March 15th– March 29th
- Defense Minister lobbies in Washington. Guatemalan Defense Minister Ulises Anzueto lobbied Congress to consider lifting the ban on military aid to Guatemala. He defends the military, claiming that it has fulfilled the requirements for lifting the ban.
- Campesinos walk 30 km a day to capital. Campesino organizations are marching from Cobán, Alta Verapaz to the capital in hopes of meeting with the President to obtain a response to their agricultural demands, which include debt relief, passage of several laws pertaining to agriculture and indigenous peoples, and halting the prosecution of communities that protest mining projects. In response, President Perez Molina created a commission to hear the petitions of the campesinos. The campesinos are currently more than halfway to the capital.
- Five ex-members of paramilitary unit sentenced to 7,710 years in prison Former members of the Civil Defense Patrols (ex-PAC) were charged with participation in genocide and crimes against humanity for their involvement in the Plan de Sanchez massacre of 1982 in which 256 indigenous villagers were brutally assassinated. The ex-PAC were accused of having collaborated with the Guatemalan army in the slaying of men, women and children in Plan de Sanchez.
- Ex-Guatemalan Police Chief Accused of Extra-Judicial Killings. The former head of the Guatemalan National Police Marlene Raquel Blanco was arrested for her alleged involvement in several extra-judicial killings in 2009. According to CICIG, Blanco assisted a group of ex-police officers in capturing at least 3 men as part of purported social cleansing.
- President accepts part of the campesino’s demands. President Pérez Molina approved 5 of the 8 petitions brought by the campesinos that marched to Guatemala City. Among the five points mentioned was agricultural debt relief, analysis of the evictions in the Polochic Valley, evaluation of mines and hydroelectric dams, and possible troop withdrawal from conflict areas. Negotiations lasted 8 hours. Here is the detailed list of the government’s response and here is an interview with Miguel de León Ceto, a representative of three indigenous communities in Ixil. Here is the detailed list of the government’s response and an interview with Miguel de León Ceto, a representative of three indigenous communities in Ixil. Many campesinos are returning home with the hope that the government will listen to their demands.
- President Pérez Molina grants CICIG extension. The President, in partnership with the UN, granted an extension to the mandate of the Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) until 2015.
- Request presents charges against Ríos Montt. The Public Prosecutor’s Office requested that former head of state Efraín Ríos Montt be charged with genocide and crimes against humanity.
- Banners were hung, supposedly by the leaders of the Zeta gang on the streets of Petén that threaten attacks on civilians if the government does not stop its prosecution of the Zetas. An example of a current prosecution is the case of Gustavo Adolfo Colindres Arreaga, a former Kaibil and current Zeta leader, who was captured on March 19 in Petén and is now being transported to Guatemala City.
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern over the impact of economic projects on the rights of indigenous groups in Guatemala.
- Salvadoran President boycotted Central American summit. The President of El Salvador Mauricio Funes announced that he did not attend the next SICA (Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana) summit because of President Pérez Molina’s drug legalization proposals. President Ortega of Nicaragua and President Lobo of Honduras also did not attend.
- President Perez Molina meets with US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics In the press conference following the meeting, William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said that the United States was doing its own research on legalization of drugs but that they were open to discussion. He did assure that the United States would continue to support the Guatemalan government in their fight against organized crime but remains opposed to drug legalization.