February 26, 2008 |
Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom said he will open to the public army files on massacres and torture by soldiers during the country's 36-year civil war. Almost 250,000 people were killed or disappeared during the 1960-96 conflict between leftist guerrillas and the government. The army committed more than 80% of the slayings, according to a United Nations-backed truth commission. The commission, which compiled thousands of interviews with victims after the 1996 peace accords, identified no officials, in part because the army files were not open to the public.
March 16, 2008 |
Four Belgian tourists were set to spend a second night in the Guatemalan jungle as hostages of a mob of farmers, as authorities tried to secure their release. The two couples were seized along with two Guatemalan guides Friday as they traveled up a river near the Caribbean coast by farmers angry over the arrest of a local Maya leader. A leader of the indigenous farmers group told Guatemalan radio that the six hostages would be held until President Alvaro Colom agreed to talk to them.
May 18, 2009 |
Thousands of Guatemalans gathered for a march to the National Palace to demand that the president resign over accusations that he ordered a lawyer killed, a scandal threatening the rule of the country's first leftist leader in more than 50 years. President Alvaro Colom denies the allegations of Rodrigo Rosenberg, which were broadcast posthumously after the attorney was shot to death last week. He has dismissed calls for his resignation and asked the FBI and a U.N. panel to investigate the killing.
September 9, 2010 |
Heavy rainfall has set off deadly mudslides and widespread flooding across Central America and Mexico's southeast, killing more than 50 people and displacing more than half a million. In Guatemala, rescuers citing the possibility of more slides called off the search for 15 people who remained missing after a highway mudslide Sunday killed 45. In Mexico, the Red Cross said more than 600,000 have been displaced in five states as several rivers flooded towns and villages, mostly in the states of Veracruz and Tabasco.
November 9, 1999 |
Guatemalan opposition candidate Alfonso Portillo, whose party was founded by a former military dictator, led the country's presidential election but failed to avoid a runoff, near-final results showed Monday. With 97.6% of the vote counted, Portillo, of the rightist Guatemalan Republican Front, took 47.8% of the vote in Guatemala's first presidential election since a 1996 peace accord ended a 35-year civil war. That was short of the majority he needed to avoid a Dec.
December 31, 2003
Guatemalans went to the polls last month fearing the tricks and threats of the governing party, which was poised to return to power former Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, who presided over a brutal scorched-earth policy against Indian villages before and during his rule in 1982 and 1983. Happily, the old despot didn't get the votes. A runoff between the conservative former mayor of Guatemala City, Oscar Berger, and Alvaro Colom, an engineer who headed a center-left political coalition, was conducted peacefully Sunday, and Berger won. Praise goes to Berger for his selection of Eduardo Stein as his vice president.
September 12, 2011 |
A tough-on-crime former army general headed for a runoff against a populist congressman in the race to become Guatemala's next president as vote counting neared completion Monday. With more than 98% of precincts counted from Sunday's vote, Otto Perez Molina held a double-digit lead over Manuel Baldizon, 36% to 23%, but lacked a majority needed to avoid a second round on Nov. 6. Perez Molina, 60, who led troops against leftist guerrillas during Guatemala's 35-year civil war, went into the voting as the front-runner among 10 candidates.
May 31, 2010 |
Tropical Storm Agatha began to wane Sunday after deluging parts of Central America and southern Mexico, displacing tens of thousands of people and leaving at least 89 dead, officials said. The season's first tropical storm destroyed homes, cut roads, triggered mudslides and flooded villages in Guatemala and El Salvador. Even as it dissipated over Guatemala's western hills, it threatened to dump more rain on the region in the next two days that could cause "life-threatening flash floods," the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory posted on its website.
May 19, 2011 |
Guatemalan authorities have arrested a man they say is a top leader of the drug gang blamed for last weekend's massacre of 27 farmworkers, President Alvaro Colom said Wednesday. The suspect, Hugo Alvaro Gomez Vasquez, is believed to have taken part in the killings in a northern province known as Peten, Colom said in his daily broadcast from Guatemala City. Colom called Gomez "one of the principal leaders" of the Zetas gang in Guatemala, which has served increasingly as a base for Mexican traffickers skirting a crackdown at home.
July 2, 2010
Although Guatemala abandoned military rule in 1985 and ended a civil war against leftist guerrillas in 1996, the violence that always has seemed startlingly at odds with the country's natural beauty has not been eradicated. On the contrary, the inevitable conclusion to be drawn from the recent resignation of the chief of a U.N. commission responsible for battling crime and corruption and from a devastating report by the International Crisis Group is that the brutality is as entrenched as ever.