Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
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Totonicapán: A Familiar Tale with the Hope for An Unlikely Outcome

On October 4, 2012, Guatemalan soldiers opened fire on a crowd of several hundred unarmed peasants from the western highland department of Totonicapán, killing six and wounding 34 others. Joined by teachers, students and local indigenous authorities, the peasants had set up roadblocks along the Pan-American Highway to protest the hike in electricity prices, education … Read more

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Smart Governance Practices on the Rise in Central America

The latest developments in information and communication technology (ICT) are no longer the rage among just tech-savvy enthusiasts. Municipalities across the hemisphere are also starting to pay attention. In Central America, mayors, municipal councilors and their advisors are embracing ICTs such as websites, social media platforms, mobile text messaging, and video cameras as useful tools … Read more

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Justice in Guatemala

Guatemala’s judicial system is on the upswing. In  2011, the Public Ministry made notable strides in the fight against organized crime and political corruption through the leadership of Claudia Paz y Paz—a new and competent attorney general who took over in December 2010—and the continued support of the United Nations sponsored Commission against Impunity in … Read more

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The Road to Victory for Otto Pérez Molina, Guatemala’s President-Elect

With all votes counted within a couple of hours of polls closing on Sunday, November 6, retired general Otto Pérez Molina was confirmed the new president of Guatemala, beating rival Manuel Baldizón by 53.74 percent to 46.26 percent. This year’s election was the second-largest presidential runoff turnout in Guatemala’s history. By the end of the … Read more

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Guatemalan Women Enter the Political Limelight Ahead of Sunday’s Elections

Guatemalans go to the polls on Sunday, September 11, to vote for their president, congressional representatives and mayors. The elections and campaigns in the lead-up are undoubtedly historic moments for Guatemala as they constitute a series of firsts. With nearly 49 percent of the vote in a recent poll, Otto Pérez Molina of the Partido … Read more

 

Eternal Spring, Eternal Tyranny: A Photographic Essay

“En 1800, un visitante europeo llamó a Guatemala Tierra de la Eterna Primavera. Un siglo después, el político y ensayista guatemalteco Manuel Galich llamó a su país Tierra de la Eterna Tiranía. Para pocos, Guatemala es un paraíso. Para muchos, es todo lo contrario.” For the few, Guatemala is a paradise. For the many, it … Read more

 

Danger in Guatemala

The battle to regain control of Guatemala’s institutions from deeply entrenched criminal interests has reached an alarming new juncture.  Two weeks ago, the head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a UN-led commission to investigate and prosecute high-profile organized crime and corruption, resigned in frustration. Since January 2008, the CICIG has made … Read more

 

CAFTA-DR Pact:Opening up new frontiers

As President George W. Bush pressures Congress to ratify the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, it is worth examining the results to date of the Dominican Republic-Central America-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). That agreement, involving the United States, five Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) and the Dominican Republic has taken … Read more

 

Central America’s Youth Leaders

Central America has come a long way since the civil wars of the 1980s. A new generation has come of age, growing up in a region that is at peace but confronting new challenges of crime, security, poverty, and inequality.

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Dispatches: Tracking Cancer in the Guatemalan Highlands

A dusty, pocked ribbon of road winds up and down through the rugged mountains of Alta Verapaz, an extremely remote, mostly indigenous area of Guatemala. Temperatures rise and fall according to elevation, and the air is thick with smoke from the traditional burning of cornfields and from deforestation by fire. This land provides subsistence for an estimated 1.2 million Q’eqchi’ Mayans, who have clung tenaciously to it through colonization and the ravages of civil war.

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Growing Public Insecurity in Central America

Crime has replaced soccer as the hot conversation topic among business leaders, journalists, construction workers, and secretaries in Central America’s Northern Triangle—El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Although the problems of delinquency, particularly maras (youth gangs) and organized criminal networks, are not new to the region, public skepticism—bordering on contempt—for all three governments’ inability to deal … Read more

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