Guatemala. According to countryaah, Guatemala’s social and economic situation forced President Álvaro Colom into a series of changes in the government during the year. As part of the renewal of the security institutions, initiated by the dismissal of several senior military in December 2008, Secretary of the Interior Francisco Jiménez was dismissed in early January. The direct reason was the escalating crime – in 2008 6,200 people were murdered in the country – and Jiménez’s replacement Salvador Gándara is considered the hard line man. In March, the finance and agriculture ministers were replaced.
President Colom’s worst crisis came in May when he was accused of involvement in the murder of a prominent lawyer, Rodrigo Rosenberg, who, on a videotape recorded shortly before his death, says he is on the president’s death list because of his involvement in a specific court case with links to the president’s family and circle of friends. Colom dismissed the charges as political sabotage against him, but the scandal persecuted him for the rest of the year.
1990 First agreement between URNG and the country’s political parties
Due. Comprehensive opposition and political murders took nearly three years before a joint agreement between the URNG, the National Reconciliation Commission (CNR) and the country’s legal political parties could be signed on June 1, 1990. However, the process seemed to be stalling again. The country’s residents were extremely skeptical and at the November 11 presidential elections of the same year, only 30% of the voters participated. The second round of elections on January 6, 1991 was won by Jorge Serrano Elías of the MAS party.
The Serrano government and the URNG decided to resume peace talks. In Nicaragua, the war was finally over and negotiations in El Salvador were far advanced. 24-26. April 1991, the two parties met in Cuernavaca, Mexico. After three decades in the country and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, the parties decided to initiate a negotiation process that would result in a permanent and lasting peace agreement within the shortest possible time. The agenda included themes such as democratization, human rights, strengthening civil society and the military’s role in a democratic society, the identity and rights of indigenous peoples, constitutional reform and electoral system, socio-economic problems and the land issue, resettlement of the country’s internal and external refugees, and the reintegration of the guerrillas into political life.
In late May 1991, the leader of the important indigenous peoples organization, Consejo de Comunidades Etnicas, Runujel Junam, disappeared. In July, the U.S. Senate suspended military aid to Guatemala and the URNG immediately demanded a halt to human rights violations. Human rights organizations could report that in the first 9 months of Serrano’s reign, 1,760 human rights violations had occurred. Including 650 executions.
In September 1991, Guatemalan President Belize recognized the right of self-determination, after Guatemala has occasionally claimed the area over the centuries. The decision led to the resignation of Foreign Minister Alvaro Arzú from the PAN party, which drastically weakened the government.
In 1992, a debate began on the military’s paramilitary groups – first and foremost the PAC. In August, the Catholic Church strongly criticized the government’s economic policy and advocated for land reform. The indigenous peoples’ organizations demanded that the government sign ILO Convention 169 on the rights of indigenous peoples in the labor market.
The government created the “Hunapú” force on the basis of army, police and tax police. In April, Hunapú members were involved in an attack on a student demonstration in which students demanded improvements in education policy. One student was killed and 7 others injured. Internationally, both the US government, the World Bank and the European Parliament put pressure on the government of Guatemala to curb political violence in the country.
While the indigenous people in October 1992 marked the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Spanish invasion forces to America, Rigoberta Menchú Tum was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She belongs to the quiche people, her father had been executed by the military in 1980, and for the following 10 years she had traveled around the world to propagate against the oppression of the indigenous people of Guatemala.