Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Monday Memo: Paraguayan Elections – Ríos Montt Trial – Argentine Protests – Guantánamo Hunger Strike – Venezuela

Top stories this week are likely to include: Horacio Cartes will be Paraguay’s new president; Guatemala’s Constitutional Court will decide whether Efraín Ríos Montt’s genocide trial can continue; Argentines protested Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government; Guantánamo prisoners’ hunger strike grows; the Venezuelan election audit process will take a month. Horacio Cartes Wins Presidential Election in … Read more


Mining Conflict and Indigenous Consultation in Guatemala

A handful of Mayan-Q’eqchi’ men and women met with lawyers late last year in Ontario to review the details of three lawsuits filed in local courts against the Canadian mining company HudBay Minerals. They had traveled to Canada to pursue legal recourse for their claim that security personnel at the company’s Fenix Mining Project in … Read more


Ríos Montt Trial Tests Guatemala’s Justice System

After fourteen months of legal wrangling, the genocide trial of former Guatemalan President Efraín Ríos Montt began this week with oral presentations in court. The trial will make history, as Guatemala becomes the first country in Latin America to try a former leader for genocide—a move that has divided the legal community.   Some classify the … Read more


Inició juicio histórico en Guatemala

El juicio por genocidio y deberes contra la humanidad en contra de los ex-generales Efraín Ríos Montt y José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez dio inicio este martes, luego que la licenciada Jazmín Barrios, Jueza Presidenta del Tribunal A de Mayor Riesgo, resolviera de manera negativa varios recursos interpuestos por la defensa y declarara abierto el debate. … Read more


Ríos Montt Faces Genocide Trial

After years of appeals, Efrain Ríos Montt, Guatemala’s former military dictator who ruled from 1982 to 1983, stood trial in the country’s first genocide trial that began on Tuesday. Ríos Montt is accused of being responsible for 15 massacres that took the lives of a combined 1,771 Ixil Mayas and forcibly displaced an additional 29,000. … Read more

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Politics Innovator: Edwin Escobar, Guatemala

Edwin Escobar dreams of turning Villa Nueva—Guatemala’s second most populous city—into the “next Bogotá.” The vision of the new mayor of this colonial-era city, just 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of the capital, might seem like conventional political rhetoric. But Escobar, who took office just last year, is not a conventional politician. A self-described “serial … Read more

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Repression, Resistance, and Indigenous Rights in Guatemala

The imposing statue of Anastasio Tzul, the nineteenth-century Guatemalan Indigenous intellectual and resistance leader, has presided over the tree-lined square in the town of Totonicapán in western Guatemala for as long as anyone can remember. But on a recent visit, it stood in mourning. Tzul, gripping the wooden cane carried by traditional Mayan authorities, was … Read more


Guatemala Prepares for the Mayan December 21 Celebrations

This week, Guatemala is proudly calling itself the heart of the Mayan world. On December 21, the thirteenth b’ak’tun will end, concluding a 90-year academic struggle about the destined outcome of this cosmological event. While new discoveries such as the finding of a new calendar in the Xultún ruins this past May continue to shine … Read more


Monday Memo: Impact of Venezuela Regional Elections – Mayans Prepare for End of the Thirteenth [i]B’ak’tun[/i] – Peru, Chile Demine Shared Border – and more

Top stories this week are likely to include: Strong chavista performance in Venezuelan regional elections; Mayan peoples celebrate the thirteenth b’ak’tun; Argentina faces international fiscal isolation; and Peru and Chile sign a pact to remove mines from their shared border. Impact of Venezuela Regional Elections: Although Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’ health remains uncertain after a … Read more


After Totonicapán: Violence and the Military in Guatemala

The arrest of eight soldiers in connection with the Totonicapán incident on October 4—which resulted in the deaths of at least seven Indigenous protestors—heralds the first test of Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina’s mano dura (iron fist) approach to restoring law and order. Pérez Molina campaigned for office promising to use the army, from which … Read more

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