Irma Flaquer

oil on canvas
$7,500 (unframed)
7,500 (unframed)
Irma Flaquer

GUATEMALA: Those who knew Irma Flaquer could point to any one of her outspoken denunciations of the Guatemalan government as the one that had placed her in irreparable danger. Yet Irma’s belief that she could affect change within the system, combined with her refusal to be silenced as a journalist, kept her publishing the column "Lo Que Otros Callan" (“What Others Keep Quiet”) for 22 years.

Flaquer had been the subject of death threats, surveillance, assault and at least one attempt on her life as a result of her expositions of political repression, government and military corruption, and human rights violations in the daily newspapers La Hora and La Nación.

On October 16, 1980, at the age of 42, her destiny finally caught up with her. The day before she was to flee to Nicaragua, she was abducted from a street corner near her home, never to be seen again. Her son, Fernando Valle, age 24, was also murdered in the attack. Some believe the crime resulted from a conspiracy amongst military, police, and government leadership; the threat of repercussions, however, led Flaquer's family, as well as the media, to cease their calls for an investigation.

Because of an amnesty for felonies committed before 1985, no conviction can now be made in her murder. The quest for truth endures, however, as she was but one of many who had persevered despite the institutional violence that even today continues to threaten Guatemalan journalists and human rights defenders, a community that has been aptly described as "living under siege".