GHRC spring issue of El Quetzal  highlights current and upcoming challenges to judicial reform in Guatemala, as well as the role that women are playing in the country’s transitional justice processes. This issue also honors ‘La Puya’ — a two-year, peaceful resistance movement to a gold mine — and looks at the 2014 Appropriations Bill, which outlines new restrictions to US funding for the Guatemalan military. 


Peaceful Anti-Mining Resistance at “La Puya” Celebrates Two Years of Struggle

On March 2 of this year, La Puya — against all odds — celebrated its second anniversary. The peaceful resistance movement to a gold mine began with a single act of civil disobedience which grew into a permanent human blockade, preventing mining equipment from entering the Tambor site.

La Puya is a unique example of successful opposition to a mining project, and its members have made a whole-hearted commitment to nonviolence, ethnic equality, and putting women at the forefront of the struggle. GHRC staff and our international network of activists have provided almost continuous support to the men and women of La Puya over the last few years.

Victory in the US Congress: Reparatons for the Chixoy Dam and the Military BanCurrently, State Department funds may only go to the Guatemalan Army if the Secretary of State certifies that specific conditions related to human rights and the role of the Army are being met. In addition, this year, the US Congress approved special conditions for reinstatement of aid, contingent upon the Guatemalan government taking credible steps toward implementing the 2010 reparations plan for the communities affected by the Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam.

Given that conditions have not been met in a credible, concrete, and meaningful way, GHRC is calling for State Department certification to be denied

The Future of Guatemala’s Justice SystemThis article looks at the transformation over the past several years of Guatemala’s justice system, as it began to function with unprecedented independence, transparency, and efficiency. Two individuals have been central to these reforms: Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz and César Barrientos, Magistrate of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court. However, in February, the Constitutional Court rules to cut short Paz y Paz’s term, and, just weeks later, news came of Justice Barrientos’ tragic death.

Now, with several upcoming elections for judicial authorities, the battle for control of Guatemala’s institutions is in full force. We can only hope that the work of those who have dedicated their lives to the struggle for justice has not been undone.


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