The Guatemala Times posted Ban Ki-Moon's remarks at CICIG during his visit to Guatemala earlier in the week. Ban said he wanted to visit CICIG to express his strong support for the organization's work against impunity and to learn more about its operations. His second reason caught my eye.
My second reason for visiting is to learn more about your activities. Your work is having a profound and positive impact on the future well-being of Guatemala. But it also has important implications for our work well beyond this country’s borders – in other post-conflict transitions where we are engaged in supporting and reforming justice systems, and in our efforts to advance international criminal justice.While Ban may not have been referring to Central America, it appears that the UN is at least considering the creation of additional international commissions in other countries. Ban also announced a $10 million contribution from the UN Peacebuilding Fund to support efforts to entrench the respect of human rights and strengthen the security and justice systems in Guatemala and inaugurated a memorial in honor of Guatemalan soldiers who have died while serving in UN peacekeeping missions.
Finally, Ban met with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla while in Guatemala. Chinchilla requested "help fighting drug trafficking" and told the Secretary General "Central America needs more help from the main drug-consuming nations in order to reduce drug trafficking in the region." Ban met with representatives from the other countries in the region as well except for, you guessed it, Nicaragua.
Guatemalan authorities had a big catch this week in decommissioning about 320 acres (130 hectares) of opium poppies near the country's border with Mexico. However, according to the police, the owners were not very happy with the operation. (Sounds a little fishy to me.)
National police spokesman Donald Gonzalez says locals in western San Marcos province resisted the eradication raid and threw rocks at elite police squads and soldiers.
The residents apparently make a living planting poppies. The government has launched a plan to help farmers switch to potatoes and other legal crops.
Police say the plantations would have yielded opium or heroin worth about $238 million on the street.Finally, Sandra Cuffe has a report on Violent Development: Communities Defending Lands and Resources Face Ongoing Repression in Guatemala at Upside Down World. This article deals with the ongoing gold mining problems in San Marcos, the same department cited in the previous article. Cuffe details a February 28 protest organized by local community organizations in the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan.
The protest against Goldcorp's Marlin mine was was met violently by gold mining supporters (both governmental and non-governmental). The goal of the most recent "demonstration was to pressure the Guatemalan government to comply with precautionary measures issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in May 2010, and particularly the temporary suspension of the Marlin mine."