Weekly News Roundup

March 30th- April 5th

National News

  • President Perez Molina announced that he believes the United States should pay for drug seizures.   The US consumes many of the drugs trafficked through Guatemala and President Perez Molina claims that the US has a responsibility to pay for drugs seized from traffickers.
  • Plaza Publica published a detailed account that describes the recent campesino march to Guatemala City.  One year after the evictions from the Polochic Valley, over 10,000 campesinos marched for 9 days to protest the evictions and destruction of their property.  Eventually they met with the President and several officials in the capital.  The results of the meeting was a promise to create a fund to help relieve the large amount of agricultural debt as well as funds to help some of the families evicted from the Polochic Valley.
  • Appeals court confirms Dos Erres sentence.  The First Court of Appeals upheld the ruling that sentenced 3 ex-Kaibiles to 6,060 years in prison and a 4th ex-Kaibil to 6,066 years in prison.  All four were convicted of crimes against humanity and the 4th was additionally convicted of aggravated assault, for their participation in the Dos Erres massacre.
  • Congress begins election process for Human Rights Ombudsman.  The Commission for Human Rights of the Guatemalan Congress verified that 20 candidates for the position of Human Rights Ombudsman fulfill the requirements for the positions.  The article includes a list of the candidates.
  • Defense files appeals to prolong trial. Former Head of Defense Héctor Mario López Fuentes and the former director of Army Intelligence José Rodríguez Sánchez have been brought to trial, but a judgment has not been reached because the defense attorneys lodged several appeals to prolong the case.
  • Ríos Montt objects to evidence. Former Head of State Efrain Ríos Montt objected to the use of the report published by the UN backed Commission for Historical Clarification by the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The rejection of the evidence would also benefit Héctor Mario López Fuentes y Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, former military members who are also on trial.
  • UN requests Guatemala to adopt a clear position on genocide. The UN Commission on Human Rights asked the Guatemalan state to adopt a “clear position” on the civil conflict and support the resolution of current genocide cases.  The final observations of the committee included three concerns: lack of support in investigating genocide claims, attacks against human rights defenders, and discrimination against indigenous communities.
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