News Update: May 31-June 12

OAS 43rd General Assembly

The Organization of American States had its 43rd General Assembly in Antigua, Guatemala. In attendance were 28 chancellors and 500 representatives from member countries, as well as 80 permanent observing countries. The main topic of discussion was drugs, though there were no major developments or changes in policy.

Pérez Molina and Kerry’s Bilateral Meeting

US Secretary of State John Kerry and President Otto Pérez Molina met and discussed the United States’ migration reform and the situation of Guatemalans in the United States.  Molina expressed many worries; for example, how to stop deportations of Guatemalan migrants and that Guatemala should be involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Ontario Securities Commission Is Investigating Tahoe Resources

Tahoe Resources, a Canadian mining company, is being investigated by the Ontario Securities Commission in relation to the six people shot outside of the Escobal mines on April 27. It is reported that six of Tahoe’s employees have been implicated in the crime based on phone taps from the Guatemalan Public Prosecutor’s Office. As heard in court, Tahoe’s security director, Alberto Rotondo, ordered the murders of the protestors. The Justice and Corporate Accountability Project asked the Ontario Securities Commission to investigate Tahoe Resources claiming that the mining company had downplayed and hidden what their workers had done.

El Salvadoran Archbishop asks for no mine

The Archbishop of El Salvador, José Luis Escobar, is asking the company Goldcorp to not build the Cerro Blanco mine in Jutiapa, Guatemala.  Archbishop Escobar says this construction affects El Salvador, too, because it will contaminate two important rivers. El Salvador has claimed that the mine is already polluting their rivers and lakes, though Otto Pérez Molina denies their claim.

Genocide Trial Updates:

New Judges Named for Retrial of Rios Montt

Irma Yanet Valdes will replace Yassmin Barrios as the presiding judge over the trial of former dictator Rios Montt’s and former general Rodríquez Sánchez. There are 21 criminal proceedings which have to be heard before the Rios Montt case can be retried. For this reason, they have scheduled the trial of Rios Montt and Rodriguez Sanchez for March 2014.  Rios Montt will now also have to face a criminal trial for the massacre of Dos Erres.

Ríos Montt Out of Hospital and Under House Arrest

After nearly a month of being hospitalized, Ríos Montt was released late last night from the Military Medical Center. The First Tribunal B decided that instead of going to jail, he will remain under house arrest until he is retried. His defense team argued that jailing him would be illegal as his sentence had been overturned by the Constitutional Court. There will not be any guards assigned to Montt’s home.

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