Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
 

Hope Amid Disappointment After Postponement of Ríos Montt Trial

Magdalena Pacheco lives in Chajul in the remote Ixil region of Guatemala. She is expecting a child and was recently hopeful about the direction of justice in Guatemala after former dictator Efraín Rios Montt’s genocide sentence. But her optimism has shifted after the guilty verdict was overturned.   “I am very bothered by this, it … Read more

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OAS General Assembly: More than Just the Drug Policy Agenda

When the 43rd General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) released its final resolution on June 7, those waiting for a brave new direction on the war of drugs were likely disappointed. For all the rhetoric of breaking taboos, decriminalization—at least of marijuana—proved to be a step too far for some participants. The writing … Read more

 

The Drug Debate at the OAS General Assembly

The 43rd General Assembly of the Organization of American States opened on Tuesday in Antigua, Guatemala, with the aim of producing “a comprehensive policy against the world drug problem in the Americas.” Guatemala has been at the vanguard of new thinking on the drug trade partly because it has few alternatives. The country is blighted by … Read more

 

Three-Day OAS General Assembly Begins in Guatemala

Heads of state and foreign ministers from across the Western Hemisphere arrive in Antigua, Guatemala, today for the 43rd General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS). The three-day meeting will begin with an inaugural session at 6:00 pm (local time) this evening. The primary focus of the Assembly, as noted in the draft … Read more

 

Guatemala’s Extradition of Former President Portillo

Alfonso Portillo, the former Guatemalan president, was extradited to New York last Friday to stand trial on charges of laundering at least $70 million through U.S. banks. A U.S. grand jury indicted Portillo on money laundering charges in 2010, and by 2011 he had run out of appeals. The Constitutional Court ruled that the former … Read more

 

Human Rights Groups Protest Annulment of Rios Montt’s Conviction

On Friday, Human rights organizations across Latin America will take to the streets to protest the May 20 decision by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court to overturn the genocide conviction of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. The Guatemalan general was sentenced to 80 years in prison on May 10 for ordering the deaths of at least 1,771 members of … Read more

 

Guatemalan Court Annuls Ríos Montt Verdict

By a majority of 3-2 the Guatemalan Constitutional Court ruled on Monday to throw out General Efrain Rios Montt’s guilty verdict and 80-year sentence for genocide and crimes against humanity, returning the trial to the proceedings of April 19. The Constitutional Court also threw out the acquittal of former intelligence chief Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez.  The … Read more

 

Congress Rebels against States of Siege in Guatemala

Guatemala’s congress and Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina are at odds on how to deal with the ongoing violence between mine security guards and the public in two Guatemalan departmentos. Tension in the two departments of Jalapa and Santa Rosa prompted Pérez Molina to declare a state of emergency in four towns in early May, … Read more

 

Monday Memo: Rios Montt – Venezuela’s Military – Panama’s Electricity – World Cup – China’s Vice President

Top stories this week are likely to include: Rios Montt convicted of genocide; Venezuelan military to fight insecurity; Panama announces continued electricity rationing; FIFA expresses concerns over Brazil’s World Cup stadium; and China’s vice president travels to Venezuela. Rios Montt found guilty: On Friday, a three-judge tribunal sentenced the 86-year-old former dictator of Guatemala, Efrain … Read more

 

A Guilty Verdict for Rios Montt

Guatemala City, Guatemala – Former Guatemalan president Efraín José Ríos Montt was found guilty on Friday of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced to 80 years in prison. His co-defendant, former intelligence chief José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, was acquitted of all charges. With the threat of the trial regressing to November 2011, Judge Yasmín … Read more

 

Ríos Montt Trial Still on Hold

The impasse in the genocide trial of Guatemalan General Efraín Ríos Montt should be cleared this week, following a succession of rulings by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court. On Monday afternoon, the court turned the case back over to presiding Judge Yassmín Barrios, who looked to resume the trial on Tuesday morning. However, the 8:30 am proceedings … Read more

 

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

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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

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