Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
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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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