August 29, 2007–New York–MADRE, an international women's human rights organization, today categorically condemned the recent assassination of Clara Luz Lopez, a candidate for local council in the upcoming September 9 Guatemalan elections. Lopez was a member of Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum's political party, Encuentro por Guatemala. MADRE supports the work of the Rigoberta Menchu Tum Organization, working for the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Lopez was shot while driving home from campaigning in the municipality of Casillas, in the southeast of Guatemala. Her murder tragically demonstrates the continuing surge of political violence, sparked after the start of campaigning in May. Ms. Menchu has stated that this is "a clear message for our candidates and for us."
MADRE denounces the use of violence to terrorize human rights activists and political advocates and to silence dissident voices. MADRE further demands that the government of Guatemala investigate this killing fully and ensure accountability for such politically motivated violence.