Open Letter to Guatemalan society

I want to start this letter by asking a question …

How many families are there in Guatemala right now, suffering the loss of a loved one due to violence?

The answer is probably a very big one and for that reason I want to tell you about Adoni Gadiel García Rodas who unfortunately was just one of the many people who recently lost their lives in a violent act. According to the national data, the death of this young person is just one more statistic among the archives housed in the drawer of some public official; but for me it is not a statistic to be forgotten, because it is the loss of a family member, today, my family member, and many other days it is another family who has lost a loved one because of this problem.

On March 16 of this year my brother, Adoni Gadiel García Rodas, was the victim of a murder, a crime that is becoming more common in the city of Quetzaltenango. My family and I still do not accept this inhuman act, we can not understand what happened and why a bullet went through his body. We have had a hard time accepting that, as a consequence of this tragedy, Adoni died after being transferred to the hospital where he spent ten long days struggling for his life in the Intensive Care Unit.

It hurts me to feel helpless not knowing exactly what happened, and although I know that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has started the investigation, I want to openly request to this entity that my brother’s case does not become another number, but rather that they really use the appropriate means to prosecute and bring justice. My family and I are deeply sad, but at the same time, we feel strength thanks to the people who have been by our sides holding hands, praying or meditating, giving us peace, light and hope.

In recent days my concept of justice has developed beyond the fact that those guilty of crimes pay with jail time. Now, I think, I believe and I feel that when I speak of justice I speak of creating social conscience, because I consider that I do justice when I witness a criminal act and denounce it, I do justice when I respect the rights of others. I do justice even when I do not criminalize the victim, since many times, due to ignorance, we limit ourselves to judging and drawing hasty conclusions justifying deaths with phrases like: “Knowing what I was involved in”, “something I owed”, “was a crime of passion”, “I was a drug addict” and many other phrases, that when we say them, they turn us into executioners of a person who maybe was the supporter of his family, the only son of a parent, or in my case, my dear brother, my accomplice, my friend, my confidant of crazy dreams.

They have taken my brother away, but they did not take away the strength to keep going. The unfair and painful situation that happened with Adoni, can happen with any of us and that scares me. Even so, through my fear and my pain I write this, hoping that one day, if we all do our bit and start small acts of justice, we will achieve a better future in which we can walk through our streets without terror of becoming another victim.

I will honor my brother’s memory with my life and what happened to him must be listened to.

Justice continues but there is NO place for resentment.

Until always, Adoni.

Cover Photo: Hellen García