Guatemala is cracking

Guatemala suffers from escalating conflicts. In 2008, again several hundreds of women were killed, the country has now reach an average of 12 murders a day. If the international community doesn’t intervene, the Central-American country might well crack alltogether.
In august, Guatemala was entirely paralyzed by actions of indigenous communities blocking the roads and changing the mind of reckless chauffeurs thinking they could pass. On their banners, the indigenous demonstrators demanded recognition of their rights and identity and an end to the violence used by the police and army against activists and protesters occupying land.
Early September president Alvaro Colom discovered wiretapping in his office and the private room of his wife. The head of the presidential guard was instantly fired. The incident illustrates the relation between the elected government and the presence in government circles of ex-police officers and ex-military men considered responsible for the large scale violence against farmers- and human rights movements in the beginning of the eighties.
In the region of Izabal, more specifically in the protected nature reserve of Rio Dulce, a farmers movement held 29 policemen hostage in February and a month later four Belgian tourists. The  tacking hostages was a deed of deep despair in an attempt to free their leader - who is still imprisoned – and to end the many conflicts.  1500 q’eqchi families who live on the bank of the Rio Dulce, are threatened to be chased of their lands in favor of a large scale road construction project that would, according to them, only benefit the United Fruit Company.
Because of the repression of drugs cartels in the neighboring countries, Guatemala seems the place to be for laundering drugs money. Drug barons buy up entire regions and they settle themselves in Guatemala. The silver-and gold mining is also booming as never before. The spectacular profits inspire a few leaders to buy even more land while more than a third of the people lives in the poverty. Certain places are even afflicted by extreme hunger.
The government reacts to the increasing violence with the deployment of even more soldiers and   policemen and they try to silence human rights activists with more false accusations, arrests and intimidations. The people call for a fair distribution of the profits and basic rights. And the people of Guatemala also demand the full application of the 1996 peace agreements that finished the civil war. Those agreements are more than only a peace agreement, they  also entail a development plan for Guatemala and a guiding principle towards better governing.

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