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Murder And Videotape: Rodrigo Rosenberg And Alvaro Colom

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Guatemala

Rosenberg, Colom, Murder

Rodrigo Rosenberg, an attorney in Guatemala City, was murdered while riding a bicycle near his home on May 10, 2009. In a country with 20 murders per day, such a crime would usually be met with shrugged shoulders, except that Rosenberg left something truly disturbing behind.

Earlier, Rosenberg had submitted a video to El Periodico and La Prensa, two leading dailies, and asked that it be released in the event of his death. The day after Rosenberg's murder, the video surfaced on El Periodico‘s website.

In the short clip, Rosenberg chillingly prophecied his death. The truly troubling part, however, is to whom he assigned blame: President Álvaro Colom, his wife and his personal secretary. He then went on to build a convicing case against the three.

Rosenberg’s most high-profile client was Khalil Musa, a textile tycoon. Colom had asked Musa to serve on the board of an influential bank, but Musa quickly resigned overthe corruption he found among Colom's cronies on the board; a short time later, in mid-April, Musa and his daughter were shot and killed while waiting at a red light. The crime is unsolved, and the police report that two assassins escaped on motorbikes.

Rodrigo Rosenberg did not hesitate to connect the dots. He told everyone he could that Colom and his inner circle were responsible for the death of his client. This, Rosenberg claimed, was tantamount to signing his own death warrant.

For several weeks, Guatemala shook with the news. Protesters took to the streets, and to Twitter, to express their outrage. For a little while, it looked like Colom might be forced to resign over what he had done.

Except that Colom had not done anything. After months of investigation, an international team of detectives pointed the finger at an unlikely suspect: Rodrigo Rosenberg. The investigators found that Rosenberg, distraught over the deaths of the Musas, had decided to frame Colom by organizing his own death, and hired hitmen to have himself killed. It was an appropriately surreal conclusion to a shocking and strange case.



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By Nick Rosen
A staff-writer here at V!VA's offices in Ecuador, I came to Quito after having worked on public health and development projects in Africa. Naturally,...
23 Aug 2010


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