Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Report Urges Immediate Action on Guatemala-Honduras Border

The International Crisis Group (ICG) released a report on Wednesday detailing the increase in drug-related violence on the Guatemala-Honduras border and calling for immediate action on the part of both national governments to combat the situation. The large network of narco-trafficking gangs in the region have been competing over increasingly disputed drug routes that move … Read more


Paz y Paz Sidelined in Guatemala Attorney General Vote

Guatemala’s Comisión de Postulación, a national selection committee, announced the six nominees for country’s next attorney general  last week, with the name of current attorney general Claudia Paz y Paz conspicuously absent from the list. Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina will make his choice after interviewing the remaining candidates, and must announce a new attorney … Read more


Two Views of Consulta Previa in Guatemala: A View from the Private Sector

Read a view from Indigenous peoples here. Guatemala ratified International Labour Organization Convention 169  (ILO 169) on June 5, 1996, more than a year after Guatemala’s Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country, ruled in Document 199-95 that the Convention did not contradict the Guatemalan Constitution.1 But the lack of clarity in ILO 169 … Read more


Country study: Guatemala

Read the introduction here. Read a case study from Chile here. Read a case study from Colombia here. Read a case study from Peru here. Although they constitute 40 percent of Guatemala’s population, Indigenous Guatemalans face great inequality in terms of access to health, education, housing and—most critically—political representation.1 In 1995, the Guatemalan Constitutional Court … Read more


The Promise of Participation: Experiments in Participatory Governance in Honduras and Guatemala by Daniel Altschuler and Javier Corrales

Can democracy be built from the bottom up? Does community participation in small-scale initiatives increase civic and political engagement in the democratic process overall? In The Promise of Participation: Experiments in Participatory Governance in Honduras and Guatemala, Daniel Altschuler and Javier Corrales argue that efforts to engage local communities through community-managed schools (CMS) can increase … Read more


Political Innovator: Mardoqueo Cancax

Growing up in the Indigenous municipality of Patzún, Guatemala, Mardoqueo Cancax experienced first-hand the frustration of living in a community without good roads and adequate infrastructure. But when he became a parent, he felt even more keenly how such challenges imperiled the future of Patzún’s children. He joined a parents’ committee working on municipal development … Read more


Civic Innovator: Drew Chafetz, United States

View a video interview with Drew Chafetz below. By the time he was 12, Drew Chafetz had visited six of the world’s seven continents, thanks to his parents’ determination to expand the family’s horizons. That not only spurred him to a lifelong love of travel, but into a career that involved his other passion: playing … Read more


Dispatches: Guatemalan Migrants

Guatemalans returning home from the U.S. face unemployment, a maze of red tape—and social stigma. (slideshow available)


Dispatches: Guatemalan Migrants

Read a sidebar about voluntary return migration. Read a sidebar about the stigma that return migrants face. View a slideshow of return migrants in Guatemala below. Fidelino Gómez remembers fondly the years he spent in Iowa, where his middle child was born. Standing outside his one-room wood home in his native Guatemala, Gómez, 34, thumbs … Read more


Two Views of Consulta Previa in Guatemala: A View from Indigenous Peoples

Read a view from the private sector here. Guatemala is a plurinational country that 22 Maya nations, Xinka, Garifuna, and Ladino people jointly call home. The efforts to gain access to natural resources—often without the consent of the communities affected—constitute another stage in the long history of dispossession and repression of Maya peoples since colonization. … Read more


Fresh Look Reviews

Fresh, unique perspectives on recent books from across the hemisphere originally published in English, Spanish and Portuguese.


Portillo Admits Guilt, Awaits Sentence

On Tuesday former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo plead guilty to a money-laundering case in New York City federal court and will be sentenced to four to six years in federal prison on June 23. In exchange, prosecutor Preet Bharara has agreed to drop additional charges against Portillo that could result in a life-long sentence behind … Read more


Guatemala Tries Ex-Guerrilla For Massacre

A trial against former guerrilla leader Fermín Felipe Solano Barrillas of the Organización del Pueblo en Armas (Revolutionary Organization of Armed People—ORPA) began on Thursday for the massacre of 22 farmers in the town of El Aguacate, Chimaltenango, in 1998. Captured in May of 2013, Solano is charged with homicide and crimes against humanity.  This … Read more


Guatemala’s Attorney General Faces Legal Fight to Stay in Office

Last week’s decision by Guatemala’s Corte de Constitucionalidad (Constitutional Court—CC) to reduce Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz’s term in office has been met by a wave of criticism and legal challenges. The internationally-recognized Paz y Paz, who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, is credited with improving the investigative work of … Read more

Sign up for our free newsletter