III.

POSITION OF THE PARTIES

A.

The petitioners

6. The petitioners allege that on April 1, 1981, in Zone 19 of Guatemala City, Florencio Chitay
Nech, a Kaqchikel Maya, was kidnapped and became a victim of forced disappearance at the
hands of Guatemalan army personnel.
7. The alleged victim, the petitioners say, was born in the village of Quimal, hamlet of
emetabaj, on March 2, 1935. For many years he farmed corn, beans and sugar cane on land
inherited from his parents. Towards 1973 he joined the peasant movements in the region and
began to take part in political activity, joining the Guatemalan Christian Democratic Party. He
also participated actively in the cooperative movements; following the 1976 earthquake he
even set up within the house he owned the co-op store he worked in. In 1977 a group of
indigenous persons decided to field candidates in the 1978 municipal election. They ran Mr.
Felipe Álvarez Tepaz for mayor of San Martín de Jilotepeque, in the department of
Chimaltenango, and Mr. Florencio Chitay for the office of First Councilman. Both were elected,
and the council became the first Municipal Council to be 99% made up of indigenous persons.
8. According to the petitioners, repression against members of the Municipal Corporation of
San Martín de Jilotepeque began in mid-1979. Mr. Álvarez Tepaz, the Mayor, 1 was kidnapped
in 1980. Mr. Chitay Nech, as First Councilman (Deputy Mayor) took over as Mayor. Starting in
1980 the alleged victim is said to have received anonymous notes inviting him to remove
himself from all his activities, namely, to step down as Mayor of the municipality and withdraw
from the co-op and peasant movement, activities labeled subversive. 2 By November 1980,
attempts to kidnap him had begun. The first attempt was apparently thwarted when armed
men came to his house in a jeep-type vehicle but were unable to come in because the entry
door had been reinforced, prompting them to fire their weapons at the house before leaving.
Subsequently, as a precaution, members of the Chitay Rodríguez family began to spend the
night at various other houses. Even so, strangers apparently gained access to Florencio
Chitay's house twice and destroyed his belongings. He decided to flee to Guatemala City,
where he settled with his family in a rented room and got a job in a refrigeration repair shop.
9. The petitioners allege that a few days before he was kidnapped, Mr. Chitay told his older
children that government forces, through army personnel, were watching him and that he
believed he could be kidnapped, even though he had left his job in the social organizations of
the municipality in his hometown.
10. With regards to the day of the kidnapping, April 1, 1981, the petitioners claim that Mr.
Chitay went out with his five-year-old son Esmeterio to buy firewood in the neighborhood
where they lived. At the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Seventh Streets in Zone 19, a jeepstyle vehicle had parked. From it descended armed men came out and questioned Mr. Chitay,
and after struggling with him they pointed their guns at his son Esmeterio and threatened to
shoot if Mr. Chitay did not climb into the vehicle. The alleged victim obeyed, and the
kidnappers pushed his son to the ground and left in a hurry.

1
IACHR, Resolution No. 15-82, Case 7777, Guatemala, March 9, 1982. The IACHR decides:
1. Based on Article 39 of its Rules, to presume as true the events reported in the communication of November 24,
1980, concerning the machine-gun attack on the home, and the subsequent kidnapping and disappearance, of Mr.
Felipe Álvarez, Mayor of San Martín de Jilotepeque, department of Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
2. That the Government of Guatemala violated Articles 5 (Humane Treatment) and 7 (Right to Personal Liberty) of the
American Convention on Human Rights.
3. To recommend to the Guatemalan Government that it order the most thorough investigation of the reported events,
so as to establish who is directly or indirectly responsible for them and punish them as provided by law, and to let the
Commission know the steps taken within 60 days.
4. To give notice of this Resolution to the Government of Guatemala and the applicants.
5. That if, after the time limit set in (3.) above, the Guatemalan Government presents no comments, the Commission
would include this Resolution in its Annual Report to the General Assembly, as prescribed in Article 59(g) of the
Commission's Rules.
2
Petitioners' brief of March 2, 2005.

2

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