On the 26th day of the historic Genocide trial against former de facto head of state Efrain Rios Montt and his Head of Intelligence Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, the prosecution and defense gave their closing statements and the main accused, Rios Montt, finally declared.
Latest stories from Quick Reads + Guatemala
From the Patagonia to Havana, hundreds of computer users across Latin America are choosing freedom over control by installing free software on their computers. On April 27th, groups of free software enthusiasts will be installing free software in dozens of cities across Latin America as part of FLISOL [es], the Latin American free software installation festival.
“If this case does not move forward, survivors of Guatemala’s genocide are being victimized all over again,” says Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams, co-founder of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. “They have taken a huge risk in testifying, and many have been harassed, intimidated and threatened. To annul the case would turn the clock back on justice—and would be a victory for impunity.”
Nobel Peace laureates are calling on Guatemalan authorities to proceed with the case against Efraín Ríos Montt. The trial against the former dictator and his former intelligence director was declared invalid last week.
Documentary photographer James Rodriguez shares a photo essay with “images from the first day of the historic trial against former de facto dictator Efraín Ríos Montt and former Intelligence Director José Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez. Ríos Montt and Rodriguez Sanchez are charged with Genocide and crimes against humanity during the civil war in Guatemala (1960-1996) against the Ixil Mayan people”.
Rios Montt's lawyer and others believe that the trial is a “political lynching” [...] It doesn't matter if the guerrilas were going to turn “Guatemala into another Cuba;” the rape, torture, starvation and murder of civilians who might or might not have supported the guerrillas is just indefensible. But Rios Montt now has the opportunity to defend his actions and those of the officers who carried out orders on his and the state's behalf.
I woke up early and put two golden coins
one for each shoe [...]
two coins I'm telling you
when meteorites fall down and all this gets open as an orange [...]
I'll put one in each eye
as I put my armas behind my head
that gets open as an orange [...]
the boatman has work to do
and deserves to be tipped
The recently released Free Software Assessment Report 2012 shows the opinion, assessment and preferences of more than 5,000 people from Spain and Latin America. The study published in its fourth edition is promoted by PortalProgramas and supported by a number of experts and collaborators [es]. The report aims to contribute to a better understanding, use and dissemination of free software in Latin America. The summary of the study can be accessed online [es] and more information can be found on the report's conclusions for 2012 [es].
The Guatemala Human Rights Commission has released a petition [en, es] to “demand justice for the massacre in Totonicapán, Guatemala,” where 8 were killed and more than 35 injured when combined armed forces violently removed indigenous demonstrators from Cuatro Caminos, a well-known road intersection in Guatemala.
With the pain of the recent genocide still fresh in the historic memory of indigenous communities, it is extremely concerning that acts of state violence are once again taking place in Guatemala against indigenous people who seek to exercise their legitimate rights to free speech and peaceful protest.
In a country as vulnerable to natural disasters as Guatemala, a “state of public calamity” is frequently declared – to the joy of contractors, which find a good opportunity to line their pockets.
“I denounced the activities of a masked group of vigilantes who were terrorizing the local population at night. It wasn’t the first time I had written about their crimes, but this time I named names.”
Anna-Claire Bevan in LatinaLista quotes Guatemalan journalist Lucia Escobar, who was “forced into hiding last October after she wrote an opinion piece in the national newspaper El Periodico about a social cleansing group operating in her hometown of Panajachel, 150 kilometres from Guatemala City.”
Rising Voices is partnering with Hivos and Dialogía in two “camps” for young people using digital media for social change. The workshops, called “Activistmo” [es], will be held in Nicaragua and Guatemala during September and October. Young people from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala between the ages of 18-25 can apply [es] until August 31.
Blogger Josue Ortega [es] attended a university event which invited students to develop a project to help communities with very little access to technology. However, students were told to develop the project using only Microsoft technology. One of Ortega's friends inquired about using open licenses, but the idea was immediately rejected. Ortega concludes his post saying that authorities continue to sell education to companies that only contaminate it and hinder knowledge.
The blog Guatemala Solidarity Network and James Rodriguez from Mi Mundo report on the attempted murder of anti-mining activist Yolanda “Yoli” Oquely Veliz. The Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA condemns the shooting and invites citizens to sign a petition “to call on the Guatemalan Government to investigate this crime and prosecute those responsible.”
The blog Asamblea Departamental por la Defensa del Territorio- Huehuetenango [es] published an urgent statement about the death of Santa Cruz Barillas community leader Andrés Francisco Miguel and attacks on other community leaders who oppose the construction of a hydroelectric dam. Today, May 3, the BBC reports: “The Guatemalan government has declared a state of siege in the town of Santa Cruz Barillas following clashes over the death of a community leader.”
Ahni announces the upcoming Spanish edition of Intercontinental Cry [es], which will go live on March 31, 2012. “The main objective of IC Espanol is, of course, to provide Spanish readers with the same news that our English readers have come to expect from us; what I consider to be essential news on the global indigenous movement.” Find out about more languages on the IC Translation Project Facebook page.
The Organization of Ibero-American States invites teens ages 12 to 15 to enter a blogging competition about reading. The sign up [es] deadline is May 31, 2012, and judges will consider blog posts written until July 31. The winner from each participating country will receive an iPad. Visit the official website [es] and follow the hashtag
#questasleyendo [es] (“what are you reading”) to find out more about the contest.
Hector Javier Tecum blogs about the role of women in Guatemalan politics for Americas Quarterly [es]. He argues that the inclusion of women in decision-making positions is still a challenge for the country.
The International Center for Arts of the Americas (ICCA) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has released a digital archive of 20th-century Latin American and Latino art, which, “is now available, free of charge, to the research and teaching community as well as to the public at large.” Culture magazine Ñ [es] briefly interviewed Mari Carmen Ramírez, the project's director.
“On January 21, Under the name of Subida por la vida ["Climb for life"], there were over 8,000 people climbing Volcán de Agua (Water Volcano) to form the largest heart in the world at 12,335 feet as part of campaign to bring awareness and to reduce domestic violence,” Antigua Daily Photo reports, and shares photos and a video of the event.
Bloggings by boz comments and reports on “a new top priority,” issued by the newly sworn in President Otto Perez Molina, for the Guatemalan military: “‘Achieve an interdiction of external threats and neutralize illegal armed groups, through the use of military power, by regaining and maintaining control of the air, maritime and land domains.'”
In a recent editorial, The Guatemala Times is critical of the country's mainstream media, who they say has “unleashed an increased and endless flow of bad press for President [Álvaro] Colom and his government since Otto Perez won the election.” Mike, in the blog Central American Politics, comments on the media coverage of President Colom and describes The Guatemala Times’ stand as “courageous”.