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against the company.

The victim,Alvaro Benigno, was twenty-three years old and leaves behind him his pregnant wife and a three year-old child. This killing takes place in a very tense climate, when the local population is organizing against the gold mining operation; this killing comes in the aftermath of serious protests against the Glamis Gold com- pany earlier this year. During one protest against Glamis Gold in January, a protestor was killed by Guatemala gov- ernment forces. To date, no one has been detained by the authorities for this most recent killing.

form a basis for the institutionalization of the Conscious- ness Tribunal Against Discrimination and Racism.

Juana Batzibal, from the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program for the Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH), indicated that the event forms part of SolidarityWeek, the driving force behind the Presidential Commission Against Discrimination and Racism of Indig- enous Peoples (CODISRA). The event is part of the larger International Day Against Discrimination, an event aimed towards strengthening existing efforts in the area of Hu- man Rights. The event was celebrated on March 28.

Death in Clash with Police over Water Rights 3/31/05 - One individual, MICAELA CHAN RENOJ, was killed and three more were injured on March 29 in a confrontation between police and local townspeople in the village of Chajabal, in SanAndres Xecul. The inci- dent started about 9:00 AM when judge Jesus Otoniel Baquiax followed an order to connect a water tank to tubing in order to supply some 600 people.

Various locals and townspeople opposed the or- der and attacked the police that were accompanying Judge Baquiax. The police threw tear gas and fired shots. One of the shots hit Chan Renoj; three others were wounded.


Protests against CAFTA Continue 3/30/05 - Protests against the signing of the Central American FreeTradeAgreement (CAFTA) continue and are set to continue as long as the Guatemalan Govern- ment fails to consider demonstrators’ demands, which in- clude the guarantee for the protection of human rights, demilitarization, and an investigation into the murder of a protestor at the hands of state security forces. Other pri- mary demands are that neither the Law of Concessions, which would allow for the privatization of basic social services, nor CAFTAare passed and that both the inte- rior minister and the head of the police are fired.


Berger Asks US to Stop Gang Deportations 3/18/05 - The governments of El Salvador and Guate- mala requested that the US stop deporting gang mem- bers detained in the US for criminal acts and asked that they carry out their sentences in US prisons. “It’s a very heavy load on our security forces. We want them to pay the penalty over there,” declared Óscar Berger, after making the request official with the Salvadoran President Antonio Saca. The request marks the beginning of a bi- national security project put forth to prevent criminal acts along the border areas of Guatemala and El Salvador.

Numerous protests, blockades, and strikes have been held to protest the March 10 ratification by Con- gress of the CAFTA. On March 14, thousands of Guatemalans demonstrated around the country in a na- tional strike called by the Indigenous, Campesino, Union and Popular Movement (MICSP) to demand that Presi- dent Oscar Berger not sign the measure (which he did on the following day). The agreement joins Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the US in a trade bloc. Guatemala’s leg- islature approved the agreement by a vote of 126-12, with twenty lawmakers absent. Demonstrations were held throughout the country.


Mayans Celebrate Day Against Discrimination 3/21/05 - As part of activities aimed at the eradication of racial discrimination in Guatemala, indigenous groups or- ganized a reflective meeting, the purpose of which was to

Protests continued around the country March 15- 16. One demonstrator was killed when police and sol- diers tried to break up a highway blockade at Puente Naranjales in Colotenango. The police used tear gas and smoke bombs on the protesters.Agroup of campesinos began hurling rocks on to the agents from cliffs overlook- ing the highway, and the police responded with bullets. Juan Lopez Velasquez, a teacher and member of the

April 1, 2005

UPDATE- page 4

Vol 17 No 7

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