“Guatemala, August 12, 2015. My name is Silvia [sic.] Maria Gereda Valenzuela de Torrebiarte. I’m a journalist and I am working on my Ph.D. in sociology and political sciences I, the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Spain. I was a founding member and director of the local newspaper elPeriodico de Guatemala and I’m currently the director of Informe Especial, an investigative journalism television program broadcasted in Guatemala on Canal Antigua The reason why I’m mentioning part of my professional background is because as an investigative journalist, I’m fully aware of my responsibilities when giving a statement about someone who has been criminally charged in court, therefore, I will say nothing but the truth regarding Diego Dougherty Novella, whom I’ve known for over 25 years.
I, met Diego in the mid 1990s due to his relationship with my husband’s family (my husband is Diego Torrebiarte). Since I met him, I can say Diego is a true gentleman, and a nice, peaceful, and helpful man, who is empathetic and always willing to help others. I used to see Diego occasionally in family or social gatherings and I was always under the impression that he was a very knowledgeable person with whom you could talk to about a great variety of subjects.
I saw him again about a year ago after he offered my husband some readings and videos about humanitarian subjects that he said he wanted to share with me. From then on, we constantly kept in touch because he wanted to know more about my points of view as a journalist and analyst; we talked a lot about these topics.
Diego used to talk about the need of having a peaceful world with no power struggles and where everyone could freely reach his or her full potential. I know for a fact that he enjoys reading about a broad range of subjects and that he is an educated and Knowledgeable man. He has an exceptional mind.
A couple of months after that, he told me about finding his inner peace, and I can say that on our meetings, he showed nothing but love and willingness to help others.
Less than a year ago, Diego showed immeasurable moral support to my brother, José Antonio Gereda, who was going through some difficult personal moments at the time. Diego was there for him 24/7, helping and supporting him unconditionally, until my brother was able to solve his problems. He never left his side and was always there for him. My family and I consider Diego to be a faithful, kind, and unconditional friend who has stood by us through thick and thin. He has certain positive qualities that you rarely find in other people. A helpful, kind, nice, and peaceful Diego! That’s the Diego I’ve known for over 25 years and of who I can attest is a kind human being. I never saw him hurt or attack anyone; on the contrary, his life was always about helping others and searching for peace and freedom.
Jesus said: “The truth will set you free” and that is why I’m willing to take all responsibility for speaking truthfully. I’ve done so throughout my professional career and therefore, I feel the moral responsibility of providing a statement to whom it corresponds and wants to know the real Diego Dougherty Novella. —
Sylvia Maria Gereda Valenzuela. Guatemala.”