Crime, Violence, and the Crisis in Guatemala

Crime Violence and the Crisis in Guatemala

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SIF concluded a fact-finding trip this week in Guatemala. We visited with the US Ambassador to Guatemala, Stephen McFarland and spoke with leaders from communities in Sololá, Guatemala affected by Tropical Storm Agatha. Making the headlines during our trip was this special report: Crime, Violence, and the Crisis in Guatemala:

Guatemala is currently experiencing a full-blown crisis of the democratic state. An unholy trinity of criminal elements—international drug traffickers, domestically based organized crime syndicates, and youth gangs—is effectively waging a form of irregular warfare against government institutions, with devastating consequences. The police, the judiciary, and entire local and departmental governments are rife with criminal infiltrators; murder statistics have surpassed civil-war levels in recent years; criminal operatives brazenly assassinate government officials and troublesome members of the political class; and broad swaths of territory are now effectively under the control of criminal groups. Guatemala’s weak institutions have been unable to contain this violence, leading to growing civic disillusion and causing a marked erosion in the authority and legitimacy of the government.

Read the full report here.

World’s Two Wealthiest Present $150 Million Health Initiative in Central America
Carlos Slim, Infanta Cristina,Felipe Calderon, Margarita Zavala, Chairman Bill Gates
Carlos Slim, Infanta Cristina,Felipe Calderon, Margarita Zavala, Chairman Bill Gates Source: AP

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Two of the world’s wealthiest men, Bill Gates and Carlos Slim, along with the Spanish government, have pledged a total of $150 million to improving health care in Mesoamerica. Microsoft’ co-founder Bill Gates, Mexico’s telecom businessman Carlos Slim, and Spain’s Princess Cristina have each pledged $50 million toward the initiative which was revealed June 14, 2010 in Mexico City. The initiative, titled “Salud Mesoamérica 2015”, aims to reduce health inequities affecting the poorest 20 percent of the population in Central America and Southern Mexico over the next five years. This initiative aims to improve nutrition and maternal health, fight dengue fever and malaria, reduce infant mortality and boost vaccination rates. Read the rest of this entry »

Dispute over Gold Mining in El Salvador

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By Cameron Herrington of Seattle CISPES – Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador

Contamination MuralOn June 1, in a hearing room at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., lawyers representing the government of El Salvador argued that it is the country’s sovereign right to protect the environment and human health by refusing to grant permits for metallic mining extraction. At the other end of the conference table, the Pacific Rim Mining Corporation’s lawyers argued that, on the contrary, the Salvadoran government’s refusal to grant gold mining permits is illegal, and that the company is therefore owed “hundreds of millions of dollars” by the Salvadoran state. Read the rest of this entry »

Alaskan Non-Profit, PRE, Supports Schools in Nicaragua

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Kids at Las Salinas' preschoolProyecto Remedios Educativos (PRE) is a young non-profit based in Anchorage, Alaska that aims to support education in the Tola Municipality of Nicaragua. The organization works directly with the local communities and provides crucial supplies to the region’s schools. PRE has contributed much to these communities and their report detailing their recent progress describes the warmth and gratitude with which Director Espen Haugen and his brother, Anders, were received.

PRE began the construction of an entirely new school in the remote village of Berlin. Though the organization had focused primarily on supporting existing schools in the Tola Municipality, PRE recognized the need for a new school in this remote community perched in the hills above San Ignacio. Though the isolation of the community hindered construction as all supplies had to be deposited at a staging area 7 km north of Berlin and taken the final few kilometers by ox-cart, construction is well underway. Read the rest of this entry »

Agatha Sweeps Across Santa Cruz Communities

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Amigos de Santa Cruz reported yesterday on the damage to  Santa Cruz communities caused by Tropical Storm Aagtha:

Affects of Agatha in Santa Cruz Last weekend Tropical Storm Agatha swept across Guatemala, leaving a trail of destruction to a landscape still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Stan 4 years ago and the most recent eruption of Volcano Pacaya.

Many Lake Atitlan communities were hit badly, losing homes, schools and in some cases lives. Of our six Santa Cruz communities around the lake and in the mountains above, Jaibalito fared the worst. Fourteen families lost everything and many more homes and public buildings were severely damaged. Read the rest of this entry »

Governments, Relief Agencies Gear up in the Wake of Tropical Storm Agatha

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Guatemala SinkholeThe death toll in Central America, cited at 150 today, continues to rise in the wake of tropical storm Agatha. In addition to these deaths, the storm, which reached land on Saturday, has destroyed bridges, caused flooding and mudslides and, dramatically, opened a 30-story sink hole in Guatemala City.

Guatemala seems to have been the hardest hit with at least 82 deaths and over 110,000 evacuated. Even so, El Salvador saw 140 landslides, 9 dead, and over 8,000 evacuated while Honduras suffered the destruction of 505 homes and the evacuation of 2,250 people. Read the rest of this entry »

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Este blog fue creado para apoyar a la Red Centroamericana y animar al diálogo alrededor de investigaciones relevantes, noticias y esfuerzos de alivio a la pobreza en la región.
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