In other news…

This blog is
contributed to by people who have other lives, and inevitably
sometimes the demands mean we miss posting a few things we would have
liked to. This happened in May, so I thought I would just post up a
brief summary of a few things I would have liked to have posted then.
Hope you find them useful!

  • The Academy
    of Mayan Languages

    has set up a television

    to transmit programmes in Mayan languages, TV
    It will be a small start – only three transmissions of half an
    hour per week – but it is hoped to expand this soon.
  • Jennifer
    Harbury has lost
    her final appeal

    for compensation from the US authorities for their part in the death
    of her husband, Efrain Bamaca. She made a claim under the Federal
    Tort Claims Act
    (FTCA) which permits the US government to be sued for actions of
    people acting on its behalf. Jennifer Harbury tells the story in her
    book “Searching
    for Everardo

    of how she met and married the guerrilla reader Comandante Everardo,
    and then her search for the truth about his fate after he
    disappeared. She eventually discovered that Bamaca was killed by a
    paid CIA asset after being captured in battle. The judgement claims
    the FTCA does not apply to actions outside the US. The state of
    Guatemala recognised its responsibility
    in the death of Bamaca back in 2006.
  • An attempt to
    reintroduce the death penalty in Guatemala has failed for the time
    being. As we reported
    back in February a bill was introduced to reintroduce it as a
    response to the crime rate. In mid-March Alvaro Colom vetoed
    the law arguing that it was unconstitutional. As the Constitutional
    Governance Committee failed to determine what to do next the law
    then failed at the beginning of May. Congress will need to introduce
    a new bill if it wishes to try again to reintroduce the penalty
  • A hunger

    was held in Guatemala City by four women claiming their babies had
    been stolen for adoption. They lost
    their children in 2006 in various different ways, including being
    drugged or threatened. They gave up the strike after eight days but
    suggested they may reinitiate it if the authorities do not do
    anything about locating their children. A new adoption law
    introduced at the end of 2007 tightened up adoption procedures. In
    the face of the hunger strike all adoptions were suspended
    for a period of one month so that pending adoptions, some of which
    were initiated before the new law, can be reviewed.
  • Victor Rivera,
    a former adviser to the Ministry of the Interior, was murdered
    just two days after he was dismissed from his post. The president
    had remarked that he had become “too powerful”. He was a
    controversial figure having allegedly been a CIA asset in El
    Salvador. He was a Venezuelan by birth but had taken up Guatemalan
    citizenship, and had worked in Guatemela for many years. He was
    involved in negotiating the release of kidnap victims and had been
    investigating the killing of three Salvadoran politicians and their
    driver. There was criticism that he had not been provided with
    protection after he was dismissed despite the work he had done and
    the knowledge he had about high profile cases.
  • Guatemala is
    considering a freedom
    of information act

    to allow members of the public to access details of how public money
    is spent. This has been lingering in Congress since 2000.

Categories: Culture

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