Weekly News Roundup

June 21st – June 28th

    • Amnesty International reports on violence against anti-mining activists. Amnesty International released a report on June 21st on the shooting of Yolanda Oquelí and the resistance to the El Tambor mine in San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc. AI researchers and advisers commented on their visit to the protest and their meeting with Yolanda in May.
    • Pérez Molina asks the IACHR not to overstep its bounds. On June 22nd, President Pérez Molina asked the Inter-American Court on Human Rights not to exceed its authority, accusing the court of acting like a criminal court rather than a court on human rights. The demand comes from the hearing in the court, which concluded Wednesday, on the massacres committed in Rio Negro.
    • Four thousand march against mining activity. Community members from municipalities in San Marcos participated in a march on June 22nd to protest against mining activity in the area. Nim Sanic, a member of the Pueblos Indígenas de Occidente, said that the government had reactivated mining licenses in many areas of San Marcos.
    • Army designates 500 kaibiles to the fight against organized crime. Rony Urízar, spokesman for the national military, reported on June 23rd that approximately 90 percent of the 500 troops will go toward the naval or urban combat sectors of the special forces. However, some analysts believe that dedicating more kaibiles to fighting organized crime is inefficient and that the problem would be better handled by intelligence and criminal investigation forces, particularly due to the history of special forces personnel participating in drug cartels.
    • New mining laws introduced in Guatemala. On June 25th, the Ministry of Energy and Mines introduced amendments to the Mining Act, replacing earlier voluntary agreements between President Pérez Molina and mining companies. The amendments would require companies to pay new royalty rates, to distribute a percentage of royalties among communities where mines are located, and would create a state mining company.
    • Court awards provisional protection to Rios Montt. The June 27th decision by the Fourth Court of Appeals of the Supreme Court of Justice suspended the trial against the former head of state for the 1982 massacre of 200 people in Dos Erres. The defense seeks to apply the Law of National Reconciliation to the case, intending to award Rios Montt amnesty. On June 28th, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Association of Family Members of the Detained-Disappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA) presented appeals to the Constitutional Court regarding the protection. The court has three days to resolve the appeal, though the process could take up to two weeks.
    • Mine workers freed in San Juan Bosco. Four workers from the San Rafael mining company were freed after being held by community members for six hours. Members of the community held the workers after their unanticipated arrival in San Juan Bosco, which had previously presented itself in opposition to mining exploration in the area. Camilo Medina, a representative of the mining company, could not be reached for negotiation due to his presence in a meeting, but community members met with the mayor of Casillas Felipe Rojas to negotiate the release of the workers.
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