This article discusses continued US pressure on the Guatemalan government to reduce the role of the military across the country, even as Otto Pérez Molina’s administration has overseen the expansion of the military into law enforcement and recently passed a new executive order supporting nine reserve military squadrons to assist with “citizen security” and help “combat organized crime.”
The military is also being used to protect the interests of foreign and multinational corporations working in Guatemala, and to threaten and intimidate land rights activists. Although conditions on US funding remain in place, the US continues to provide support and training to the Guatemalan army in order to combat drug trafficking.
GHRC, quoted in the article, has raised concerns about the increased militarization of daily life in Guatemala, noting that it is also a violation of the peace accords.
US Ambassador Todd Robinson has expressed support for the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), stating that he will seek out support from the international community for its continuation.
Although Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina recently announced that he would not request an extension for the CICIG, several Guatemalan and international civil society groups have called for its continuation. A survey by the Guatemalan Chamber of Commerce also found that 70% of those interviewed are in favor of extending the mandate of the CICIG for another two years.
This week, heads of the institutions that make up the justice sector also held a closed-door meeting to discuss the permanence of the CICIG; a decision about the extension will be made within the next two months.
The relatives of those who died in the attack of the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala in 1980 commemorated the 35th anniversary of the tragic event last Saturday, January 31. Dozens of relatives took part in a Maya ceremony to honor the victims and celebrate the recent victory in the trial against former police chief Pedro Garcia Arredondo, who was found guilty of of the attack on the Embassy.
The Supreme Court of Justice has denied a request from the Public Prosecutor’s Office to transfer a case involving the murder of eight people in Los Pajoques to the High Risk Court. Nine people are facing charges in the case.
The violent conflict resulted from a dispute over the construction of a cement factory and a highway in the region.
Former Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz will join an “interdisciplinary group” of four other human rights specialists to provide technical assistance in the investigation of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico. The team was coordinated by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and has a mandate of six months, with the possibility of extension, until set objectives are met.