Guatemala News Roundup: February 27-March 5


Does bringing former dictators, such as Efrain Rios Montt, to trial to account for their crimes really help achieve greater peace? The New York Times brings together columns from several experts from around the world to discuss this question. Most notably, Guatemalan  human rights advocate and founder of the National Association of Guatemalan Widows, Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez.

In a clear sign that feminism has a long way to go in Guatemala, the country’s highest ranking femicide investigator, Alba Trejo of the Presidential Commission against Femicide, resigned from her post because of ongoing threats against her and her family.

Lolita Chávez is an indigenous rights activist and a powerful leader in the K’iche community of Guatemala, often putting her own life in danger in the name of justice. She will be spreading the word about the struggles that indigenous Mayans face on a speaking tour in the US and Canada this month. Her tour kicked off in Ottawa on March 5th and she will also be speaking throughout the US and at several universities in DC through the end of the month. See the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission website for places and times.

Guatemala is already a major exporter of coffee, and now McDonalds is planning to invest $6.5 million to help 13,000 coffee growers expand sustainable coffee production. No details on if the coffee growers will be small or indigenous farmers, but this is a positive step for Guatemala’s coffee industry, and sustainability and corporate social responsibility on the part of McDonalds.

The local group Biketun is also promoting sustainability in Guatemala by holding bicycle tours of Guatemala City to encourage more people to ride bikes as an alternative form of transportation to reduce pollution and traffic congestion. Read more about the founders and check out a video and photo gallery at

Travel site WanderMelon visits Guatemala’s trendy Zona One, offering tips on nightlife and things to see and do in this rapidly developing urban neighborhood.

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