GUATEMALA: Guatemalan Tied to Massacre Pleads Guilty in U.S.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Central America
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

A former Guatemalan soldier pleaded guilty Wednesday to concealing his role in a 1982 massacre of peasants by the army in his homeland when he applied for U.S. citizenship, authorities said.

Gilberto Jordan, 54, pleaded guilty in Fort Lauderdale to a federal charge of unlawfully procuring his U.S. citizenship, admitting that he had lied on his naturalization application about his participation in the massacre in the Guatemalan village of Dos Erres, a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida said.

It said Jordan faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and judicial revocation of his naturalized citizenship. He will be sentenced on September 17.

As part of his plea, Jordan admitted that he was one of about 20 Guatemalan special forces soldiers, known as "Kaibiles," who slaughtered defenseless men, women and children in Dos Erres in December 1982, the statement said.

It said he also admitted that the first person he killed at Dos Erres was a baby, whom Jordan murdered by throwing it into a well.

Rights campaigners representing Dos Erres massacre victims' families in Guatemala said Wednesday they are seeking Jordan's extradition to the Central American country to face rights charges.

"We've asked the Attorney General's office to have him extradited to face human rights charges here for the killings of 250 men, women and children, rape and torture," Aura Elena Farfan, director of the Association of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared of Guatemala, or FAMDEGUA, told Reuters.

A call to the Guatemalan government for comment was not immediately returned.

According to the U.S. court documents, members of the special forces patrol also raped many of the women and girls at Dos Erres before killing them. Approximately 162 skeletal remains were later exhumed from the village well.

The Guatemalan military killed leftists and perceived rebel sympathizers with impunity during the Central American country's long-running internal conflict. A peace accord brought an official end to the conflict in December 1996.