Despite Historic Conviction, Genocide Continues in Guatemala

May 16, 2013 Leonor Hurtado 0

On May 10th, the Guatemalan Court of Justice convicted the ex-dictator General Ríos Montt to 80 years in prison for the massacres of indigenous people during the 1980s. But while the Guatemalan people celebrate the conviction, the processes of genocide initiated 30 years ago by Ríos Montt’s massacres still continue by other means.


State of Siege: Mining Conflict Escalates in Guatemala

May 2, 2013 Sandra Cuffe 0

With the world’s attention focused on the on-again off-again genocide trial of former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt and his head of military intelligence in Guatemala City, there has been little international reporting on other events in the Central American nation. Meanwhile, as the trial continues, conflicts involving rural communities and Canadian mining companies are escalating, to the point that a State of Siege was declared last night.


New Wave of Attacks against Land Rights Activists in Guatemala

While the world watches the historic case against the generals Efraín Ríos Montt and José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, indigenous peoples and human rights defenders are suffering persecution very similar to that perpetrated in the 1980s. As Guatemala begins to chip away at impunity for egregious human rights violations of the past, we must ensure that cycles of repression and violence do not repeat against current-day activists working to create a more just and inclusive society.



“Sons and Daughters of the Earth”: Indigenous Communities and Land Grabs in Guatemala

April 11, 2013 Alberto Alonso-Fradejas 0

In the last ten years, the expansion of corporate sugarcane and oil palm plantations in northern Guatemala has encroached on the lands of Maya Q’eqchi’ indigenous people. These plantations have already displaced hundreds of families—even entire communities—leading to increased poverty, hunger, unemployment, and landlessness in the region. In the face of violent expulsion and incorporation into an exploitative system, peasant families are struggling to access land and defend their resources as the basis of their collective identity as Q’eqchi’ peoples or R’al Ch’och (“sons and daughters of the earth”).


Photo Essay: Genocide Trial begins in Guatemala

March 22, 2013 James Rodríguez 0

Images from the first day of the historic trial against former de facto dictator Efraín Ríos Montt and former Intelligence Director José Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez. Ríos Montt and Rodriguez Sanchez are charged with Genocide and crimes against humanity during the civil war in Guatemala (1960-1996) against the Ixil Mayan people.


Profiting From Genocide: The World Bank’s Bloody History in Guatemala

March 11, 2013 Cyril Mychalejko 0

The World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) supported genocide in Guatemala and ought to pay reparations, according to a recent report by Jubilee International. However, the prosecution of war criminals and the accusations against International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have so far done little to protect vulnerable communities from the ongoing expansion of mining, oil and other economic interests invading their territories and violating their human rights.


Guatemala’s Deadly Lifeline: Over-Reliance on the United States

February 21, 2013 John Washington 0

Guatemala is a country full of contradictions. Grinding poverty, political ineptitude and a recent wave of violence and murder can easily make one forget that it is a country, the largest and most populous in Central America, incredibly rich in natural resources and full of working age youth. One result of these contradictions is forcced internal and external migration.


Remilitarization Gives Rise to New Tensions and Violence in Guatemala

January 25, 2013 Kelsey Alford-Jones 0

On October 6, the Guatemalan army gunned down six indigenous protesters in Totonicapán and injured at least 30 more. Thousands had gathered to oppose unpopular government reforms, and while the police held their distance, the military advanced and shot into the crowd. The event was a tragic manifestation of one of the public’s worst fears since President Pérez Molina took office in January 2012: that the Guatemalan armed forces would resort to deadly force in order to repress and silence dissent, an experience all too familiar in the nation´s collective historic memory.


Guatemala – Mayan Oxlajuj Baktun: End of an Era, More of the Same

Events in the Guatemalan northern city of Huehuetenango during the much-awaited end of the Mayan Oxlajuj Baktun provide a clear reflection of the divisions and challenges faced by Mayan communities today. The media exploited erroneous apocalyptic rumors, the government and business sectors viewed it as an opportunity to gain economically through tourism, and progressive groups seized the opportunity “to strengthen ancestral wisdom and never-ending search for balance” while vindicating what seem never-ending struggles for justice, inclusion, and self-determination.


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