Guatemala: violent fracas leaves 6 dead

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a condemnation of the killing of six indigenous people in Guatemala, following clashes between members of the community Totonicapán and government security forces on October 4. Clashes between the two groups resulted in injuries to at least 40 mostly indigenous civilians, as well as seven soldiers. At least one army truck was destroyed, along with a civilian vehicle.

Clashes were triggered at several unauthorized checkpoints established by indigenous farmers who were protesting against the increase in fees for electricity and other basic services.

Several versions of events have emerged. Some accuse the army of having resorted to inhumane use of firearms. There continue to be confusion and outrage over the incidents. The government of Guatemala has so far refused to accept responsibility.

Several organizations representing indigenous peoples and human rights campaigners have aligned themselves behind Rigoberta Menchú, an indigenous woman won was granted the 1992 Nobel Prize for peace, condemned the violence and called for an independent investigation.

Carmen Urizar, president of the National Electric Power Commission promised to visit Totonicapan to explain the reasons for the price hikes. Guatemala relies on hydroelectric generators for much of its electric power. Spokesmen for the utility claim that a lack of sufficient rain has caused an increase in the price charged to customers. In Totonicapan, customers are being charged as much as 50 quetzales per month (USD $6.26) when their actual use may amount to 10 quetzales (USD $ 1.25). The minimum daily wage established by law in Guatemala for agricultural workers is USD $ 3, even while this law is frequently disregarded. Multiple sources indicate that the minimum daily wage is insufficient to support healthy living. 

Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

Filed under politics, guatemala, human rights, nobel prize, maya, Central America


Real economic stimulus: Cheap American oil

Gas prices may drop to just over $1 per gallon in 2015.

Copper held as collateral in China

As copper prices tumble, questions remain how Chinese companies will repay their corporate debt.

Mining and energy companies reconsider investments in West Africa

Liberian president changes mind about the severity of the outbreak -- writes letter to the world begging for help.

Israel: archaeologists' find confirms presence of Roman occupation army

A 2,000 year old commemorative inscription dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian was uncovered in Jerusalem that according to archaeologist Dr. Rina Avner 'is an extraordinary find of enormous historical importance'.

In reversal, Liberian president says ebola has brought country to standstill

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf pens letter to the world: This disease respects no borders.

Liberia: Ebola keeps Christians away from church

US health officials contradict President Obama's assurances that Ebola cannot be contracted by sitting adjacent to another person on a bus.

U.S. military can't stop Ebola contagion from Latin America

Marine Corp Gen. John Kelly expressed fears that human traffickers bringing illegal immigrants to the U.S. will also bring Ebola.

This page took 0.1328seconds to load