The Pelican Brief

So, the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, wants to employ his 23-year-old son in a top job at La Defense, Europe’s largest business district, despite the fact that he is yet to complete his university degree.

Boris Tadic, the President of Serbia, faces charges for drinking champagne in a football stadium, and Silvio Berlusconi is under fire, yet again, after the Italian Prime Minister made a ‘sexist’ remark to a female politician.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the controversies of the world’s top political leaders make for interesting reading, but they’re hardly box office material.

If the basic plot of a John Grisham novel unravelled before our eyes in most

We are NOT RICH and POOR, we are GUATEMALANS UNITED for PEACE and JUSTICE.

parts of the world it would be front page news but in Latin America it’s a different story.

Top Lawyer Assassinated

On May 10 2009 a man was shot dead while riding his bike in Guatemala City.

Rodrigo Rosenberg was a lawyer working on a controversial case representing two former clients that had been assassinated, he believed, for their refusal to engage in acts of corruption that the President of Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, incited.

‘I was Murdered by President Colom’

Two days earlier the Harvard and Cambridge graduate filmed a video stating that if anyone was watching the recording now then it was because he was dead and the man responsible for his death was President Colom. 

The video was distributed to local media and soon appeared on You Tube.

The streets of Guatemala City fill with protestors

Over 45,000 Guatemalans descended on the capital city calling for their president to be put on trial.

The whole country demanded action; numerous protests and petitions commenced and President Colom went into hiding. He was so unpopular that his party began bribing poor people with food if they agreed to pledge support for him.

My family were due to come out and visit me in Guatemala the week following Rosenberg’s death and I was worried that with all the demonstrations and campaigns happening up and down the country that they would be too scared to come…but of course, they hadn’t even heard about it.

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4 Responses to “The Pelican Brief”


  1. 1 adambearne October 21, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I remember the killing of Rosenberg.

    Like you however, I didn’t hear about it from any broadcasters. It warranted half a page in TIME magazine – not a lot better.

    I would agree that stories from Latin America are under-represented. However, I would also say that stories in Africa are neglected too.

    Just look at the plight of abducted children in Uganda, forced to fight for a rebel group called the Lord’s Resistance Army.

    I think it’s something all journalists have to consider: cover those stories that are local or of more interest to the audience, or challenge them with stories like these?

    Maybe if we told more of these stories we would be more grateful of the peace and freedom we have.

    • 2 annaclairebevan October 31, 2009 at 9:53 am

      While i agree that stories from Africa are neglected i would argue that Latin America is more so.

      Just look at BBC Online – In the World section Africa has its own news content, whereas in the Americas Latin America is largely eclipsed by stories from the US.

      Last week the Ten O’Clock News reported on the drought in Kenya. However, it’s interesting that the media only tends to show the same stories from Africa, ie droughts and famines rather than Uganda’s rebel group.

      I refuse to believe that there’s not the demand for a more varied news output.

  2. 3 emily froud October 23, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    ..and what about the coup in honduras which received very limited press coverage and continues to bubble on despite us and probably, in part, due to the fact we turn a blind eye..


  1. 1 The Pelican Brief: Part Two « Vida Latina Trackback on February 3, 2010 at 10:16 pm

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