Guatemala News Update: April 25-29

Radio Station SnuqJolomKonob’ reopens

15 months after the radio station was arbitrarily closed, the Snuq Jolom Konob’ located in Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango reopened on April 29th. Thanks to the work of the board of directors and radio staff, the closure of the radio station was deemed illegal and arbitrary and for that reason it will be reinstated and allowed to resume all of its normal activities.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights examines Rabinal massacres

35 years after the original massacre of 32 men and boys in Rabinal by the Guatemalan army on January 8, 1982, the hearing for the massacre finally occurred. During the hearing, evidence was presented, victims gave their testimonies, and various experts also gave their reports. It is hoped that the Court will give a sentence between September and October of this year.

The Minister for Energy and Mines resigns amid controversies

On April 26th, Juan Pelayo Castañón resigned his post as the Minister for Energy and Mines. Rafel Maldonado, a lawyer with the environmental organization Center for Legal, Social, and Environmental action (CALAS), stated that the resignation did not come as a surprise, and that the Minister had been protecting mining companies even when those companies lacked legal standing to continue their operations. Luis Chang, the current Vice-Minister of has been named as the replacement.

Mining operations at el Tambor mine continue illegally

On April 27th, the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) confirmed that authorities met with members of the peaceful resistance of La Puya, located between San Jose del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc, to finally come to an agreement on the operations at the El Tambor mine. One result of this dialogue was that the MEM verified that the mine is still operating despite the suspension of its mining license.

New corruption charges brought against ex-president Otto Pérez Molina

As it stands, both ex-president Molina and ex-vice president, Roxana Baldetti, are accused of involvement in at least five cases of corruption and fraud. Evidence suggests the illegal network they were involved in took money from customs, ports, infrastructure, and other sectors of the economy. Furthermore, there are accusations of illegal financing by Pérez Molina during his political campaigning.

National dialogue promoting justice reforms begins

Last Monday, Jimmy Morales began a national dialogue with the chiefs of the Judicial and Legislative branches to reform the country’s corrupt justice system. He stated, “There are millions of Guatemalans that do not receive justice. The public outcry continues because there isn’t justice. There still is impunity within Guatemala.”

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