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Tropical storm Agatha hit Guatemala

Tropical Storm Agatha was weak, but catastrophic brought widespread floods to much of Central America and was the deadliest tropical cyclone in the eastern Pacific since Hurricane Pauline in 1997.

It made landfall near the Guatemala-Mexico border on the evening of May 29. Agatha produced torrential rain all across Central America, which resulted in the death of one person in Nicaragua. In Guatemala, 108 people were killed and 53 left missing by landslides. 13 deaths also occurred in El Salvador. It soon dissipated over Guatemala.

Two days before landfall, the Pacaya volcano, roughly 25 mi (40 km) south of Guatemala City, erupted on May 27, killing one person and forcing over 2,000 people to evacuate, and causing the temporary closing of the main international airport. Read More…

Guatemala volcano Pacaya erupts

The Pacaya Volcano has erupted on Friday. The volcano is located 50 kilometers south of the capital of Guatemala, Guatemala City. Throughout the evening and night, volcanic ash has fallen in the municipalities of Amatitlán, Villa Nueva, and Guatemala City.

President Álvaro Colom’s government has decreed a State of Public Calamity in the Escuintla, Sacatepéquez and Guatemala departments, for 15 days or more, so the authorities can do their job correctly. The emergency response is being coordinated by the National Coordination for Disaster Reduction (CONRED).

The eruption was followed by several tremors. All flights in and out of Guatemala City’s La Aurora International Airport, have been suspended. The eruption has caused many casualties, among them the death of Aníbal Archila, NOTI7’s reporter, who was one of the first reporting the event.

Guatemala sees landmark conviction

Felipe Cusanero is sentenced to 150 years in prison for his part in the disappearance of six Mayan farmers during the Guatemalan Civil War in the 1980s.

He was the first person to ever be convicted for carrying out acts of forced disappearance during the Civil War. He appeared before three judges to face his sentence.

He received a 25-year prison sentence for each of his victims. It was hailed as a “landmark” sentence. Hilarion Lopez, the father of one of the victims, said: “We weren’t looking for vengeance but for the truth and justice”.The families have called on Cusanero to tell them where their bodies are. Cusanero was photographed being carried away by police afterwards.

Guatemala President proposed the suspension of rights

As part of a state of emergency declared on Thursday when the first case of H1N1 flu virus was confirmed in Guatemala, President Álvaro Colom proposed the suspension of rights guaranteed by the constitution of that country.

Álvaro Colom

Álvaro Colom

The state of emergency, which must be ratified or rejected by the Congress of Guatemala by Wednesday, would limit the effect of the articles of the Constitution of Guatemala which provide for the liberties of expression and movement.

Representatives of opposition parties have criticized the measure, asking whether it is necessary to impose limits on freedom of expression in the country, where the third case of H1N1 was confirmed yesterday.

Rosa María de Frade of Bancada Guatemala said, “We understand that the executive branch has to take preventative measures, but under no circumstances can we restrict the opinions of citizens, and the actions must be specifically targeted at resolving the crisis.” Read More…

US knew of Guatemalan human rights abuses

The United States State Department knew that members of Guatemala‘s military government were responsible for the disappearance of thousands of people during the country’s 36-year civil war, according to declassified documents obtained by the Washington D.C.-based National Security Archive, a non-governmental, non-profit research organization.

us-department-of-stateEleven documents from the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, dating from 1984 to 1986, show that the Reagan administration was aware that the Guatemalan Army and National Police were involved in a systematic effort to “kidnap anyone suspected of insurgent connections” during the military government of President Óscar Humberto Mejía Victores. Read More…

LA migrant workers remittances

Slumping economies in the United States, Spain and Japan are causing reverberations in the countries of Latin America as migrant workers send less money home.

Latin America

Latin America

The Inter-American Development Bank reported that for the first time since they began tracking remittances in 2000, remittances to Latin America declined in the fourth quarter of 2008, dropping 2% relative to the fourth quarter of 2007.

In January, remittances declined further, with Colombia experiencing a 16% drop relative to 2008, Brazil suffering a 14% decline, Mexico 12%, and Guatemala and El Salvador each falling 8%.

These numbers come as 2008 saw an average 10% increase in remittances. Nearly US$70 billion was sent back to families in those areas in 2008. Read More…

Tropical Storm Dolly kills seventeen in Guatemala

Seventeen people in Guatemala have been killed by Tropical Storm Dolly, the fourth storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. This included twelve people from a family from Zacapa, who died when a hill collapsed on their home.

The home collapse in Zapaca killed all but three of the people who were in the home at the time of the collapse. Nine children were among those who died. In Huehuetenango, a landslide killed all four people inside a house, another person who died, drowned while attempting to cross the river Punilá.

The Guatemalan National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH) said that the storms will continue throughout the rest of today and tomorrow. According to INSIVUMEH, most of Guatemala will continue to experience winds and rain, and the Pacific coast will experience thunderstorms.