Guatemala News Update: September 29-October 3

Former Guatemalan Police Chief to Stand Trial

A trial began this week against former police chief Pedro García Arredondo, who is being charged with ordering the massacre of 37 people who were peacefully protesting inside the Spanish Embassy in 1980. The massacre, which involved soldiers and police setting fire to the embassy, occurred in the context of Guatemala’s 36-year-long civil war. Thirty-seven people, most of them indigenous Mayans, were killed.

Child Migration to US “Neither Sin or Crime” Says Guatemala Foreign Affairs Minister at United Nations General Assembly 2014

Guatemalan Foreign Affairs Minister Carlos Raul Morales spoke to the United Nations General Assembly on the importance of promoting greater prosperity in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, in light of the recent child migration crisis. Morales spoke about the importance of working with the United States to resolve the issue, but warned against criminalizing the children, citing the culpability of human trafficking networks.

European Union Donates $15.4 Million To Strengthen Justice in Guatemala

The European Union has appropriated $15.4 million in aid to Guatemala. The money will go towards improving the quality of justice services, such as the Institute of National Forensics and the Penitentiary System, among others.

Guatemala’s Former Attorney General Expects More Trials of Dictators in Latin America 

Although the conviction of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Ríos Montt was overturned quickly, former Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz believes his conviction will spur on more trials of dictators throughout Latin America.

Call for Another Election for Supreme and Appellate Court Judges

Various social organizations are calling for Guatemala’s Constitutional Court to redo and correct the recent processes to elect new judges in the country. The election processes have been charged with corruption.

Extension of the “State of Prevention”

The Guatemalan government has extended the “state of prevention” in the zone of San Juan Sacatepéquez by 15 more days. The emergency measures, which suspend constitutional rights, were instituted after a violent clash on September 19th resulted in the death of 11 people.

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