On December 20, 2019 Francisco Cuxum Alvarado was sentenced in a Massachusetts courtroom for immigration-related charges with Maya Achi survivors Paula Ixtapa and Jesus Tecu present. Paula is president of the Rabinal Legal Clinic, while Jesus is the director.
Back in 2018, Cuxum Alvarado was also sentenced in a Salamá courtroom for crimes against humanity as a suspect in the Pacoxom massacre which occurred on March 13, 1982. Cuxum Alvarado evaded Guatemalan law since his 2018 sentencing, and had evaded justice for the people of Rio Negro and Rabinal since the early 1980’s. In Guatemala, he is also accused in the Maya Achi sexual violence case and would face these accusations upon extradition from the United States.
Cuxum Alvarado’s 2018 conviction in Guatemala led to an INTERPOL Red Notice for his arrest which was instrumental in tracing his whereabouts all the way to Massachusetts. Under this new sentencing, which takes into account time already-served since his arrest, he must spend another six months in prison before being released to US Marshals who will transfer him over the US immigration authorities. It is expected that he will be returned to Guatemala and handed over to local authorities upon completing his sentence in the United States.
Cuxum Alvarado’s capture and foreseeable return to Guatemala to face justice for his crimes is a step forward by our friends and partners in Rabinal. Cuxum Alvarado admitted to police in the US that he had been a civil patrol member in Guatemala during the early 80’s. This confession could serve as key evidence in the Achi sexual violence case where the men accused were dismissed in 2019 in part due to the presiding judge citing lack of corroborating evidence to link them to the civil patrol units that terrorized the Rabinal region during the internal armed conflict. Among the accused is also a brother of Cuxum Alvarado.
It is our shared hope that these developments contribute to the ongoing struggles to find justice for all of the victims and survivors of the internal armed conflict in Guatemala.