Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
neuromarketing

Business Innovator: Jose Kont

Every entrepreneur aims to reinvent the world, but José Contreras went one step further by reinventing his identity. The 28-year-old Guatemalan, who has brought a social media marketing technique called “neuromarketing” to companies in Central America, not only established a new firm called iLifebelt to promote it; he gave himself a new name. Under the … Read more

 

Customs Fraud Sparks Guatemalan Protests

Tens of thousands of Guatemalans protested last Saturday, calling for the resignation of Vice President Roxana Baldetti for her alleged role in Caso SAT, a scandal involving the defrauding of hundreds of millions of quetzales from the Guatemalan government. On April 16, Guatemalan authorities arrested 22 people in the culmination of an eight month investigation … Read more

 

Monday Memo: U.S.-Colombia Talks—Guatemala Protests—Buenos Aires Primaries—Puerto Rico Downgrade—Texas Delegation in Cuba

This week’s likely top stories: U.S.-Colombia Fifth Annual Bilateral Meeting; Protesters denounce corruption in Guatemala; Primaries for local elections held in Buenos Aires; S&P downgrades Puerto Rico; and Texas trade delegation visits Havana. High-level Colombia-U.S. Talks on Mutual Cooperation: The U.S. and Colombia will hold high-level bilateral talks today in Bogotá, Colombia at the office … Read more

 

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Three Members of MS-13 Gang

On Thursday, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on three leaders of Mara Salvatrucha (“MS-13”), a gang of 30,000 members spread throughout El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the United States. The gang, whose leadership is concentrated in El Salvador, has been listed as a Transnational Criminal Organization since 2012 by the U.S. Department of Treasury … Read more

 

Government Clashes with Guatemalan Indigenous Leaders Over Radio Station

The murder of Indigenous activist Pascual Pablo Francisco, whose body showed signs of torture when he was found dead on March 27 in the northern department of Huehuetenango, is the latest episode in a long-standing conflict between the Guatemalan government and the Mayan Q’anjob’al community over the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the K’anbalam … Read more

Andrés Levin, Yerba Buena, Music

Innovators

Some of our hemisphere’s emerging leaders in politics, business, civil society, and the arts.

 

Family Members of Guatemalans Infected in Disease Study File Lawsuit

On Wednesday, nearly 800 people filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Johns Hopkins University for its role in a research study that infected more than 1,600 Guatemalans with sexually transmitted diseases in the 1940s and 1950s. The plaintiffs include family members of individuals who died from complications from diseases they contracted during the study, which … Read more

 

Russian Foreign Minister Concludes Tour of Latin America

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov culminated a four-country tour of Latin America on Thursday in what was widely seen as Moscow’s latest bid to counteract Western sanctions over Russia’s policies in Ukraine and Crimea. Earlier this week, Lavrov met with heads of state Raúl Castro in Cuba, Juan Manual Santos in Colombia and Daniel Ortega … Read more

 

Journalists’ Murder Highlights Lack of Press Freedom in Guatemala

Three Guatemalan journalists were killed and another seriously injured last week, exposing the high price to pay for reporting in the nation’s provinces.  All three were murdered in the department of Suchitepéquez about 96 miles from the capital, Guatemala City.     Danilo López, a 38-year-old correspondent for national newspaper Prensa Libre, and Federico Salazar, a reporter … Read more

 

President Pérez Molina Refuses to Renew CICIG’s Mandate

During a recent visit to Guatemala on March 2, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden praised the achievements made by the UN-sponsored Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala—CICIG). He also urged Honduran and Salvadoran leaders to follow the Guatemalan example by replicating the CICIG model in their own countries … Read more

 

Guatemalan Judges Face Reprisals for Speaking Out Against Corruption

Last Friday, Judge Claudia Escobar announced in a statement that a number of Guatemalan judges are being harassed and persecuted after speaking out against corruption during the election of the new Supreme Court and Appellate Court magistrates in 2014. The retaliatory measures taken against them, she said, include being forcibly transferred to remote locations or … Read more

 

Latin American Countries Lobby for Reform of Global Drug Policy

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) opened its 58th session on the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on Monday in Vienna, Austria, with several Latin American countries—Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay and Bolivia—lobbying for a reform of global counternarcotic strategy. The CND special opening session will meet until March 13 to prepare for the … Read more

 

Alfonso Portillo Shakes up the Guatemalan Election Campaign

Former President Alfonso Portillo returned to Guatemala on February 25, 2015 after spending just nine months of a six-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Englewood, Colorado. In May 2014, he was convicted of conspiring to use U.S. banks to launder a $2.5 million bribe he received from the Taiwanese government in exchange for … Read more

 

Protests Highlight Guatemalan Minimum Wage Concerns

Guatemalan Vice President Roxana Baldetti’s insensitive recent comments about planned changes to the country’s minimum wage were answered by nationwide demonstrations on February 22, organized by Guatemala’s Coordinadora Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas (National Coordination of Peasant Organizations—CNOC). In response to four accords approved at the end of 2014 to establish a lower monthly minimum wage … Read more

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