The Pelican Brief: Part Two

Eight months ago Rodrigo Rosenberg was a household name in Guatemala. His death awoke a nation, causing 40,000 people to line the streets of the Guatemalan capital and protest about the level of corruption within their government.

For more information on this story click here.

The Harvard and Oxford-educated lawyer was shot dead in June 2009, but left behind a videotape accusing the Guatemalan President, Alvaro Colom, of being responsible for his death.

Murder-Suicide Plot

However, a UN investigation has concluded that Rosenberg himself was the one responsible. Apparently, in a bizarre murder-suicide plot he hired a hitman to kill him and used the posthumous taped message to attempt to frame Colom.

The investigator revealed that Rosenberg had been suffering from depression following the murder of two of his clients, Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie Musa, which he believed Colom to be involved in. Their deaths remain unsolved and so their names join the estimated 97 per cent of murders that stay unsolved in Guatemala City – the third most deadly city in the world.

A Political Movement

It is thought that Rosenberg intended to use his own death to launch a political movement and incite Guatemalans to start questioning their country’s leaders. It worked. Youth-led organisations are still campaigning for more government transparency, and despite learning that their protagonist concocted his own murder they are still keen to see out their objectives. 

Even though the investigator has no alliance with the President, many Guatemalans refuse to believe his verdict and say that even if Colom wasn’t responsible for Rosenberg’s death he could still be responsible for others.

Why were the Musas killed? And what made their lawyer take his own life to bring attention to it?

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