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Guatemala

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.

In response to accords to establish a lower monthly minimum wage of 1,500 quetzales ($196.6) in the Guatemalan municipalities of Estanzuela, Masagua, San Augustine and Guastatoya, protesters blocked at least 22 roads in various parts of the country, including border areas and major highways.

This week’s likely top stories: Peru’s allegations against Chile threaten relations; Panama to address conflict over Barro Blanco; Guatemala and Honduras to eliminate customs duties; São Paulo grapples with drought; Caracas Mayor to appeal conspiracy charges.

Alfonso Portillo's potential return to Guatemalan politics will change the political climate and force opponents and voters to make tough decisions in September’s election.

Despite Arredondo’s conviction for the 1980 burning of the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala City, the masterminds of the crime—and other acts of state terrorism in Guatemala at the time—remain untouchable. 

Only two countries in Latin America—Costa Rica and Uruguay—can be considered “full democracies,” according to an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study commissioned by BBC for Democracy Day on January 20.

The resumption of the genocide trial against former Guatemalan president Efraín Ríos Montt ended as confusingly as it began, in a theatrical first day of renewed proceedings on Monday. 

This week's likely top stories: the Panama Canal gears up to expand its Pacific coast facilities; Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro travels to China and OPEC countries; the 114th U.S. Congress starts its session on Tuesday with a Republican majority and plenty of hot button issues for the Americas; the trial of Guatemalan General Efraín Ríos Montt on genocide resumes; Uruguayan First Lady Lucia Topolansky confirms she will run for mayor of Montevideo in 2015.

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