Two sisters who were trying to escape violence and poverty in Guatemala for a better life “became so desperately lost trekking across the Texas desert that when they saw a U.S. Customs and Border Protection truck, they waved for help,” reports the Los Angeles Times. An officer in that truck later confined them by force, and sexually assaulted them, one by one. Read the rest
An unprotected Kingo Solar database with the personal data and photos for thousands of off-the-grid electricity customers was accessible for months, reports Zack Whittaker at ZDnet. “Thousands of remote villagers in Guatemala and South Africa are living off the grid, but their personal information isn't,” he writes.
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The former Army general has resigned to face charges that he led a massive customs fraud racket. He is prohibited from leaving the country, Attorney General Thelma Aldana told reporters.
Much jubilation tonights in the streets of Guatemala.
Guatemala is a place where justice seldom reaches those who deserve it most. But today in Guatemala, something amazing has happened. And they're calling it “Guatemalan Spring.”
Just one of the many stunning images hitting social media today from the protests around Guatemala. An unprecedented number of Guatemalans of all economic, ethnic, and social backgrounds have united in the streets, calling for an end to corruption and the impeachment of president Otto Perez Molina. Read the rest
Protesters are seeking to arrest the sitting president for corruption.
From Bea Gallardo, a motion picture and television producer I have worked with in Guatemala, comes word of a very cool project she's working on with Guatemalan director Luis Argueta: a documentary about the journey of a group of Guatemalan children who live in the United States, and who travel from the US to Guatemala to meet their grandparents for the first time. Read the rest
Emi McLean at the Open Society Justice Initiative's Rios Montt trial blog:
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With the events of recent weeks – the May 20 Constitutional Court decision to undo the guilty verdict in the Rios Montt trial and the new trial court’s expressed unavailability until April 2014 – it seems that continued legal proceedings against Rios Montt in the Ixil genocide trial will be in the best of scenarios on hold. However, there have been further developments in connection with another set of charges against former Guatemalan de facto president Efraín Rios Montt.
Photo: James Rodriguez, mimundo.org.
From 2-5 Eastern time today in Washington, DC, I will be among the moderators at a special event at the New America Foundation, "Genocide in Our Hemisphere: Justice and Reconciliation in Guatemala Beyond the Conviction of General Ríos Montt."
You can watch live online, the event will be streamed here.
Featured speakers at the event include scholars, massacre survivors, and people who were directly involved in the genocide trial of Ríos Montt, which ended with a guilty verdict on May 10, only to be thrown out ten days later in an unprecedented move by Guatemala's Constitutional Court.
More on the event in this Boing Boing post. If you're in DC and wish to attend, it is free, but it's best to sign up online. Read the rest
Benjamin Manuel Geronimo, massacre survivor, and representative of Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR), speaking in the genocide trial in Guatemala City on May 9, 2010.
On Wednesday, May 29, I will be among the moderators at a very special event in Washington, DC at the New America Foundation, "Genocide in Our Hemisphere: Justice and Reconciliation in Guatemala Beyond the Conviction of General Ríos Montt." Featured speakers at the event include scholars, massacre survivors, and people who were directly involved in the genocide trial of Ríos Montt, which ended with a guilty verdict on May 10, only to be thrown out ten days later in an unprecedented move by Guatemala's Constitutional Court.
More on the event below. It's from 2-5pm. Attendance is free, but you must sign up online. Read the rest
Photo: Daniel Hernández-Salazar.
Protesters in Guatemala and other Latin American countries gathered on Friday to denounce the Guatemalan Constitutional Court's recent decision to overturn the genocide trial and guilty verdict of Ríos Montt. About 1,500 people, mostly indigenous Maya from Guatemala, gathered in Guatemala City. They marched along what posters described as the "Route of Impunity," from the Supreme Court where the ex-General was convicted on May 10 and sentenced to 80 years in jail, to the Constutional Court which threw out the trial ten days later.
Photos from the Guatemala City march below, along with images from Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico, which were among the other countries where protests took place. Also below, snapshots from a pro-Ríos Montt protest that took place today in a suburb of Guatemala City: about 15 people gathered to denounce Communism and terrorism, and chant that "In Guatemala, there was no genocide." Read the rest
In Guatemala City and throughout Latin America today, protests are taking place to condemn the Guatemalan Constitutional Court's decision this week to effectively throw out the trial of Ríos Montt.
On May 10, the former US-backed general was found guilty, and sentenced to 80 years in prison for genocide and crimes against humanity. But just ten days later, the historic trial was overturned when the nation's highest court voted 3-2 to uphold complaints put forth by Rios Montt's attorneys.
While legal proceedings will continue, most agree that the trial has been effectively destroyed. Indigenous people throughout Guatemala, and their supporters, are outraged.
The protests happen on the same day that another disgraced former Guatemalan president, Alfonso Portillo, is being extradited to the United States where he will face trial in a Manhattan court on US money laundering charges, filed against him in 2010.
The former president is accused of using financial institutions in the United States to launder more than $70 million. Read the rest
The New York Times Editorial Board: "The United States, which supported [General Ríos Montt] and his regime during the war and apologized for that in 1999, provides aid for the justice system. It should urge that the case be pursued through an independent process. It would be a travesty if a mishandled legal proceeding were to deny victims justice now." Read the rest
Kate Doyle of the National Security Archive, whose work led to the uncovering of secret Guatemalan Army documents that served as critical evidence in the genocide trial of Rios Montt, writes in the Nation about the road to that historic "guilty" verdict on May 10— and what happened ten days later, when "the forces of impunity struck back." Read the rest
Ríos Montt's attorney, Francisco García Gudiel. Photo: El Periodico, Guatemala. "They must restart the trial," he told the paper today.
In Guatemala today, confusion and concern around what will become of the historic trial that found former US-backed military dictator Ríos Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. Just 10 days after that trial ended in an 80-year prison sentence for the former general, the nation's Constitutional Court this week overturned the trial and threw out the verdict. Background here and documents here, in previous Boing Boing posts.
Ríos Montt's attorney Francisco García Gudiel (whom critics in Guatemala sometimes refer to as an "abogangster") says the trial must restart: "You have to cancel the whole process and begin a new trial with new judges."
Without saying it, they threw out everything," plaintiff and human rights attorney Hector Reyes told Reuters. "There is no appeals process for their decision." Read the rest
Photo: Protest, Guatemala City, April 19, 2013. James Rodriguez/mimundo.org.
Here's info on two special events in NYC and DC with visiting speakers from Guatemala talking about human rights accountability in Guatemala, where the historic genocide trial of former US-backed military dictator Ríos Montt has just been overturned. Both events are free of charge, but you need to RSVP. Read the rest