Guatemala News Update February 9-13

Former Dictator Ríos Montt Could Stand Trial for Dos Erres Massacre

Guatemala’s Constitutional Court declared on February 6 that former military dictator Efraín Ríos Montt could be prosecuted for the “Dos Erres” massacre. Nearly 300 people were murdered in 1982 in the village of Dos Erres by the Guatemalan military’s special forces, the Kaibile, under the de facto administration of Ríos Montt.

Obama’s Central America Rescue Plan Will Only Make Life There Worse

This article argues that the “Alliance for Prosperity” plan, which promotes economic development in Central America as a mechanism to curb migration, could have adverse effects in the region. By promoting spending on infrastructure and foreign investment, the plan could actually exasperate the problems that vulnerable local communities face when dealing with rapid macroeconomic development.

US Marines Prepare for Central American Emergencies

The United States has expanded its military presence in Central America in 2015; the new task force includes at least 200 Marines and a number of aircraft. The US government claims these actions have been taken to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and to combat drug cartels.

Guatemala’s Indigenous Peoples Change Strategy to Seek More Political Representation

This article explores a new initiative by several indigenous groups in Guatemala who have united to form a new political party called the “Convergence for Democratic Revolution,” or CRD. This action marks a shift from working exclusively in resistance and activism, to a focus on political representation and obtaining seats of power.

Guatemala’s New Low Minimum Wage Under Flak from UN Rights Experts

UN rights experts have warned that alarming changes in Guatemala’s minimum wage violate labor rights as well as international human rights obligations. A differentiated minimum wage, 44% lower than the national, was introduced by the Guatemalan government for manufacturing workers in four municipalities in order to “promote development.”

Court Formed to Resolve Embezzlement Case

A Guatemalan tribunal has been formed to substantiate why a case has been closed regarding the alleged embezzlement of Q471.5 million under the administration of Alfonso Portillo. The case involves eight members of the military, including Enrique Ríos Sosa, son of ex-military dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. The individuals are being accused of corruption and illegal transfer of money.

Child, Bride, Mother

This New York Times Exposures piece looks at child marriage in Guatemala, highlighting the challenges that young women face, including the dangerous health complications of teenage pregnancy.

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