Weekly News Roundup

May 4th - May 10th

  • Canadian mining company to begin operations in 2013. The Canadian Mining Company Tahoe Resources announced on May 3 that they will launch mining operations in San Rafael Las Flores, Santa Rosa next year. Residents of nearby communities organized a march to show their opposition to exploitative mining operations.
  • Regional Security Plan launched. On May 4, member states of the Central American Integration System agreed on launching six projects as part of the Regional Security Plan. These projects are backed by $80 million from the European Union and Spain. The projects include modifications in the training of judges and in the recruitment of prison guards as well as changes in security posts along the country’s borders.
  • Congress ratifies state of siege in Barillas. On May 8, the majority of members of the Guatemalan Congress voted in favor of the state of siege which gives authorities permission to patrol the area of Barillas for 30 days. Members of 40 social organizations protested outside of Congress showing their opposition to the state of siege and demanded it be lifted and the detainees be released. While the state of siege is in place, police and military officials are granted the authority to search properties and arrest individuals without warrants. The state of siege also puts in place restrictions on the local communities limiting freedom of association and the right to bear arms.
  • Continuous tensions between community members and mining company. Early in the morning on May 8 community members blocked the entrance of the El Tambor mine to keep workers of the mining company, backed by 400 agents of the National Civilian Police, from bringing machines into the mine. Residents of nearby communities have been protesting outside of the mine for 68 days to show their opposition to exploitative mining operations.
  • State of Guatemala to be tried in femicide case. The Inter-American Court on Human Rights will try the state of Guatemala for denial of justice in the assassination of Maria Isabel Veliz in 2001 as reported by Prensa Libre on May 8. The death of Maria Isabel has become symbolic for impunity in femicide cases in the country.
  • National Civilian Police offices in Guatemala City lack resources. Defective cars and motorcycles, insufficient cartridge and paper for printing reports and water supply are some of the problems faced by National Civilian Police agents in Guatemala City. On May 10 Prensa Libre reported that police officials and community members have criticized the government and police authorities for not providing sufficient resources.
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