All posts tagged: Guatemala

Blinken to travel to Guatemala for regional migration conference

Blinken to travel to Guatemala for regional migration conference

[ad_1] U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels Tuesday to Guatemala for regional talks on migration. Officials will be discussing “enforcement, migration management and refugee integration,” the State Department said, two years after a group of 20 countries agreed on a framework of cooperation on migration issues. “Secretary Blinken will underscore our advances over the past two years and look ahead to next joint steps to bolster humane migration management and robust enforcement, lawful pathways and access to protection, and increasing refugee and migrant integration in the Americas,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement. The Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection reiterated the need to create the conditions for “safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration,” and committed to protecting the safety and dignity of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons. It also highlighted the need to address the root causes that push people to leave their home countries. U.S. President Joe Biden hosted Guatemalan President Bernardo Arevalo for talks at the White House in late March. Before heading to Guatemala, …

Unfazed by danger and power, Guatemalan cardinal keeps up fight for migrants and the poor

Unfazed by danger and power, Guatemalan cardinal keeps up fight for migrants and the poor

[ad_1] HUEHUETENANGO, Guatemala (AP) — As more than 100 men carrying an elaborate float of Jesus halted before him, Cardinal Álvaro Ramazzini lost no time in calling for social justice — the hallmark of the Catholic bishop’s decades-long frontline ministry. “Let’s hope that this procession may revive in the heart the willingness to discover Jesus Christ present in the person who suffers,” Ramazzini said in an impromptu speech, pointing to the dozens of elderly and disabled lining a street in Guatemala City’s oldest neighborhood. “If we don’t have that ability, don’t tell me you’re Christian — I won’t believe that.” Elevated by Pope Francis to the top hierarchy of the Catholic Church, Ramazzini has continued his unflinching focus on the poor, the Indigenous and the migrant. That has garnered him great affection from the marginalized and many threats of violence, including rumors of an arrest warrant, as his native Guatemala struggles through political turmoil and remains a hotspot of migration to the United States. At the procession during the Easter season, he didn’t mince words …

On Good Friday, Guatemalan sawdust carpets bring together Maya community

On Good Friday, Guatemalan sawdust carpets bring together Maya community

[ad_1] WASHINGTON (RNS) — Ubaldo Sánchez kneels on the street beside his 15-year-old nephew, Kevin, spreading colored sawdust to create a bright blue sky above the figure of Jesus. Since 5 a.m. on this Good Friday (March 29), Sánchez, his family and other members of his Maya Mam community have been working in the shadow of the Catholic Shrine of the Sacred Heart, constructing a vibrant “alfombra de aserrín,” or sawdust carpet, filled with Catholic and Maya imagery. After the 80-foot-long alfombra is completed about two in the afternoon, some of the 20 or so Indigenous Maya artists, who call themselves Guate-Maya, stayed to guard its perfection until sundown, when a Good Friday procession walked over the carpet, blending the sharply contrasting colors and sweeping that perfection away. Sawdust carpets are made throughout Guatemala and other parts of Latin America. In Guatemala, they are constructed every Sunday during Lent and for Holy Week processions. Alfombras are a tradition of Sánchez’s Mam people, an Indigenous group from southern Mexico and Guatemala’s western mountains, consider, and he …

Central American, Mexican Families Mourn Missing Bridge Workers

Central American, Mexican Families Mourn Missing Bridge Workers

[ad_1] AZACUALPA, Honduras —  The construction workers who went missing in the Baltimore bridge collapse all hailed from Mexico or Central America before they settled in the Maryland area. Police managed to close bridge traffic seconds before a cargo ship slammed into one of the Francis Scott Key Bridge’s supports early Tuesday, causing the span to fall into the frigid Patapsco River. There wasn’t time for a maintenance crew filling potholes on the span to get to safety. At least eight people fell into the water and two were rescued. The other six are missing and presumed dead, but the search continued Wednesday. The governments of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras confirmed that their citizens were among the missing. Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, 38, was the youngest of eight siblings from Azacualpa, a rural mountainous area in northwestern Honduras along the border with Guatemala. Eighteen years ago, he set out on his own for the United States looking for opportunities. He had worked as an industrial technician in Honduras, repairing equipment in the large …

Saquean consulado honorario de Guatemala en Haití

Saquean consulado honorario de Guatemala en Haití

[ad_1] CIUDAD DE GUATEMALA —  El gobierno de Guatemala confirmó el sábado que su consulado honorario en Haití fue saqueado el viernes. La cancillería guatemalteca explicó que su embajada, concurrente para Haití, situada en República Dominicana, informó sobre el hecho y señaló que la “papelería y documentación de los últimos cuatro o cinco años, ya se habían trasladado con anterioridad a dicha Embajada”. No reportó daños ni qué habrían robado. Según la cancillería, por lo menos 22 guatemaltecos residen en Haití. El gobierno de Guatemala afirmó que en Haití hay un cónsul honorario originario del país y que no hay personal del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Guatemala en aquel país. Haití vive una ola de violencia liderada por pandillas que tienen control de varias zonas del país y que son señaladas de delitos como asesinatos, secuestros, violaciones que alimentan la ingobernabilidad del país. La situación en el país caribeño, azotado por la extrema pobreza, ha escalado al grado que varias organizaciones temen una hambruna en Haití. La madrugada del martes, el primer ministro Ariel Henry …

In Guatemala, public schools turn to Bible study to boost reading and resist gang culture

In Guatemala, public schools turn to Bible study to boost reading and resist gang culture

[ad_1] MIXCO, Guatemala (RNS) — As you arrive at the public school in Terra Nueva, a neighborhood in this city connected by bridges to Guatemala City, the high-pitched babble coming from the other side of the school wall, if you close your eyes, could be coming from happy, excited children anywhere. But Terra Nueva is a tough area. Potholed roads make journeys difficult. Shops on the main thoroughfares are rundown. Many families have endured poverty and disruption since the time of the nation’s civil war, which lasted nearly four decades and led many rural families to move to the metropolitan area’s relative safety. But the cities have a high level of crime, much of it linked to gangs.  Many children in the Guatemala City metropolitan area leave school at 14; in rural areas it can be as young as eight. For those who do attend, there’s often a shortage of teaching materials, including textbooks and modern reading devices. In Mixco, 650 pupils share just 12 computers. In response to these challenges, Mixco school administrators have …

‘When have we ever had democracy?’: is Thelma Cabrera Guatemala’s most surprising politician? | Guatemala

‘When have we ever had democracy?’: is Thelma Cabrera Guatemala’s most surprising politician? | Guatemala

[ad_1] Thelma Cabrera wraps her tiny body around a large mango tree. It is a warm embrace between old acquaintances: as a girl, she walked past this tree every day on her way to the coffee plantation where she worked with her mother and siblings. On good days, she recalls, they could pick ripe mangoes off the ground. Today, dressed in flip-flops, a colourful checked skirt and a floral top, the 53-year-old may well be Guatemala’s most surprising politician – even without her penchant for hugging trees. A Maya woman from the Mam people, Cabrera has run for president twice – in 2019 and 2023 – on behalf of the socialist Movement for the Liberation of Peoples (MLP) party, with a manifesto promising a new plurinational constitution and advocating for the Indigenous philosophy of el buen vivir: a sustainable and organic “good life” instead of the large-scale agriculture that dominates the Guatemalan countryside. However, amid the increasing political turbulence that has rocked democracy in the country since last year’s elections, Cabrera has no reason to …

In Guatemala, At Least, Democracy Is Winning

In Guatemala, At Least, Democracy Is Winning

[ad_1] Democracy could use a win. All around the world, states have been taken over by strongmen dead set on extracting as much wealth as they can from the societies they rule. In Russia and Venezuela, Myanmar and Angola, weak electoral systems have given way to hyper-corrupt autocracies. And democrats haven’t really figured out how to fight back. Successful methods to get rid of criminal regimes are desperately needed but vanishingly rare. Which is why what’s happening in Guatemala right now demands attention. Over the past six months, Guatemalans have made an audacious gambit to take their government back. And against all odds, they’re winning. Nobody expected this. Until quite recently, Guatemala was arguably an excellent example of what the Venezuelan writer Moisés Naím calls a “mafia state”—a country run by a criminal syndicate focused mostly on enriching itself. Guatemalans call it the pacto de corruptos, or the “pact of the corrupt.” A nested set of criminal enterprises thoroughly colonized the state, infiltrating not just the government, but the courts, the election authorities, and crucially, …

EU Imposes Sanctions Against Five Guatemalans for Undermining Democracy

EU Imposes Sanctions Against Five Guatemalans for Undermining Democracy

[ad_1] (Reuters) – The European Union on Friday imposed sanctions against five individuals from Guatemala for undermining democracy, the rule of law or the peaceful transfer of power in Central America’s most populous nation. The listings include the attorney general of Guatemala, Maria Consuelo Porras Argueta De Porres and three other officials at the Guatemalan Public Prosecutor’s Office. They are subject to an asset freeze, and EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to them. They are also no longer allowed to enter or transit through EU territories, the bloc of 27 nations said. Anti-corruption crusader Bernardo Arevalo was sworn in as Guatemala’s president last month after a chaotic inauguration that was delayed for hours by a last-ditch attempt by Congress opponents to weaken his authority. Guatemala’s attorney general was an ally of former president Alejandro Giammattei, whose government has been engulfed in corruption scandals. She has made several attempts to hinder Arevalo’s transition to the presidency, including trying to strip Arevalo and his vice president of legal immunity, attempting to suspend …

In Guatemala, New Utopian Neighborhood? Or a Testament to Inequality?

In Guatemala, New Utopian Neighborhood? Or a Testament to Inequality?

[ad_1] Try going for a stroll in much of Guatemala City: It is a pedestrian’s nightmare. Motorcycles speed down crowded sidewalks. Rifle-grasping guards squint at each passerby, sizing up potential assailants. Smoke-belching buses barrel through stop signs. But tucked within the chaotic capital’s crazy-quilt sprawl, there is a dreamlike haven where none of that exists. In the City of Cayalá, a utopian domain created by one of Guatemala’s richest families, the streets are quiet and orderly, the stores are upscale and the homes attainable — if only to families from the country’s small, moneyed elite, or foreigners, like the American diplomats stationed at the huge newly built United States embassy nearby. Evoking the feel of a serene Mediterranean town, Cayalá features milky white buildings with red-tile roofs, a colossal civic hall with Tuscan columns, cafes and high-priced restaurants, colonnade-lined plazas and walkable, stone-paved boulevards. All of this is open to the public — except for the gated sections where about 2,000 families live. “In 20 years, Cayalá will be just like La Rambla,” said Andrés …