Here's a round-up of some interesting articles that reflect on what the conviction of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt means for the victims and survivors of abuses perpetrated during the civil war.
Why genocide conviction of Guatemala's former dictator matters - Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Guatemalan war rape victims break silence in genocide trial - Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation
When pre-trial Judge Carol Patricia Flores ordered on April 18 that the trial against former Guatemalan general Efraín Ríos Montt be suspended and for the proceeding to start at square one due to the supposed need to rule on a number of motions that were left unresolved since 2011, the human rights community was thrown into a flurry of confusion, rage and feeling of impotence, writes Viviana Waisman, founder and executive director of Women’s Link Worldwide.
This setback is outrageous for all the survivors of Guatemala's civil war and their families, and puts in peril an opportunity that must not go unmentioned: the opportunity to prosecute gender crimes committed for purposes of carrying out genocide, Waisman argues.
Read her full op-ed on the Thomson Reuters Foundation website: http://www.trust.org/item/20130501130008-12vyz/?source=hpblogs
At least 48 people have been killed and some 20 are missing after a 7.4-magnitude quake hit off Guatemala's Pacific coast on Wednesday, the BBC reports.
President Otto Perez Molina, who toured the worst affected areas, has declared three days of mourning. Officials said landslides had buried roads and it would take 24 hours to restore links to the quake-hit area.
The director of Guatemala's Seismological Institute said it was the biggest tremor in Guatemala since 1976, when 25,000 people died in a 7.5-magnitude quake.
Panama, El Salvador and Honduras have offered their help with the rescue operation, the BBC said.
For more, visit the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-20243894
An urgent action was started this month to bring to justice those responsible for the massacre of eight people and over 30 wounded in Totonicapan, Guatemala, on October 4, and to campaign to protect the lives of the Guatemalan people.
The organisation Avaaz has taken up this campaign and has started a worldwide e-petition. We urge you to join in and promote it among your friends and family:
Clwyd Latin America Human Rights Group, Wales Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, El Salvador Network and Cymru Cuba
For more information about the incident: http://www.ilps.info/index.php/en/current-events/105-statements-and-pres...
A court in Guatemala sentenced a former police chief to 70 years in jail on August 21 for ordering the kidnapping of a university student during the country's brutal civil war, Reuters reports.
Pedro Garcia is the highest ranking police official to be sentenced for war crimes in Guatemala, in the latest of a string of cases the government has initiated against former officials. For the full story: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/08/22/uk-guatemala-police-sentence-id...
The Guardian reports on living conditions for ethnic Maya Q'eqchi communities of smallholder farmers who were evicted last year by state security forces from land they had farmed for generations in the Polochic valley in southern Guatemala to make way for plantations of sugarcane for biofuels.
Displaced families are living by the side of the road with no access to shelter or food, the paper reports. "The men fled to the mountains, the women had to find a way to live. People lost everything; they became nothing but cheap labour," says Maria Josefa Macz, a human rights worker from the Guatemala Campesino Unity Committee (CUC).
Read John Vidal's report on the Guardian website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/jul/05/guatemala-land-...
By Theo Bradford
On May 1, three community leaders in Santa Cruz Barillas, in Guatemala's Huehuetenango Department, were attacked by a group of gunmen allegedly due to their opposition to a dam planned for the local area. Andrés Francisco Miguel was killed in the attack, while his colleagues Paul Antonio Paul and Esteban Bernabé were seriously injured. All three men had refused to sell their land to the Spanish company Hydro Santa Cruz for the development of the "Cambalam" dam project.
To support the creation of a new Guatemalan photo exhibition by West Midlands based photographer Kevin Hayes
Saturday 9th June, 7.30pm – 10pm
Rights Action, an activist organisation that works to support communities in Central America struggling for political and environmental justice, has some interesting articles, including this one on the impact of the Marlin gold mine in San Marcos, Guatemala:
PROBLEMS CREATED BY THE GOLDCORP MARLIN MINE IN SAN MARCOS
by Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini of the Diocese of San Marcos, March 11, 2012
It also notes that a Danish pension fund has divested its €242,134 stake in Canada-based mining firm Goldcorp over pollution at the Marlin mine, following engagement from campaigners at DanWatch.
Miguel Angel González Ramírez, a member of the Izabal banana workers' union SITRABI, was killed on 5 February, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has said. Ramírez was shot several times whilst carrying his young child in his arms.
The murder took place in the midst of a battle being waged by SITRABI following the refusal of Del Monte subsidiary BANDEGUA to pay the minimum wage recently set by the government. "Workers have a right to a decent wage and employers have a duty to respect the legislation and the ILO core conventions ratified by Guatemala," insisted ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.
"This is yet another deadly crime against banana workers and, as such, against the Guatemalan trade union movement as a whole. President Otto Perez Molina must honour the responsibility he has to protect the workers targeted by constant violence," said the ITUC general secretary.