Trip report/MIA pounding the ground in Guatelinda in 2010

Trip report, December 2010

MIA is trying to create a collective conciousness and really make things happen. We are getting no help writing all good news. When other groups send emails asking for money, they also send lots of bad news and people respond to that. I want to send good news in hopes that this will help respond the same way.

Tough sell for people in these times, which is even more of a reason that we need your help. I kid you not MIA is really starting to shake things up in Guatemala.

Five months in Guate and I’ve been working almost the entire five months Monday through Sunday. We have had to make ourselves available at everyone’s schedule to make a presence every where with anyone who called for our workshops.

I want to start with good news and end with what you all know I am leading you toward: a request for your donation. There is no “I have too little to give, it wont make any difference.” Believe me, the way MIA works on a shoe string budget, we go miles with very little money.

I am very proud to say that MIA was able to sign an agreement with the university of San Carlos — almost, anyway — more on this later. San Carlos is the only free (of charge) university, which is still free for now, but threatened everyday to be privatized, and you can guess what that would do to the “free” part. We have been delivering workshops at San Carlos for some time now, but having an agreement will make it solid for the future, and give us some confidence that things will keep happening even when people change jobs. As it has been going, if someone we work with leaves, we have to start all over again with the new people. This agreement should improve that situation.

The agreement is intense. In short we will start delivering programs, as we have been but more. We start at the main campus and extend to — get this! — all EIGHTEEN campuses. The challenge for us is to expand beyond the small pilot program in Guatemala city campus. To expand to the 18 campuses, of course, we will need funding.

Well not entirely for free because we will be delivering programs perhaps two per week plus any extra curricula we may need to support the topic.

There is one very exciting part of this agreement which is way different from the agreement we signed last year with the women’s department and earlier this year with the health department. The new thing is that the Chancellor of the university signed to allow professors to send us students for credit through our workshops. That’s right, students will get credit for participating in a series of ten White Ribbon Campaign (aka Hombres Contra Femenicidio). We will type up a sylubus to add readings to each workshop. In short, MIA will be teaching lecture style not just facilitating.

We were able to work with some healthy young men and tape 3 podcasts in spanish that are available on our web page for anyone who wants to learn via the ‘net. Also, we have officially started the paperwork for MIA to become legal for potential money in Guatemala. The key word there of course is “potential”. If fund raising in the US is hard, fund raising in Guatemala could be lots harder! Norma Cruz (Sobrevivientes) has had some luck with foreign donations to her organization.

MIA will officially have its first satellite to be able to apply for money from the international community. As you all know we are a 501c3 in the U.S. We can no longer continue working from good samaritans since we are all hurting for money. MIA did some knocking on doors to introduce our campaign in the private businesses. Some of these private businesses seemed interested to help, but the fact that MIA lacks legal status yet in Guate made it very easy for them to use that as an excuse to not be able to help.

We were able to meet with the U.K. ambassador but she was very straight forward telling us that they too don’t have money, and if anything they are withdrawing donations to their projects in Guate. She did offer to help us with USAC by providing moral support and that helped pressure USAC to speed up the signing.

The five month in Guate seemed long and hard but we know this is the breakthrough for a smooth ride once we get funding.

We trained 10 facilitators/volunteers 3 women and 7 men who were very busy with us leading workshops in four different schools, the University and at the national Police Academy. They all were students and of

course activists, and they disappeared overnight when the university went on general strike. The university was taken by the students defending their future Alma Mater. We are hoping situations like this will improve when we have a full-time paid staff. But of course that comes down to money.

The university was shut down for a month and a half and this created much stress for MIA to not have facilitators to continue our sites.

An interesting situation developed at the police academy. The ombudsman’s office received complaints about sexual harassment in the academy. We don’t have details about the complaints, but the ombudsman’s office figures that we inspired the women to make the complaints. Our goal of course is to inspire the men to act in a way that nobody has any complaint against them, but the fact that the women felt strong enough to complain has to be a sign of progress.

I did what I could but the ongoing chaos in the country can get in the way. When they returned i had had to shorten our programs because there was no way to know how long the strike was going to take. The only group that we were able to continue was the one in USAC but unfortunatly from 30 students only 3 stayed on board, as we worked to find off-campus locations for the workhshops. Many of the students enrolled had to cram to make up for the time while the university was closed.

I am pleased to say that we finally got into the school system for MIA’s goal is to get into the school curriculum. At first they seemed very interested and then acted very uninterested. They called us, interested again, and we ran faster than a speeding bullet to come in to the schools. Once we started the follow up to our conversations they said thank you, but no thank you. The positive thing i can say about this is that at least now we are in their radar, yayyyy.

MIA networked nonstop and has made stong ties with different organizations for future projects. People are starting to understand that MIA is not funded by uncle sam and or by international community but from people like you who are getting this trip report who has in one or another way commited to not forget our Guatelinda.

I lived in a small room in my friends house my first trip February to May and three more months this second trip. It was time for me to rent us an apartment. We decided to stay in zona 1 to be able to walk to nonprofits in that area, and also z 1 is central to get to different places quick on a taxi.

I’m going back to Guate on January 31st. Am not sure when I’ll be back to the US. It is imperative for me to make a presence to get this program going. We are very lucky that we have a volunteer from India (and the US) who will be volunteering for 6 months and will help me unfold the USAC monster project.

We had a last-minute plan to sign the agreement with USAC on the last day I was there, which was International No Violence Against Women Dan (and also Thanksgiving here in the US). Only weeks after the student strike ended at USAC, the administrative workers’ union went on strike and took over the administration offices. With all the chaos, of course we were not able to go in and sign as planned. I got a call late in the day, when I was on the way to the airport, but knowing how things go there, I didn’t want to miss my flight. I am told that the principal signed already, and I will sign it with the UK ambassador when I return.

This year we were not able to lead any delegations. As you know all of you delegates with your trips allows us to make a little money for MIA’s programs. This year was painful because, not only did we not gather any money from delegations, but also it was the year that I had to spend the most time in Guate.

MIA had it first male voluneer this year. His name is Daniel, and he’s been a HUGE help for MIA since we started. Daniel flew from New York and spent all his vacation time with MIA empowering our young women and men letting them know they are not alone. He shared with them his story as an immigrant before he got his legal papers here and what he will be doing now that he is legal helping MIA help them. Daniel made some strong ties with them and will continue the nurturing from a distance.

Daniel also works with us doing translations; he translated the White Ribbon Campaign materials into Spanish for use in our workshops. In addition he is our webmaster and, really, does anything and everything for MIA. We would be sunk without Daniel’s great behind the scenes work.

MIA is walking the talk., I have no words to express how much we need your help!! In the middle of the chaos in the country we were still able to deliver workshops and get big wigs to want to sign on our mission. I can type for ever how many deaths per day and describe the problem but we all know the evil impunity is the monster. MIA is about solutions and our program is the start of a solution. Please we ask you to help us even if it is only $50.00 or even $5.00, you can count on us to put it in good use.

You can mail us a check, or you can send money on paypal to MIA’s account. Our email ID on paypal is: Money you send us will go straight to MIA, and is tax-deductible.

1256 Conway Ave

Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Mindi Rodas, QDEP


ANTECEDENTES: Como es del conocimiento de la opinión pública Mindi fue objeto de un atentado contra su vida en el 2009 por parte de su esposo, ocasionándole serias heridas en su rostro, acción ejercida en algunos lugares desde tiempos antiguos para aislar a la mujer de la sociedad. Constituyéndose esta practica en una aberración y un total acto de menosprecio a las mujeres.

A pocos meses de acontecido este hecho, Mindi llego a nuestras oficinas a solicitar apoyo legal para llevar ante la justicia a su agresor, ya que él se encontraba gozando de libertad al haber tipificado el juez como lesiones la agresión sufrida y, concederle una medida sustitutiva de Q1,000.00. El origen de esta agresión fue la solicitud de Mindi de una pensión alimenticia para su pequeño hijo.

Al asumir la Fundación Sobrevivientes el caso, se procedió a solicitar el cambio de tipificación del delito por femicidio en grado de tentativa, proceso en el cual se nos unió la Defensoría de la Mujer Indígena -DEMI-. Posteriormente se recusó al juez ya que éste en un medio de comunicación escrito emitió opinión sobre el caso y los hechos acontecidos; tratando de justificarlos. Quedó evidenciada la posición prejuiciada que se tenía de Mindi y por lo tanto se preveía que no se iba a alcanzar justicia. El caso se trasladó a Jutiapa y se programó el juicio para el 16 de junio de 2011; dos años después de acontecido el hecho.

Simultáneamente, por parte del equipo de la Fundación, se le brindó apoyo psicológico. Posteriormente esta atención fue proporcionada a través de una profesional externa.

Así mismo, al salir a luz pública el caso, se presentaron varios ofrecimientos para la reconstrucción de su rostro; tanto por parte de profesionales nacionales que ofrecieron hacerlo de forma solidaria, como de profesionales mexicanos. Mindi se entrevisto con cada uno de ellos; cada quien le explicó el procedimiento a realizar y las opciones existentes tomando en cuenta varios aspectos. Fue ella quien decidió viajar a México para someterse al tratamiento de reconstrucción facial. Esto acontece en el mes de enero del 2010 aproximadamente, con el apoyo de: La Primera Dama y de las autoridades del mexicanas.

Durante su estadía en la hermana República de México, Mindi mantuvo comunicación permanente con su familia y con la Fundación; las autoridades guatemaltecas diariamente reportaban el desenvolvimiento del proceso. Cabe señalar que todo esto fue difícil para Mindi porque no solo presentaba un cuadro de stress post-traumático, sino otras afectaciones, que no podían ser superadas sin un tratamiento sistemático.

Mindi decidió regresar a Guatemala, antes de terminar el proceso de reconstrucción facial. Decisión que respetamos. Porque siempre mantuvimos la idea de que: Sí bien a ella le habían mutilado su rostro, no le habían mutilado sus capacidades de toma de decisión, ni su amor a la vida, a la libertad.

Posterior a su llegada nos vimos en la necesidad de solicitarle que estuviera en el albergue (espacio que la Fundación brinda en determinados casos a nuestras usuarias) para poder cuidar de sus heridas, para evitar infecciones, ya que se requería de curaciones diarias.

En el mes de julio, por venir su cumpleaños, ella planteó que quería pasarlo en su comunidad y que deseaba salir del albergue. Como la estadía es voluntaria y no podemos retener a nadie contra su voluntad; tras hacerle una celebración en la Fundación, se le trasladó a su casa, habiendo coordinado con el centro de salud de la comunidad para que recibiera las curaciones que aún quedaban pendientes. Es de mencionar que en su momento Mindi no aceptó el estatus de testigo protegida pues esta situación implicaba limitaciones para su movilidad y vida personal.

Tratamos, en la medida de nuestras posibilidades, de brindar el acompañamiento a su mamá y a su pequeño hijo; quien estaba bajo el cuidado de su abuelita. La última comunicación la tuvimos aproximadamente a finales de noviembre, en donde le reafirmamos que el apoyo continuaba para el proceso de reconstrucción de su rostro, para lo cual se estaban considerando opciones en el país.

Como Fundación siempre tuvimos claridad que aparte del proceso legal, teníamos que apoyar a Mindi en la parte de reconstrucción de su rostro para que pudiera tener verdaderas opciones de vida. Con su puño y letra ella empezó a escribir su historia y lo que ella proyectaba hacia adelante. Mindi, a través de compartir su testimonio, encontró una forma de ayudar a otras mujeres para que se animaran a romper el silencio.

Cada una de las actuaciones por parte de Fundación Sobrevivientes esta documentada. La Fundación brinda el apoyo a solicitud de la víctima o sus familiares, apoyamos hasta donde ellas lo permiten; y toda participación pública es con su pleno consentimiento. No percibimos ningún beneficio económico, al contrario, cada caso requiere de toda una inversión, que gracias al apoyo de nuestros donantes es posible, porque todo el servicio es totalmente gratuito.


Mindi salió de su casa el día 17 de diciembre. Al final de la tarde tuvo la última comunicación, manifestando que se encontraba bien. El día 18 su familia trató de comunicarse pero ya no contestó el teléfono. De acuerdo a lo narrado por su familia, trataron de establecer con conocidos si la habían visto; acudieron a presentar la denuncia a la sede del Ministerio Público de Cuilapa y con la Policía Nacional Civil.

El 17 de enero se apersonaron a la morgue del INACIF de la ciudad capital e identifican su cadáver, el cual se encuentra sepultado como XX en el Cementerio la Verbena. De acuerdo a los informes policiales su cuerpo apareció el 18 de diciembre a las 8 A.M. en la zona uno de la ciudad capital. Desconocemos porqué se encontraba en la ciudad.

Es hasta el 17 de enero que la mamá de Mindi, acompañada de representantes de la Defensoría de la Mujer (de la Procuraduría de los Derechos Humanos), llega a la sede de la Fundación y nos informa de lo sucedido. Desde ese momento Fundación Sobrevivientes coordina acciones con el Ministerio Público; estamos ya constituidas como querellantes adhesivas.

Esperamos contar con el apoyo de la población guatemalteca para avanzar en las investigaciones que nos lleven a los responsables, pues a Mindi le quitaron la vida con violencia, con la misma violencia con que la que le quitaron su rostro. La asesinaron por su condición de Mujer.

El debate por el intento de femicidio se mantiene, su muerte no tiene porque afectar el proceso. Lamentamos profundamente que Mindi no haya logrado ver la justicia. Ella esperaba con ansias ese día.

Nos disculpamos por no habernos pronunciado antes, pero necesitábamos priorizar las investigaciones y el acompañamiento a su mamá y su hijito, y, además, estamos sumamente afectadas, ha sido un inicio de año muy duro por las vidas que la violencia ha quitado.

Guatemala, 22 de enero del 2011

¡Digamos si a la vida, No a la Violencia!

Fundación Sobrevivientes

12 calle 11-63 zona 1 Ciudad de Guatemala

PBX: (502) 22304222-22519931-22327967


Nota sobre su situacion:

Video sobre Mindi: