Latest stories from Quick Reads + Guatemala
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”.
Bloggings by boz looks at youth unemployment in Latin America, concluding that “with growth projections decreased for 2011 and 2012, the current situation for youth unemployment is almost certainly getting worse. That could have major economic, political and social implications moving into 2012.”
Guatemala Solidarity Network posts an article by Natasha Pizzey-Siegert entitled ‘The children of Guatemala are starving’ where she writes that, “a slow, deep hunger has been building in Guatemala for decades. And now it’s destroying a generation.”
Mike shares Spanish-language documentary “Our Voice, Our Memory: The genocide in Guatemala,” which is available in full on YouTube. He adds: “The documentary [...] uses survivor and expert testimony to explain the concept of genocide, demonstrating how the atrocities committed by the Guatemalan military against indigenous Maya communities satisfy the requirements of the international legal definition of genocide.”
“According to official statistics, seven hundred women have been murdered so far this year in Guatemala (see here and here). According to CONAPREVI, 838 women were murdered in 2010. Therefore, if women continue to be killed at the same rate in November and December as they have been all year (an average of 70 per month), the number of victims this year will be nearly identically to last year's numbers (840).” Mike reports in Central American Politics.
Photojournalist James Rodríguez has published a photo essay on the conflict around the Canadian-owned Marlin gold mine. He highlights the bravery and persistence of anti-mining activist Diodora Hernandez, who “was shot point-blank on the right eye outside her home in the small community of San José Nueva Esperanza – only a few meters from a fence that delimits Goldcorp’s Marlin Mine.”
Mike from Central American Politics links to English language blogs covering the damage caused by the heavy rains that have been falling on Central America for over one week.
“Every year, thousands of migrants risk their lives on a treacherous journey toward el norte, facing violence, extortion, kidnapping and discrimination. However, female migrants face a heightened risk of exploitation in the form of sexual violence and trafficking at the hands of many groups: criminal gangs, corrupt officials, law enforcement, immigration or security forces and other migrants.” Amanda Tello reports in the blog Witness for Peace.
The blog Amo descubrir canciones [es] (“I love to discover songs”) reviews music from around the world, with a special focus on Latin America. The blog includes specials with songs by country [es], song covers [es], and songs recommended by readers [es]. The latter category includes a post on “Songs to recommend during a conversation in an elevator” [es].
Rudy Girón says farewell to artist Efraín Recintos, “Guatemala’s most extraordinary and prolific artist” who passed away on October 2, 2011. She shares a slide show of his work.
“So come the 6th November, Guatemalans should they vote, will have a choice between a former military and a business man – each with their own murky backgrounds and each who wield considerable power and influence among those who rule Guatemala”: Kevin D in his blog at Guatemala Solidarity Network comments on the results of the September 11 elections and the two candidates that will face each other in the runoff election.
Sakis González shares a video [es] of Guatemalan artists speaking out against “cultural intolerance” after the municipality of Guatemala City rejected the reopening of the cultural center ‘Rock’ol Vuh'. Sakis points out that citizens will have the power to choose their leaders this Sunday, September 11, during the general election.
The Council on Hemispheric Affairs Blog is posting a series “that will explore the concept of the New Latin America by focusing on recent developments that highlight how the region contrasts with its past.” So far COHA research associates have written about the Dos Erres trial in Guatemala, Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and Simón Bolivar, and Peru's ‘young towns’.
Mike blogs about campaign violence in Guatemala in his blog Central American Politics: “It's worrisome, but there is some evidence that things are getting better. And the violence associated with the campaigns is just one of the many problems surrounding Guatemalan politics unfortunately.”
“A Guatemalan elite army unit entered Dos Erres in the northern Petén region on 5 December 1982 and tortured and killed some 250 men, women and children over the course of three days before razing the village”: Amnesty International explains. Four former soldiers involved in this massacre were sentenced this week to 6,060 years in prison.
On the Issues magazine features an article by Yifat Susskind, Executive Director of MADRE, on the femicides that took place during Guatemala's Civil War and that still go on today: “Across Guatemala, nearly 5,000 women have been killed in the past decade, attacked for the simple fact of being women.” She also looks at grassroots groups working to “roll back shameful gender damage”.
“Please help me comprehend what’s wrong with our indigenous women that Guatemala’s Tourism Board hires light-skin ladinas and white women to represent our women? I need help understanding what’s wrong with the other 45% of the population? Don’t mestizos, ladinos, blacks and whites fit the ‘Guatemalan profile'?” asks Rudy Girón in AntiguaDailyPhoto.
Luis Figueroa says [es] that neighbors of Ciudad Nueva, victims of a giant sinkhole that opened up over a year ago, are still unable to return to their homes. He explains that the “risk warning” has not been lifted because reports on the work that has been done to fill up the hole are still being evaluated.
“In Guatemala, June 30th is officially observed as Armed Forces Day. But since 2008, the military parade has ceased to march through the streets of the historical center in Guatemala City. Instead, the March for Remembrance has taken over Zone 1 for the fourth consecutive year to celebrate what many believe should more appropriately be deemed Heroes and Martyrs Day.” In MiMundo.org photojournalist James Rodríguez shares a photo essay of the march.
Sandra Torres divorced her husband, President Alvaro Colom, to be eligible to run for president. But things didn't turn out as planned. Mike in Central American Politics reports: “On Wednesday, Guatemalan electoral authorities rejected Sandra Torres's presidential candidacy on the grounds of “supposed legal fraud.” The TSE's resolution said that her divorce from President Alvaro Colom did not invalidate Article 186 barring relatives of previous presidents from becoming president.”