President Molina comes to the US
On Friday, July 25, the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador met with President Obama to discuss the child migrant crisis.
In related news, President Pérez Molina recommended during an interview with the Washington Post that the US give 10% of the $20 billion currently allocated towards border security and processing to Central American countries in order to “attack the root of the [migration] problem.” In previous statements President Molina said this money can go towards fighting organized crime and violence in the countries. In the interview the President also suggested that US foreign policy has played a role in Guatemalan suffering in reference to the connection between the internal armed conflict and the Cold War.
The OAS issues declaration on child migrants
The Organization of American States adopted a declaration regarding unaccompanied child migrants from Central America. The declaration, which was prepared by representatives from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, expresses, “solidarity with the governments of the region, so that the problem of unaccompanied migration of children is addressed from a humanitarian perspective that ensures the well being and respectful treatment of the children and that allows for family reunification where appropriate.” Continue reading
Violent Eviction at La Puya
On Friday, after more than two years of non-violent resistance against a gold mine, the communities in resistance of “La Puya” were evicted from their blockade at the entrance to the mine. Police arrived early in the morning to escort mining company trucks and heavy machinery. By the afternoon, hundreds of police — including many in full riot gear — moved in on the protesters with tear gas and flash bombs, beating those who refused to move. Over 20 people were injured.
Just days before, attempts at negotiation were made, but ultimately stalled when the government refused to allow the negotiations to be recorded. The Vice-Minister of the Interior insinuated that the government had agreed to accompany the mine equipment because the dialogue was effectively “broken.” Community members at La Puya reiterate that they want to complete the negotiation process with the government, but with transparency.
Although machinery was successfully brought into the mine, those at the Puya have already stated they are committed to continue their resistance. GHRC will continue to monitor the situation and support communities’ rights. Continue reading
INDE secretly approves company for hydroelectric dam
News came through international sources this week that the National Institute for Electricity (INDE) secretly granted the Brazilian company Intertechne Consultores rights to the Xalalá hydroelectric project. In January of this year, INDE requested bids for the project, but in April they declared to have deserted the request. The proposed Xalalá hydroelectric dam on the Chixoy River, along the border of the departments Quiché and Alta Verapaz, has been contentious since the plan was first proposed in 2004. It would affect more than 50 communities, and approximately 18,000 residents said no to the project in a community consultation in 2007. In the last few months, state institutions, especially those involved in energy, have been active in Xalalá. For example, some testified that INDE representatives attempted to bribe leaders for the support of the community. The presence of the army has also increased. Continue reading