You are here

Guatemala: News & Updates

Guatemala had the longest and bloodiest civil war in Central American history: 36 years (1960-96). The US-backed military was responsible for a genocide (“scorched earth policy”) that wiped out 200,000 mostly Maya indigenous civilians.  War criminals are still being tried in the courts.

Learn more here

News Article

As a candidate, President Biden spoke out forcefully against the cruelty, xenophobia, and racism against immigrants and other communities of color stirred by President Trump and other leaders. As president, President Biden from Day One made bold commitments to build an immigration system that is fair, humane, and that “welcomes immigrants, keeps families together, and allows people across the country – both newly arrived immigrants and people who have lived here for generations – to more fully contribute to this country.” In this report, the We Are Home campaign assesses Biden’s Year One on immigration by looking at his most high-profile promises and longstanding priorities for the coalition.

News Article

A new study shows the impact the warmer climate will have on cultivating coffee, avocados and cashews, and on the farmers doing so. Of the three crops, coffee will be hit hardest by warming: The study model foresees an overall decline by 2050 in the number of regions where it could grow. For cashews and avocados, results were more complicated. Certain growing regions would experience declines in those crops while others, such as the southern United States, would likely find more land better suited to tropical food crops like cashews and avocados. By predicting decades in advance how agriculture will change, scientists can help farmers know what to expect, and can advise policy makers on how to encourage farmers to use more efficient growing methods like cover crops to prevent erosion or planting new crops when needed.

News Article

Guatemala's highest court has sentenced five former paramilitaries to 30 years in prison for raping dozens of indigenous Mayan women during the country's civil war in the 1980s. The men were members of so-called Civil Self-Defense Patrols, armed groups formed and supported by the military. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala said the sentence was a "landmark advance in the access to the rights to truth, justice and reparation for female victims of sexual violence during" the war.

News Article

The community assembly in Nebaj, Guatemala is part of the Ixil’s historical struggle to pursue peaceful and local community-based solutions and transparency to institutional, governmental, and structural corruption and impunity at all levels of government. Guatemala is experiencing a weakening of democratic structures and the further entrenchment of corruption and impunity. Many Indigenous communities have been abandoned by the corrupt state and are displaced from their territories by the armed forces. The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), created in 2006, gave Guatemalans hope that justice would be served to corrupt politicians, but the right-wing and military backlash was swift. In recent years, the Guatemalan state has become increasingly militarized and has overused states of sieges to suspend civil liberties. As a result, some fear that the government is regressing towards authoritarianism. Twenty-five years after the Peace Accords, Guatemalan democracy is at a crucial political juncture in which the safeguards against corruption, impunity, and state violence are being dismantled by the politicians, elites, and military.

News Article
Judicial independence has been threatened by corruption and spurious complaints against judges and prosecutors investigating high profile cases. Harassment and violence against human rights defenders and journalists remain major concerns. Authorities have restricted access to information, including about vaccine purchases and other measures to address the Covid-19 pandemic. Guatemala faces challenges in protecting the rights of migrants; human rights defenders; women and girls; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. This is the Human Rights Watch 2022 World Report on Guatemala
News Article
“Although they are legally authorized to work, temporary migrant workers are among the most exploited laborers in the US workforce because employer control of their visa status leaves many powerless to defend and uphold their rights,” according to a February report from the Economic Policy Institute. The H-2A visa program creates a severe power imbalance. The system almost always ties workers to their specific employer, which means that a worker’s legal status to work depends on maintaining the job they were contracted to do. As such, workers are hesitant to speak out about deplorable working conditions due to fears of losing their legal status and facing deportation.
News Article
After reaching a deal with Mexico, the US will by 6 December start returning asylum seekers from other Latin American countries to Mexico, where they will be obliged to wait while their case is assessed. Mexico said US officials met its concerns over funding for migrant shelters, protection for vulnerable groups and access to medical checkups and Covid-19 vaccines. It also promised to take “local safety conditions” into account before accepting asylum seekers – a pledge that provoked disquiet among migrant advocates. But advocates argue that the main shortcomings of the programme are unchanged. “The violence faced by migrants in Mexico is going to outweigh any sort of promise made by the Mexican government to try to make this better,” said Linda Rivas, executive director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas. “There aren’t enough shelters. People are continuing to be kidnapped – sometimes in their own shelter … Mexico can try [to protect migrants] but the reality is Mexico doesn’t have the means of doing it.”

Pages