Guatemala News Update February 1-7

Attorney General Paz y Paz ordered to step down in May

Guatemala’s Constitutional Court provisionally ruled that Attorney General Paz y Paz will end her term in May of this year instead of December.  International bodies, and Paz y Paz herself, argued against the decision. They claim that the decision was because those who have been affected by “crusader” Paz y Paz’s quest for justice while in office want her removed. The court ordered Congress to convene the commission to find Paz y Paz’s successor, but despite support from the Patriot Party there were not enough votes in favor of doing so.

Photo: mimundo.org

Photo: mimundo.org

Guatemalan government to respond to conditions in the U.S. Appropriations Act

Government officials are preparing a response to the conditions imposed on the Pérez Molina administration in the U.S. Appropriations Act. Pérez Molina has rejected the conditions, and blamed them on Appropriations Committee Staffer, Tim Rieser. Meanwhile, Vice President Roxana Baldetti stated that it wouldn’t be possible to compensate the communities affected by the Chixoy Dam because the government doesn’t have the resources to do so.

IACHR hears case of Florentín Gudiel Ramos

The Inter-American Court on Human Rights heard the case of Florentín Gudiel Ramos this week, charging Guatemala with failing to protect the human rights leader, who was murdered in 2004. Gudiel’s daughter Makrina, also a human rights defender, testified in the case, noting that the entire family continued to receive threats after her father’s death.

Complaint filed against Mayor of San Miguel Ixtahuacán for forced labor

On January 8, five communities brought a complaint to Guatemala’s Supreme Court against Mayor Ovidio Joel Domingo Bámaca claiming that he forced them to work for free. In 2010, the IACHR requested precautionary measures for the communities affected by the Marlin Mine, asking Guatemala to guarantee access to potable water. The plaintiffs explain, however, that as part of the plan to provide water, the Mayor required community members to work for free and cover some costs of the project. Between 2005-2013, Guatemala has received Q445.1 million in royalties from mining in San Miguel Ixtahuacán.

Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs to travel to Guatemala

The U.S. Department of State announced that William R. Brownfield will travel to Honduras and Guatemala next week. In Guatemala, he will meet with President Pérez Molina and the director of the International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG) to support strengthening Guatemala’s rule of law and combat insecurity.

Guatemala: Calling on the International Community

In the second article in the series of four, the Huffington Post outlines Guatemala’s violent past, including the 36-year civil war and the current debilitating organized crime situation in the country, despite the signing of the 1996 peace accords.

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