Guatemala This Month: Stuff That Actually Happened
By Elena Alvarado
A look back at the new and newsworthy during the month of June, 2010.
Resignations everywhere this month in Guatemala. The head of CICIG (an international commission investigating corruption in Guatemala), Dr. Carlos Castresana resigned because he felt that his recommendations were being universally ignored by the Colom Administration. The bungling of the appointment of the “fiscal general” (similar to attorney general) was at the heart of this debacle. Instead of appointing an attorney general off of the list of six candidates Alvaro Colom went to Europe and his vice president Rafael Estrada picked an unauthorized candidate with heavy Colom ties and alleged organized crime links.
US Ambassador Stephen McFarland’s reaction to the Castresana Affair was muted dejection and encouragement for Cicig to work together with the government. Spanish Ambassador, Maria Diez-Orejas (real name), however, blasted the Colom Administration accusing the government of gross misconduct and a lack of transparency .
The UNE party was also rocked by extensive cabinet level resignations and needed to present plans of its reorganization to the national Congress.
Tropical Storm Agatha was front page news for weeks. Three days of straight rain destroyed homes of 2,000 families in the Quetzaltenango area, including over 500 families in the Zona 2 neighborhood. Relief efforts are expected to be long, as many affected families lost all of their possessions. Almalonga alone reported over Q2,000,000 in crop damage due to the storm. (Those interested in relief efforts can contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
Another tropical storm, Alex, is at press time affecting Mexico, Belize and is expected to hit Guatemala’s Caribbean coast. Even though the storm is located on the other side of the country the heavy rains are expected to cause havoc on the already strained highway system. If you are nervous about the road conditions you can call Asistur (dial 1500), or COVIAL or CONRED (government agencies in charge of the roads and emergencies.)
Finally, an overpass named after Jorge Ubico in Guatemala City is causing a stir among human rights advocates who are unclear why the dictator is being honored.