The body of Domingo Pablo Puac Vasquez, a 49-year-old indigenous man, was discovered in a river in Pasajoc, Totonicapan province, not far from the site of the demonstrations. Mario Itzep of the Indigenous Observatory told Prensa Libre that, according to a preliminary report from forensic institute INACIF, Puac had two bullet wounds, one in his leg and one in his ribs, and had apparently been tortured, reports Prensa Libre. However, elPeriodico reports that INACIF said the body had no bullet wounds nor signs of torture, but was killed by a blow to the head.
According to the account cited by elPeriodico, Puac died between October 13 and 21. This would mean he was alive for at least a week after he went missing during the October 4 protests.
Siglo 21 has further details from Itzep, who said “The body showed signs of torture and had been bound with chains, as used to happen during the internal armed conflict.” Julio Lorenzo, representative of the province's cantons, said that the site where the body was found was close to where the demonstrations had taken place -- “We suppose they went to dump it there.”
The cantons sent an open letter to President Otto Perez, asked him to investigate whether Puac was “another victim of the repression of your government,” and calling on the international community to support them.
Last week, Perez’s Foreign Minister Harold Caballeros sent a letter to the New York Times in response to its article on the shootings, explaining that Perez had “vowed to ensure that practices condemned in the past would not be part of Guatemala’s future.”
Americas Quarterly has a report from Totonicapan, published before Puac’s body was found. The authors visited the site of the killings and spoke to witnesses, who said that the soldiers repeatedly shot aiming to kill during a battle that lasted over two hours. For Anita Isaacs and Rachel Schwartz:
The events of October 4, 2012 cannot be explained away as a mistake, an unfortunate incident, or an accident … What occurred was a massacre waiting to happen -- the product of profound economic, social and political tensions that Guatemalan leadership has ignored and frequently exacerbated since the signing of peace accords in December 1996.They argue that the military’s violent response to the protests was a logical consequence of the hardline “iron fist” policies promoted by Perez, but said that the arrests of nine soldiers involved, and Perez’s eventual statement that the military would not be deployed against protesters, point to a breaking in the culture of impunity.
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