Weekly News Roundup

August 17-August 22

  • Anti-mining protests reach five months. The communities of San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc have now been protesting the presence of the El Tambor mine for 165 days. According to Ryan Adams, a representative of Kappes Cassiday (the company developing the project), the companies are awaiting the intervention of the government before moving forward with mining operations. However, the community members participating in the protest say that their blockade will continue until the government completely suspends mining licenses in the area.
  • Jorge de León Duque sworn in as Human Rights Ombudsman. De León Duque will officially assume the position today, and his post will last until August 20th, 2017. He affirmed that the office should not focus solely on the delinquent, but should also focus on the victim, and will create a plan for psychological support. Additionally, one of his first acts will be to reduce his salary, previously at Q100,000 per month, to Q45,000 per month.
  • Almost 400 femicides have been committed so far in 2012. The Presidential Commission for to Treat Femicide reported that 377 femicides occurred between January 1st and August 8th, 56 fewer cases than the same period in 2011. Eighty percent of these violent deaths, the commission reported, correspond to women who had previously suffered domestic violence.
  • Ex-police chief sentenced to 70 years in prison for 1981 forced disappearance. Pedro García Arredondo was convicted of helping to plan and carry out the 1981 disappearance of agriculture student Edgar Sáenz Calito. Sáenz was captured in March 1981 and was charged with endangering the security of the nation; he should have been freed on June 9th of the same year, but according to the prosecution, García Arredondo ordered members of security forces under his control to illegally capture the student.
  • Further links between war on drugs, militarization, and oil companies in Petén. A journalist traveling in Petén reports on the increasing militarization and development of oil extraction in the region, indicating that companies are providing financing for the military to install itself in communities. A resident who lives near Laguna del Tigre National Park described the presence of six small bases and 250 soldiers in the area, some of whom have taken part in evictions or restriction of access of goods to communities. Former Governor of Péten, Rudel Mauricio Alvarez was also interviewed, speaking of the challenges of damage caused by oil companies and drug traffickers.
  • Genocide trial delayed again. The defense attorney for José Mauricio Rodríguez Sanchez filed a motion to contest jurisdiction based on the Law of National Reconciliation. The case will be delayed until the appellate court resolves the matter. Rodríguez Sanchez, along with Efrain Ríos Montt and Hector López Fuentes are accused of genocide for their involvement in a series of massacres in the Ixil Triangle region of Guatemala in the early 1980s.

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