Guatemala News Update: February 16-20

Tribunal Formed to Rule on Amnesty for Ríos Montt

Guatemala’s First Court of Appeals has rejected a challenge made by Ríos Montt’s defense against Judge Edith Marilena Pérez Ordóñez, who was confirmed as the third member of a tribunal that will rule on Montt’s petition for amnesty.

Vice President of US to Visit Guatemala

In early March, Vice President Joe Biden will hold two days of meetings with the presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to discuss implementation of the “Alliance for Prosperity” plan.

In a related article, Julio Ligorría — Guatemala’s ambassador to the US — discusses cooperation between Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and the US regarding development and security crises. The ambassador also discusses Guatemala’s active role in the implementation of the “Alliance for Prosperity” plan.

Operation Eye of the Falcon Fighting Drugs in Guatemala with US Support

The Guatemalan government has announced a new law enforcement operation, called “Eye of the Falcon,” in order to break up drug trafficking organizations. The operation will focus on Guatemala’s Pacific coast and involves both US and Guatemalan anti-drug agents.

Environmental Conflicts Could Cause Increase in Violence

The deputy minister of Sustainable Development for the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Guatemala stated that socio-environmental conflicts related to resistance to mining, dams and electricity projects could significantly heighten rates of violence in several municipalities during the next general election.

Another article describes heightened tension in San Pedro Ayampuc as communities reject the installation of a substation by electrical company Tresca. Community members argue that the company provides energy to contentious mining projects in the area, and cite concerns over deforestation and exploitation of water resources.

On Why the CICIG Is Necessary

As a debate continues in Guatemala about the extension of the UN-backed CICIG, this article by Iduvina Hernandez analyzes the role of the CICIG and advocates for its continuation. Hernandez argues that even though judicial strengthening is a task for Guatemalans, it is currently impossible to make progress without international oversight due to rampant impunity in the country.

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