Guatemala

Three years ago, a woman waiting in line at a Walgreen's in Providence, R.I., recognized the man behind her — his face and black sombrero — the man she believes is responsible for the disappearance of her father and uncle.

It was Juan Samayoa, a paramilitary leader from the country's civil war, who's haunted her since she was a little girl.

She confronted him outside the store.

By raining down laser pulses on some 770 square miles of dense forest in northern Guatemala, archaeologists have discovered 60,000 Maya structures that make up full sprawling cities.

And the new technology provides them with an unprecedented view into how the ancient civilization worked, revealing almost industrial agricultural infrastructure and new insights into Maya warfare.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced in a Facebook post on Sunday that the Latin American country would be moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The announcement makes Guatemala the first country to follow the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

President Trump's Dec. 6 announcement, that the U.S. would change decades of U.S. policy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, was met with clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces.

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Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Fort Lauderdale is hosting the third annual Florida International Trade and Cultural Expo, otherwise known as simply FITCE, Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Delegations of businesses and representatives from 50 countries came for the networking convention this year. It aims to connect Broward County businesses to more opportunities for growing international import and export trades.

The El Injerto coffee shop, with its silver stools, brick-and-chalkboard walls and The Weeknd's "I Feel It Coming" playing softly in the background, resembles many cafes in Brooklyn or Los Angeles. But it is in Guatemala City, where paying $5 for a cup of coffee has not always been so common.

Coffee has been one of Guatemala's most important export crops since at least the early 1800s. Only in the past few years have Guatemalans started to consume their own world-renowned product on a larger scale.

Luis Soto / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

In the 28 years I’ve covered Latin America, I never thought I’d write the sentence I’m about to type. But here goes:

Guatemala is a model for the U.S.

You read that right. For the moment, at least, Guatemala – a Central American country whose so-called democracy my colleagues and I have long disparaged as a dark banana-republic farce – is the beacon of the Americas. The exemplar of constitutional rule of law. One of the hemisphere’s separation-of-powers life boats.

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Courtesy of Nancy Bailey's family

After seven months in an overcrowded Guatemalan prison where she awaited a verdict that could lead to a life sentence, Nancy Bailey got justice.

Thursday, in a case that caught global media attention, a Guatemalan court found the 64-year-old Californian woman not guilty of charges of child trafficking.

And the judge in the case took the extraordinary step of castigating the prosecution for a sloppy, weak case.

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Courtesy of the Bailey family

A controversial child trafficking trial starts this Thursday for a 64-year-old American woman who throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s placed hundreds of Guatemalan children with American families. If convicted, she could face more than a decade in prison.

Peter Haden / WLRN

People lined up in Lake Worth to see the president Thursday.

But not the one that you are thinking.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales cut the ribbon at Palm Beach County’s new Guatemalan consulate.

Officials estimate more than 55,000 Guatemalans live in the county. They’ll now be able to get passports, consular IDs and birth certificates without traveling to Miami.

But the consulate will do more than that, says Miami Consul General Rosa Maria Merida De Mora.

Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

Police and government officials from Guatemala have been in Miami all week visiting schools and shadowing Miami-Dade schools police as part of a training program organized by the U.S. State department.

On Friday, they stood by and observed as MDCPS schools police cued mock explosions, students in gory makeup and a canine unit as part of hostage scenario training drill unfolding at Treasure Island Elementary School in North Bay Village.

Guatemala’s civil war ended 20 years ago, on Dec. 29, 1996. The conflict between rebel groups and state security forces lasted nearly four decades and took an estimated 200,000 lives — the great majority of them indigenous Mayans. It was especially hard on Mayan women, who lost loved ones, suffered sexual abuse and other atrocities, and have had to find new ways to survive and move forward in the ensuing years.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

In the latest in a series of similar cases, a South Florida appeals court Wednesday rejected legal-dependency requests from teens who fled Guatemala and Honduras and entered the United States as undocumented immigrants.

A determination of dependency, based on issues such as abandonment by parents or abuse, would help the teens apply for a special immigration status and seek permanent residency, according to court documents.

Gaston de Cardenas / El Nuevo Herald

Guatemala is full of sublime volcanic geography, rich Maya culture – and some of the world’s most sinister politics.

Politically motivated murder is so commonplace in Guatemala that a foreign diplomat once quipped that even drunks watch what they say about the issues.

What happened Sunday, though, is no joke: By a landslide, Guatemalans chucked their political establishment and elected a TV comedian – Jimmy Morales – as their next president.

Luis Soto / AP via Miami Herald

After Sunday’s first round of voting, the leading candidate in Guatemala’s presidential run-off election next month will be a former comedian. But the anti-corruption wave sweeping Central America is no joke – and has been spreading next door to Honduras.

Guatemalan actor Jimmy Morales has never held elected office. But it’s not surprising that an outsider candidate like him got the most votes. Guatemalans are so angry about corruption that last week President Otto Pérez was forced to resign and faces charges in a major scandal.

A Hate Crime Haunts Jupiter And Its Latino Community

Jul 13, 2015
Maria Murriel / WLRN

JUPITER, FLA. -- Onesimo Lopez-Ramos immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala -- one of the most violent countries in the western hemisphere. But even living in the quiet town of Jupiter, Fla., at the northern end of Palm Beach County, he couldn't escape lethal brutality.

The 18-year-old Lopez-Ramos was killed this past April, allegedly by three young white men who said they were targeting immigrants -- or "Guat-hunting" as one of them told police afterward in a disturbing confession.

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