Weekly News Roundup

February 24th- March 1st

NationalNews

  • Judge rejects amnesty claim by Efrain Rios Montt.  Judge Miguel Angel Galvez rejected former general Efrain Rios Montt’s petition for amnesty from charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.  The judge ruled that the amnesty law is invalid because of a 1949 international treaty against genocide that Guatemala signed before amnesty was declared.
  • Kaibil subinstructor Pedro Pimentel is on trial for his participation in the Dos Erres massacre and is charged with murder and crimes against humanity.  Ex Minister of Defense and former director of the Kaibil’s training school Eduardo Arévalo Lacs said that Pedro Pimentel was the head of a Kaibil patrol during the time of the Dos Erres massacre but denies Kaibil participation.   However, three survivors testified in court and confirmed that the army was responsible for the massacres in Dos Erres.  They claim that a group of 40 Kaibiles and 20 instructores and subinstructores, including Pedro Pimentel Ríos, arrived in Dos Erres on December 4, 1982 in search of weapons.
  • Law against Femicide remains in force.  The Constitutional Court maintained that the Law against Femicide is constitutional and rejected charges brought by Romeo Gonzales, Werner de León, and Pablo López, who claimed that several articles were unconstitutional.   The Court dismissed these claims on the basis of the violence women suffer in Guatemala, insufficient legislative protection of women, and international agreements signed by Guatemala with regards to the status of women.
  • Secretary for Peace denies Genocide.  Secretary for Peace Antonio Arenales denies that genocide occurred in Guatemala and completely denies that attempts were made to eradicate ethnic Mayans.
  • Napolitano rejects failure of drug war.  During a tour of Central America, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano stated  that the war on drugs is not a failure and that the United States will work to increase regional cooperation to fight drug trafficking.  The Guatemala Times published an editorial criticizing Napolitano for claiming that the war on drugs is going well.
  • Citizens of Petén denounce harassment by army and ask President for withdrawal.  Sereriano Aragon, representative of 300 families from La Laguna del Tigre in La Libertad, Petén, said that they are victims of intimidation by the army and also asked for the withdrawal of the oil company Perenco.  A complaint will be presented in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to denounce the threats and violations of their rights.
  • Organizations celebrate “day of dignity”.  Human rights organizations, survivors, and family members of victims celebrated a day of remembrance for those who died during the internal armed conflict.  They placed pictures of victims and flowers in Constitution Plaza with the heading “Justice for Genocide Now”.  The activists criticized the lack of justice as well as the position of President Perez Molina who denies genocide occurred.   Family members of victims also petitioned Congress to pass a law that would create a commission to oversee the search of people who disappeared during the 36 years of internal armed conflict.

International News

  • Wikileaks obtains archives of “CIA in the shadows”. Wikileaks cables have shed light on the business of Stratfor, an American defense firm that has ties with multinational corporations and the CIA, and its involvement in Guatemala.  Plaza Pública will release these cables in the coming months.

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