At the beginning of last week, Rosa Beatriz, Affiliate Board member from the Guatemala Chapter, emailed me requesting the name of someone in the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns (MOGC) who might be able to respond to an urgent request. That request was for Affiliate Chapter member, Claudia Samayoa, who, along with José Martínez, had been maliciously accused by the President of the Guatemala Supreme, seeking to criminalize her work in Human Rights. Claudia, whom many of you reading this met at MAC 2017, and who recently received special recognition for her work in human rights, was faced with the possibility of being incarcerated.
There is a second, revealing aspect to this story that I believe should make us proud to be part of the Maryknoll family. Shortly after receiving the details of the situation from Rosa Beatriz (the Guatemala Chapter had already drafted a strong, thoughtfully worded document in protest to the Supreme court’s stance) I wrote to the other Maryknoll entities to make them away that we as Affiliates were looking to initiate an action in support of Claudia and José. Seemingly within minutes after clicking 'send' on the email, at least one person from each entity had responded to express support. Soon MOGC Executive Director Susan Gunn and her staff put an action plan in motion. Susan laid out a 3-prong strategy:
- Draft a letter to Pompeo at State Dept. and ask the Maryknoll entities and the Affiliates to sign on.
- Invite other organizations to join us in sending a letter to the Ambassador of Guatemala in D.C. [Affiliates have signed on. The list of organizations who have signed on is already long.]
- Create an action alert inviting the public to send a message to the State Dept and the ambassador. [In the works.]
At this writing, the final outcome is still pending for Claudia and José. Rosa Beatriz informed me that Claudia’s father, who have been gravely ill, passed away few days ago. Please be alert for action alerts to sign and pray for Claudia, José and the dire situation in Guatemala.