The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed Bishop Gerardi?
Author Francisco Goldman will discuss his 2007 nonfiction book, “The Art of Political Murder,” about the 1998 killing of Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi just two days after he released an extensive, church-sponsored report that implicated the army in many of the 250,000 civilian deaths during the country’s 36-year civil war.
It’s a real-life whodunit, with Goldman going inside the group of young lawyers and investigators who are putting their lives on the line to investigate a murder that the government insists was a crime of passion. In the end, for the first time in Guatemalan history, military officers were convicted for participating in a state-sponsored extrajudicial execution.
Soon to be a documentary series narrated by George Clooney, the book unravels a case that has been central to Guatemala’s 20-year struggle against state corruption and impunity, and in his talk Goldman will carry the story to the present day.
The struggle is now entering its final chapter with the success of the UN International Commission Against Corruption and Impunity, working with Guatemala’s attorney general. Former President and General Otto Pérez Molina, a suspected mastermind in the bishop’s murder, is in jail facing corruption charges. Another corruption case is forming against Álvaro Arzú, who was president when Gerardi was killed.
Francisco Goldman is an acclaimed Guatemalan-American novelist and investigative journalist who is also a contributing writer for the New Yorker. Translated into 16 languages, Goldman’s four novels and two books of nonfiction have won many awards, including the American Academy’s Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction for The Long Night of White Chickens (1992) and the Prix Femina Étranger for Say Her Name (2011)...