Guatemalan Man Wanted in the Maya Achi Sexual Violence Case Arrested

Francisco Cuxum Alvarado, 64, was deported to Guatemala on Wednesday after having been convicted last December for illegal reentry into the United States. Cuxum Alvarado, who is wanted in relation to the Maya Achi sexual violence case, was immediately arrested by authorities.

Francisco Cuxum Alvarado. Image courtesy Juan Rosales/Verdad y Justicia en Guatemala.

Authorities brought Cuxum Alvarado before Judge Israel Celada Galindo, who is temporarily in charge of High Risk Court “B.” The judge set his first declaration hearing for January 31, 2020, at 8:30 a.m.

Cuxum Alvarado is accused of crimes against humanity and aggravated sexual assault in a case brought by 36 Maya Achi women. Last August, the pretrial judge originally assigned to the case, Claudette Domínguez, dismissed the charges against six former member of the civil defense patrols (PACs) accused in this case and ordered their release. Three others, among them Cuxum Alvarado, remained at large, until now. One of the two who still remain large is Cuxum Alvarado’s brother. Another one of his brothers, Damian Cuxum Alvarado, was among the six released by Judge Domínguez.

Judge Israel Celada Galindo. Image courtesy Juan Rosales/Verdad y Justicia en Guatemala.

The victims have appealed Judge Domínguez’s decision to dismiss the charges. They also successfully recused her from the case, saying she was not acting with impartiality. The case was then transferred to the High Risk Court “B,” which is presided over by Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez.

As reported previously, during proceedings in the United States, Cuxum Alvarado admitted to being a member of the Rabinal civil defense patrol. He was convicted by a U.S. federal court for illegal reentry and sentenced to time served, then he was entered into deportation proceedings.

Notably, Judge Domínguez’s justification for dismissing the charges was that the Attorney General’s Office had not duly proven that the accused were members of the Rabinal civil defense patrols. 

Cuxum Alvarado’s admission and his arrest in Guatemala on Wednesday open a new chapter in the Maya Achí sexual violence case.

Jo-Marie Burt is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies at George Mason University. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). Paulo Estrada is a human rights activist, archaeology student at San Carlos University, and civil party in the Military Diary case.

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