Guatemala News Update: February 2-6

US Continues Restrictions on Guatemalan Military Aid 

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 to Guatemala Advocates for Extension of the CICIG

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. Continue reading

43+ US Cities Protest Over Missing Mexican Students from Ayotzinapa

Yesterday, as part of the #USTired2 movement, rallies were held in over 43 US cities for the 43 missing students from Guerrero, Mexico. The students went missing in late September after a clash with police and, while their whereabouts remain unknown, are believed to have been disappeared and murdered.

In DC, GHRC and partners gathered to raise awareness of the role of the US in funding and supporting the Drug War in Mexico and to call for an end to the US-Mexico partnership known as the Merida Initiative (also critically referred to as “Plan Mexico,” in reference to Plan Columbia).

protest-43missing-collageAfter meeting in Columbia Heights, protesters in DC marched to Dupont Circle to join other groups demonstrating against police brutality in the US as part of the DC Ferguson movement. Shutting down the Circle, protesters shouted “No justice, no peace,” and drew connections between impunity for repressive and criminal state actions in Mexico with impunity for police violence in the US.

The protests were covered in Fox News Latino and Univision, among other outlets.

Information via Rights Action suggests viewing this interview with Dawn Paley, author of “Drug War Capitalism,” and this three-minute summary of ‘battle for a different Mexico.’