Press Release Condeming Acts Againts Human Rights Defender Ramón Cadena

International Organizations Condemn Act of Intimidation Against Another Human Rights Defender Ramón Cadena in #‎Guatemala‬.
Ramón Cadena Press Release English

Organizaciones internacionales condenan acto intimidatorio contra Ramón Cadena, otro defensor de los derechos humanos en Guatemala.
Ramón Cadena Press Release English-page-001

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Guatemala News: August 6 – August 12

US Deports Former Guatemalan Soldier Wanted in 1982 Massacre

On Wednesday, August 10th, Santos Lopez Alonzo was deported by the United States to Guatemala. Alonzo, a Guatemalan military official who served during the internal armed conflict, is wanted for his participation in the Dos Erres massacre of 1982 in which over 200 residents of Dos Erres were brutally murdered.

Illegal Arrest of Guatemala Indigenous Authority Sparks Outrage

Oscar Sanchez, an Indigenous authority from the town of San Pablo in the San Marcos department, was reportedly arrested without a warrant on August 4th on the charges of kidnapping and illicit association. Sanchez’s arrest follows a pattern of Indigenous rights activists facing trumped-up legal charges against them because of their work on behalf of their community and because they have also been vocal opponents of hydroelectric projects in the region.

Guatemalans’ Fight Against Rogue Canadian Mining Giant Heats Up

This week, California-based NGO the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA), and the Guatemalan Diocesan Committee in Defense of Nature (CODIDENA), provided the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with a report that provides evidence that the mining company Tahoe Resources had lied to investors. The report showed that the company had failed to acknowledge to investors that the company’s mining project in Guatemala had been continually opposed by Indigenous communities.

Guatemala News: July 30-August 5

Socially Conservative Guatemala Sees Quiet LGBTQ Gains

During the past two years, Guatemala has passed a collection of laws and programs LGBTQ Rightsdesigned to promote LGBTQ rights. The Sexual Diversity Defense branch of the Human Rights Procurator’s office, which was opened in 2014, has prioritized sensitivity trainings for police officers, protection for LGBTQ people in the workplace, and the recognition of trans identities in government census collection. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, however, notes that serious “violence and discriminations against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people” persists in Guatemala.


Guatemala to Request Anti-Narcotrafficking Funding from U.S.

Guatemalan Defense Minister Williams Mansilla explained the Defense Ministry’s request for additional U.S. support in a press conference this week. Mansilla told reporters that “[Guatemala] needs stronger aerial resources” in order to combat the sudden increase in narcoactivity in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, a nature reserve in northern Guatemala. He also suggested that the defense department would request naval aid from the United States.


Legal Action Launched Against CICIG Commissioner

The “Foundation Against Terrorism” (FCT), an ultra-right wing Guatemalan organization made up of former high-ranking military officers and their family members, has filed a legal complaint against CICIG Commissioner Ivan Velasquez. The FCT has called CICIG’s anti-corruption efforts lawless and in violation of due process.


Assailants Murder Daughter of Assassinated Journalist in Coatepeque

Lindaura Aceituno, the daughter of a Coatepeque-based radio director who was Journist daughter assassinationkilled June 25th, was shot dead this week while driving her daughter to school. Aceituno died briefly after reaching the hospital on Tuesday. In a report by the Office on Crimes Against Journalists, the organization counted a total of 256 threats to journalists and the assassinations of 5 journalists in 2016 alone.


Leading Human Rights Activists Remark on Continual Threats to Human Rights Defenders

Twenty years after the signing of the Peace Accords, human rights defender Helen Mack warned of further human rights abuses in Guatemala at an annual cultural event in Quetzaltenango. In her statement, Mack noted those who committed human rights violations during the internal armed conflict in Guatemala have now shifted their modus operandi from a physical war to an economic one that is also full of corruption.


Guatemala News: July 23-29

Seven Community Leaders Released After 14 Months in Prison

After 14 months in prison, seven indigenous community leaders from the Huehuetenango were set free by Justice Jazmín Barrios, who was president over the High Risk Court A. The ruling confirmed that the community leaders had faced false and exaggerated charges as a result of their community organizing in defense of Mayan Q´anjobal´ land and resources.

Byron Lima Murder in Guatemala: A ‘Crime of the State’?

Byron Lima in court. by Carlos Sebastián/NomadaIn the second of a series of columns on the murder of Byron Lima, the Guatemalan military official convicted of the high-profile 1998 murder of Bishop Gerardi, journalist Steven Dudley suggests that the Guatemalan state could be complicit in the crime.

Myrna Mack’s Daughter Appointed Guatemala Health Minister

Lucriana Hernandez Mack

Lucriana Hernandez Mack, a public servant and daughter of Myrna Mack, who was assassinated for her speaking out against human rights abuses during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict, was appointed this week as Guatemala’s Health Minister.

Guatemala’s Campesinos March Against State Corruption

On July 26th, 2016, a largely indigenous and campesino                                                           group marcheIndigenous and campesino protesters flood the streets in Guatemala city at the end of the 11-day March for Water on April 22, 2016.d through the capital city, just as protesters had a year before in the anti-corruption demonstrations that helped bring about the end of Perez Molina’s presidency. This week’s protests addressed corporate greed, government corruption, and the criminalization of Indigenous activists.      


Press Conference: Ancestral Authorities from Huehuetenango reaffirm their commitment to social causes


July 28, 2016

At a press conference today, Ermitaño López Reyes, Domingo Baltazar, Sotero Adalberto Villatoro and Francisco Juan Pedro addressed the national and international community reaffirming their commitment to social causes, the defense of natural resources and life.

Emphasizing that the 7 ancestral authorities were unjustly arrested for defending life, Ermitaño López stated that “for us, it is of great satisfaction to be free today, and to be able to demonstrate not only our people, our communities, and to the entire country of how we have been criminalized. We have proven to all people, that we can continue to fight when we are united.”

Guatemala News: July 16-22

Indigenous Qeqchi’ Families Receive Lands

Five years after hundreds of families were violently evicted from the Polochic valley, 81 families have finally received plots of land as compensation for their displacement. 548 families still remain uncompensated.

‘Ecocide’ in Guatemala’s Pasion River Remains Unpunished

Shortcut to Quarterly publication

A year has passed since the Reforestadora of Palmas de El Peten, Anómima Society (REPSA) African palm oil plantation spilled chemical pesticides into the Pasion river. The spill killed massive populations of fish and polluted the rivers, leaving communities living alongside the Pasión without  access to water and food provided by the river. So far, no one from REPSA has faced criminal charges for the pollution.


‘King’ of Guatemala Inmates, Byron Lima is Killed in Prison

Byron Lima

The former army captain Byron Lima, convicted of the 1998 murder of Bishop Gerardi, was murdered in prison yesterday. Reports state that a riot broke out in Pavón prison on July 18th, leaving at least 12 dead and 25 injured. Byron Lima, who had gained control of the prison and was said to leave prison regularly for walks and fresh air, was considered to be “untouchable,” and his unexpected death raises questions as to who killed him and why.


Guatemala Prosecutor Says Threat Linked to Graft Prosecution

Guatemalan Attorney General Thelma Aldana says she believes that her ongoing investigations into the “La Linea” fraud case involving former President Otto Perez Molina and Vice President Roxanna Baldetti lie behind recent threats to her life.


Who Killed Guatemala’s Prison ‘King’ Byron Lima?

In “Who Killed Guatemala’s Prison ‘King’ Byron Lima?” InsightCrime reporter Steven Dudley analyzes government and Civil Intelligence Unit (DIGICI) reports of former military captain Byron Lima’s murder, which occurred at Pavón, a Guatemala jail, on Monday. In his article, Dudley raises questions about the legitimacy of the reports, citing inconsistencies between previous interviews with Lima, DIGICI’s reports, and reports filed by the Guatemalan government.  Byron Lima, charged with the murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi in 1998, had spent almost fifteen years in prison at the time of his death on July 18. Rumors have circulated since, implicating organized crime bosses, drug traffickers, and former military officials in Lima’s death on Monday.