EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 34/41/93
UA 193/32 Death Threats 15 June 1993
GUATEMALA: Jerónimo MORALES TIRIQUIZ, aged 37
Tomás SUY CANIL, aged 34
Candelaria XON GONZALES, aged 30 (female)
Juan MORALES XON, aged 10
Manuela MORALES XON, aged 8 (female)
Anastacia MORALES XON, aged 6 (female)
Domingo MORALES XON, aged 4
Natalia MEJIA RICQUIQC, aged 23 (female)
Rolando Ismael SUY MEJIA, aged 9 months
Carlos MEJIA TIAN, aged 12
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Jerónimo Morales Tiriquiz and Tomás
Suy Canil, both members of the Council of Ethnic Communities "We are all Equal", (CERJ),
as well as the other members of their families, all from Canton Panquiac, municipality
of Chichicastenango, Quiché department.
On 10 June 1993 the two CERJ members and their families were forced to take refuge due
to continued persecution and death threats for not participating in the Civil Defence Patrols
According to a statement made by Jerónimo Morales Tiriquiz, he stopped participating in
the PAC over a year ago. In May 1993 he began to work on a project organized by the National
Coordinating Committee of Guatemalan Widows (CONAVIGUA), concerning military recruitment.
Subsequently, on 2 June he was reportedly accused by leaders of the PAC of subversion and
threatened with death, in the presence of his family. One member of the PAC reportedly
tried to assault Jerónimo Morales, but was restrained by other family members. Since then
Jerónimo Morales' wife, Candelaria Xon Gonzáles has received death threats.
Tomás Suy Canil and his family are also believed to be in danger due to their close
relationship with the family of Jerónimo Morales. Both families have apparently been
persecuted since 2 June 1993.
Civil Defence Patrols (PAC) were created as a component of the military's counter-insurgency
strategy in 1982. Although voluntary according to the Constitution, civil patrols are in
effect compulsory. Those refusing to take part in them have been branded "guerrillas",
and many have been subjected to human rights violations, including harassment and attacks,
"disappearance" and extrajudicial execution.
CERJ was formed in 1988 to protect indigenous peoples' rights, and has been particularly
active in protesting against peasants being forced to join the PAC. Since then more than
15 CERJ members have been extrajudicially executed, seven have "disappeared", and scores
have been subjected to intimidation or harassment by members of the security forces, civil