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On this day July 18, 1982

Efra�n R�os Montt

Efraín Ríos Montt

The Plan de Sánchez massacre took place in the Guatemalan village of Plan de Sánchez, on 18 July 1982. Over 250 people (mostly women and children, and almost exclusively ethnic Achi Maya) were abused and murdered by members of the armed forces and their paramilitary allies.

The killings took place during one of the most violent phases of Guatemala’s Civil War, which pitted various groups of left-wing insurgents against the government and the armed forces. After assuming power in March 1982, President Efraín Ríos Montt embarked on a military campaign that largely succeeded in breaking the insurgency, but at a terrible cost in human lives and human rights violations. The massacre in Plan de Sánchez was an element in the government’s scorched earth strategy, and the village was targeted because of the authorities’ suspicions that the inhabitants were harbouring or otherwise supporting guerrilla groups.

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Guatemalan ministers killed in helicopter crash

Vinicio Gomez, the Guatemalan Interior Minister and Edgar Hernandez, the deputy Interior Minister, were yesterday killed in a helicopter crash, according to government officials. The helicopter lost contact at 1908 UTC yesterday, and as a result, this is believed to be the time that the accident occurred.

A spokesperson for the Guatemalan government said that the accident was caused by bad weather. They also stated, one their official website, that the incident occurred at a point 42 miles away from La Aurora International Airport, the country’s major international airport. Read More…

Bush meets with Alvaro Colom

George W. Bush, the President of the United States, met in the Oval Office of the White House with Alvaro Colom, the President of Guatemala.

Bush started the speech after the meeting. “We’ve had a good discussion about a variety of issues. We discussed bilateral relations between Guatemala and the United States, which are very strong. We are friends. We treat each other with respect. Read More…

Businessman Álvaro Colom wins Guatemalan Presidency

Álvaro Colom Caballeros of the National Unity of Hope has assumed the title of President-Elect following the run off phase of the 2007 Guatemalan General Election, the second election since the end of the country’s violent 36 year civil war.

Colom, runner up in the previous election, won the Presidency with 52.23% of the second round vote after having come in first with 28.23% in the first round, defeating runner up former General Otto Perez Molina of the Patriotic Partywho claimed 23.51% in the first round and 47.24 in the second.

The election came on the heels of a sometimes literally violent campaign season; over 50 candidates and activists lost their lives in the time leading up to the elections, just a handful of the 5,000 to 6,000 murders estimated to take place in the country each year.

The country, listed last among Latin American nations on the UN human development index, faces issues of growing textile jobs, corruption, and a tax base inadequate to maintain basic social services.