts by civil society to protest his candidacy.  In doing 
so, Menchu is at high risk of threats to her safety.  The 
Ambassador's call was intended to prevent further incidents 
by showing USG concern and interest in Menchu's safety. 
HAMILTON