Weekly News Roundup

June 29th – July 6th

  • Peace Archives officially closes. The Peace Archives Directorate officially closed on June 29th, after the previously announced decision to close the office on May 29. The labor union of Sepaz, the Peace Secretariat, has a number of activities planned to protest the event.
  • Residents of San Juan Sacatepéquez protest military base. On June 30th, residents of the community, as well as delegates from Huehuetenango, San Marcos, and Quiché, participated in a march to protest the inauguration of a military base in the department. Participants spoke out about the criminalization and repression represented by the new base. Another military base in Petén was also inaugurated on the same day; President Pérez Molina commented that he has instructed the Ministry of Defense to install at least nine new bases in the next 12 months. Plaza Pública reported extensively on the protest and inauguration.
  • Lider party denounces militarization and links to organized crime. Members of the Lider party accused the government of placing members of the military in civilian posts and of sustaining links to organized crime in the country. According to Roberto Villate, the head of the party, there are more than 75 members of the military who are linked to crime networks. Villate asked the Public Prosecutor’s office and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) to begin an investigation into the networks; Francisco Cuevas, the secretary of Presidential Communication, admitted that although ex-military members have been contracted by criminal networks, it has been for their level of training.
  • Organizations condemn attacks against activists. The Center for Legal, Environmental, and Social Action (Calas), the Human Rights Defenders’ Protection Unit (Udefegua), and the international organization Frontline Defender condemned attacks against human rights defenders in Guatemala. They reported that there were 429 cases of violence against human rights defenders in 2011 and asked that the government guarantee the protection and safety of activists.
  • Judge rejects request by Ríos Montt. On July 5th, the Court of Third Instance rejected a request by ex-head of state Efraín Ríos Montt to declare the nullity of documents pertaining to the internal armed conflict. The request was based on the claim that the documents, containing the Sofía Operation and the Subversive War Manual, may not be in their original form.
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