The Forced Exile

Juan Francisco Sandoval*

Versión en español aquí.

On March 5, 2003, I joined Guatemala’s Public Prosecutor’s Office as an intern, as part of my mandatory criminal practice, during my undergraduate studies in legal and social sciences at the State University of San Carlos, Guatemala (Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala). I never imagined that this initial internshipwould turn into a love for the defense of truth and justice, and that I would later participate in the prosecution and trial of three Guatemalan presidents, a vice president, dozens of legislators, state ministers, magistrates,and judges. All of these officials, and in turn cases, shared the common characteristic of having served as part of illicit political and economic networks that sought to generate impunity for their crimes.

The opportunity to work in public service allowed me to bring a little hope to the people of Guatemala who –like the majority of Latin American countries– have been destined to a history and  life of eternal resistance in the face of injustice.

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The importance of controlling Leviathan

Adriana García García*

In the mid-17th century, the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes used the image of a biblical monster, the Leviathan, to illustrate the power of the State and its function of maintaining social order. It has since remained a symbol of fear-invoking power and unmatched sovereign strength.

The foundation for the potentially monstrous power of the Leviathan is one of the main obligations of the State, perhaps the most primary one of them all:  to maintain security within its territory. If a State does not fulfill that function, all other possible aspirations, from the offer of high-quality public services, to economic development and the respect and promotion of fundamental rights, are deeply compromised and, in extreme circumstances, can become even impossible.

The problem is that, to fulfill the responsibility of providing security, the State needs to have a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.

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