Guatemala: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This South American Nation

(THIS ARTICLE I COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Guatemala

Introduction The Mayan civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its independence in 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments, as well as a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the conflict, which had left more than 100,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, some 1 million refugees.
History Pre-Columbian

The first evidence of human settlers in Guatemala goes back to 10,000 BC, although there is some evidence that puts this date at 18,000 BC, such as obsidian arrow heads found in various parts of the country.[2] There is archaeological proof that early Guatemalan settlers were hunters and gatherers, but pollen samples from Petén and the Pacific coast indicate that maize cultivation was developed by 3500 BC.[3] Archaic sites have been documented in Quiché in the Highlands and Sipacate, Escuintla on the central Pacific coast (6500 BC).

Archaeologists divide the pre-Columbian history of Mesoamerica into 3 periods: The Pre-Classic from 2000 BC to 250 AD, the Classic from 250 to 900 AD, and the calistic from 900 to 1500 AD.[4] Until recently, the Pre-Classic was regarded as a formative period, with small villages of farmers who lived in huts, and few permanent buildings, but this notion has been challenged by recent discoveries of monumental architecture from that period, such as an altar in La Blanca, San Marcos, from 1000 BC; ceremonial sites at Miraflores and El Naranjo from 801 BC; the earliest monumental masks; and the Mirador Basin cities of Nakbé, Xulnal, Tintal, Wakná and El Mirador.

El Mirador was by far the most populated city in the pre-Columbian America, and contained the largest pyramid in the world, at 2,800,000 cubic meters in volume (some 200,000 more than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt).[citation needed] Mirador was the first politically organized state in America, named the Kan Kingdom in ancient texts. There were 26 cities, all connected by Sacbeob (highways), which were several kilometers long, up to 40 meters wide, and 2 to 4 meters above the ground, paved with stucco, that are clearly distinguishable from the air in the most extensive virgin tropical rain forest in Mesoamerica.

The Classic period of Mesoamerican civilization corresponds to the height of the Maya civilization, and is represented by countless sites throughout Guatemala, although the largest concentration is in Petén. This period is characterized by heavy city-building, the development of independent city-states, and contact with other Mesoamerican cultures.

This lasted until around 900 AD, when the Classic Maya civilization collapsed. The Maya abandoned many of the cities of the central lowlands or were killed off by a drought-induced famine.[5] Scientists debate the cause of the Classic Maya Collapse, but gaining currency is the Drought Theory discovered by physical scientists studying lakebeds, ancient pollen, and other tangible evidence.[6] A series of prolonged droughts in what is otherwise a seasonal desert is thought to have decimated the Maya, who were primarily reliant upon regular rainfall.[citation needed] The Post-Classic period is represented by regional kingdoms such as the Itzá and Ko’woj in the Lakes area in Petén, and the Mam, Ki’ch’es, Kack’chiquel, Tz’utuh’il, Pokom’chí, Kek’chi and Chortí in the Highlands. These cities preserved many aspects of Mayan culture, but would never equal the size or power of the Classic cities.

Colonial

After arriving in what they named the New World, the Spanish mounted several expeditions to Guatemala, beginning in 1518. Before long, Spanish contact resulted in an epidemic that devastated native populations. Hernán Cortés, who had led the Spanish conquest of Mexico, granted a permit to Captains Gonzalo de Alvarado and his brother, Pedro de Alvarado, to conquer this land. Alvarado at first allied himself with the Cakchiquel nation to fight against their traditional rivals the Quiché nation. Alvarado later turned against the Cakchiquels, and eventually held the entire region under Spanish domination.

During the colonial period, Guatemala was a Captaincy General (Capitanía General de Yucatán) of Spain, and a part of New Spain (Mexico).[citation needed] It extended from the modern Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas (including the then separate administration of Soconusco) to Costa Rica. This region was not as rich in minerals (gold and silver) as Mexico and Peru, and was therefore not considered to be as important. Its main products were sugarcane, cocoa, blue añil dye, blue dye from cochineal insects, and precious woods used in artwork for churches and palaces in Spain.

The first Capital was named Tecpan Guatemala, founded in July 25, 1524 with the name of (Villa de Santiago de Guatemala) and was located near Iximché, the Cakchiquel’s capital city, It was moved to Ciudad Vieja on November 22, 1527, when the Cakchiquel attacked the city. On September 11, 1541 the city was flooded when the lagoon in the crater of the Agua Volcano collapsed due to heavy rains and earthquakes, and was moved 4 miles (6 km) to Antigua Guatemala, on the Panchoy Valley, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This City was destroyed by several earthquakes in 1773-1774, and the King of Spain, granted the authorization to move the Captaincy General, to the Ermita Valley, named after a Catholic Church to the Virgen de El Carmen, in its current location, founded in January 2, 1776.

Independence and 19th century

On September 15, 1821, the Captaincy-general of Guatemala (formed by Chiapas, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras) officially proclaimed its independence from Spain and its incorporation into the Mexican Empire. This region had been formally subject to New Spain throughout the colonial period, but as a practical matter was administered separately. All but Chiapas soon separated from Mexico after Agustín I from Mexico was forced to abdicate.

In this period the people of Guatemala was affected losing great part of his territory (67 %) in hand of the Mexicans.

The Guatemalan provinces formed the United Provinces of Central America, also called the Central American Federation (Federacion de Estados Centroamericanos). That federation dissolved in civil war from 1838 to 1840 (See: History of Central America). Guatemala’s Rafael Carrera was instrumental in leading the revolt against the federal government and breaking apart the Union. During this period a region of the Highlands, Los Altos, declared independence from Guatemala, but was annexed by Carrera, who dominated Guatemalan politics until 1865, backed by conservatives, large land owners and the church.

Guatemala’s “Liberal Revolution” came in 1871 under the leadership of Justo Rufino Barrios, who worked to modernize the country, improve trade, and introduce new crops and manufacturing. During this era coffee became an important crop for Guatemala. Barrios had ambitions of reuniting Central America and took the country to war in an unsuccessful attempt to attain this, losing his life on the battlefield in 1885 against forces in El Salvador.

1944 to Present

On July 4, 1944, Dictator Jorge Ubico Castañeda was forced to resign his office in response to a wave of protests and a general strike. His replacement, General Juan Federico Ponce Vaides, was later also forced out of office on October 20, 1944 by a coup d’état led by Major Francisco Javier Arana and Captain Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán. About 100 people were killed in the coup. The country was led by a military junta made up of Arana, Arbenz, and Jorge Toriello Garrido. The Junta called Guatemala’s first free election, which was won with a majority of 85 percent by the prominent writer and teacher Juan José Arévalo Bermejo, who had lived in exile in Argentina for 14 years. Arévalo was the first democratically elected president of Guatemala to fully complete the term for which he was elected. His “Christian Socialist” policies, inspired by the U.S. New Deal, were criticized by landowners and the upper class as “communist.”

This period was also the beginning of the Cold War between the U.S. and the USSR, which was to have a considerable influence on Guatemalan history. From the 1950s through the 1990s, the U.S. government directly supported Guatemala’s army with training, weapons, and money.

In 1954, Arévalo’s freely elected Guatemalan successor, Jacobo Arbenz, was overthrown by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a small group of Guatemalans (landowners, the old military caste, and the Catholic Church), after the government instituted Decree 900, which expropriated large tracts of land owned by the United Fruit Company, a U.S.-based banana merchant (Chiquita Banana). The CIA codename for the coup was Operation PBSUCCESS (it was the CIA’s second successful overthrow of a foreign government after the 1953 coup in Iran). Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas was installed as president in 1954 and ruled until he was assassinated by a member of his personal guard in 1957.

In the election that followed, General Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes assumed power. He is most celebrated for challenging the Mexican president to a gentleman’s duel on the bridge on the south border to end a feud on the subject of illegal fishing by Mexican boats on Guatemala’s Pacific coast, two of which were sunk by the Guatemalan Air Force. Ydigoras authorized the training of 5,000 anti-Castro Cubans in Guatemala. He also provided airstrips in the region of Petén for what later became the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961. Ydigoras’ government was ousted in 1963 when the Air Force attacked several military bases. The coup was led by his Defense Minister, Colonel Enrique Peralta Azurdia.

In 1966, Julio César Méndez Montenegro was elected president of Guatemala under the banner “Democratic Opening.” Mendez Montenegro was the candidate of the Revolutionary Party, a center-left party which had its origins in the post-Ubico era. It was during this time that rightist paramilitary organizations, such as the “White Hand” (Mano Blanca), and the Anticommunist Secret Army, (Ejército Secreto Anticomunista), were formed. Those organizations were the forerunners of the infamous “Death Squads.” Military advisers of The United States Army Special Forces (Green Berets) were sent to Guatemala to train troops and help transform its army into a modern counter-insurgency force, which eventually made it the most sophisticated in Central America.

In 1970, Colonel Carlos Manuel Arana Osorio was elected president. A new guerrilla movement entered the country from Mexico, into the Western Highlands in 1972. In the disputed election of 1974, General Kjell Lauguerud García defeated General Efraín Ríos Montt, a candidate of the Christian Democratic Party, who claimed that he had been cheated out of a victory through fraud. On February 4, 1976, a major earthquake destroyed several cities and caused more than 25,000 deaths. In 1978, in a fraudulent election, General Romeo Lucas García assumed power. The 1970s saw the birth of two new guerrilla organizations, The Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP) and the Organization of the People in Arms (ORPA), who began and intensified by the end of the seventies, guerrilla attacks that included urban and rural guerrilla warfare, mainly against the military and some of the civilian supporters of the army. In 1979, the United States president, Jimmy Carter, ordered a ban on all military aid to the Guatemalan Army because of the widespread and systematic abuse of human rights. Almost immediately, the Israeli Government took over supplying the Guatemalan Army with advisors, weapons and other military supplies.

In 1980, a group of Quiché Indians took over the Spanish Embassy to protest army massacres in the countryside. The Guatemalan government launched an assault that killed almost everyone inside as a result of a fire that consumed the building. The Guatemalan government claimed that the activists set the fire and immolated themselves.[7] However, the Spanish ambassador, who survived the fire, disputed this claim, claiming that the Guatemalan police intentionally killed almost everyone inside and set the fire to erase traces of their acts. As a result of this incident, the government of Spain broke diplomatic relations with Guatemala. This government was overthrown in 1982. General Efraín Ríos Montt was named President of the military junta, continuing the bloody campaign of torture, disappearances, and “scorched earth” warfare. The country became a pariah state internationally. Ríos Montt was overthrown by General Óscar Humberto Mejía Victores, who called for an election of a national constitutional assembly to write a new constitution, leading to a free election in 1986, which was won by Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo, the candidate of the Christian Democracy Party.

In 1982, the four Guerrilla groups, EGP, ORPA, FAR and PGT, merged and formed the URNG, influenced by the Salvadoran guerrilla FMLN, the Nicaraguan FSLN and Cuba’s Government, in order to become stronger. As a result of the Army’s “scorched earth” tactics in the countryside, more than 45,000 Guatemalans fled across the border to Mexico. The Mexican government placed the refugees in camps in Chiapas and Tabasco.

In 1992, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Rigoberta Menchú for her efforts to bring international attention to the government-sponsored genocide against the indigenous population.

The bloody 35-year old war of repression ended in 1996 with a peace accord between the guerrillas and the government of President Álvaro Arzú, negotiated by the United Nations through intense brokerage by nations such as Norway and Spain. Both sides made major concessions. The guerrilla fighters disarmed and received land to work. According to the U.N.-sponsored truth commission (styled the “Commission for Historical Clarification”), government forces and state-sponsored paramilitaries were responsible for over 93% of the human rights violations during the war.[8] During the first 10 years, the victims of the state-sponsored terror were primarily students, workers, professionals, and opposition figures, but in the last years they were thousands of mostly rural Mayan farmers and non-combatants. More than 450 Mayan villages were destroyed and over 1 million people became internal and external refugees. In certain areas, such as Baja Verapaz, the Truth Commission considered that the Guatemalan state engaged in an intentional policy of genocide against particular ethnic groups in the Civil War.[8] In 1999, U.S. president Bill Clinton stated that the United States was wrong to have provided support to Guatemalan military forces that took part in the brutal civilian killings.[9]

Since the peace accords, Guatemala has witnessed successive democratic elections, most recently in 2007. The past government has signed free trade agreements with the Caleb and the rest of Central America through CAFTA, and other agreements with Mexico and Panama. In 2007 elections were held in Guatemala. El Partido Nacional de la Esperanza and its president candidate Álvaro Colom won the presidency as well as the majority of the seats in congress.

Guatemala continues to rank as having one of the highest murder rates in the world with an extremely low conviction rate.

Geography Location: Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize
Geographic coordinates: 15 30 N, 90 15 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 108,890 sq km
land: 108,430 sq km
water: 460 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Tennessee
Land boundaries: total: 1,687 km
border countries: Belize 266 km, El Salvador 203 km, Honduras 256 km, Mexico 962 km
Coastline: 400 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands
Terrain: mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Volcan Tajumulco 4,211 m
Natural resources: petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 13.22%
permanent crops: 5.6%
other: 81.18% (2005)
Irrigated land: 1,300 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 111.3 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 2.01 cu km/yr (6%/13%/80%)
per capita: 160 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: numerous volcanoes in mountains, with occasional violent earthquakes; Caribbean coast extremely susceptible to hurricanes and other tropical storms
Environment – current issues: deforestation in the Peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution
Environment – international agreements: party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: no natural harbors on west coast
Politics Guatemala is a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Guatemala is both head of state and head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Congress of the Republic. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Foreign Relations

Álvaro Colom is the President of Guatemala as of 14 January 2008

People Population: 12,728,111 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 40.8% (male 2,641,179/female 2,556,397)
15-64 years: 55.5% (male 3,426,376/female 3,642,157)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 213,801/female 248,201) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 18.9 years
male: 18.3 years
female: 19.5 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.152% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 29.09 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 5.27 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.033 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.941 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.861 male(s)/female
total population: 0.974 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 29.77 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 32.26 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 27.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 69.69 years
male: 67.94 years
female: 71.52 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.7 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 1.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 78,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 5,800

Honduras: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This South American Country

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Honduras

Introduction Once part of Spain’s vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821. After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980’s, Honduras proved a haven for anti-Sandinista contras fighting the Marxist Nicaraguan Government and an ally to Salvadoran Government forces fighting leftist guerrillas. The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused approximately $2 billion in damage.
History Archaeologists have demonstrated that Honduras had a rich, multi-ethnic prehistory. An important part of that prehistory was the Mayan presence around the city of Copán in western Honduras, near the Guatemalan border. A major Mayan city flourished during the classic period (150-900) in that area. It has many carved inscriptions and stelae. The ancient kingdom, named Xukpi, existed from the fifth century to the early ninth century, with antecedents going back to at least the second century. The Mayan civilization began a marked decline in the ninth century, but there is evidence of people still living in and around the city until at least 1200.[citation needed] By the time the Spanish came to Honduras, the once great city-state of Copán was overrun by the jungle, and the Lencas, not the Mayans, were the main Amerindian people living in western Honduras.

On his fourth and final voyage to the New World in 1502, Christopher Columbus reached the Bay Islands on the coast of Honduras.[3] Landing near the modern town of Trujillo, in the vicinity of the Guaimoreto Lagoon. After the Spanish discovery, Honduras became part of Spain’s vast empire in the New World within the Kingdom of Guatemala. Trujillo and Gracias were the first city-capitals. The Spanish ruled what would become Honduras for approximately three centuries. During this period a clock which had been built by the Moors in the twelfth Century was transferred to the Cathedral of Comayagua in 1636: it is now the oldest functioning clock in the Americas.[citation needed]

Spain granted independence to Honduras, with the rest of the Central American provinces on September 15, 1821. In 1822 the United Central American Provinces decided to join the newly declared Mexican Empire of Iturbide. The Iturbide Empire was overthrown in 1823 and Central America separated from it, forming the Federal Republic of Central America, which disintegrated in 1838. As a result the states of the republic became independent nations.

Silver mining was a key factor in the Spanish conquest and settlement of Honduras, but has been only a minor part of the national economy in recent years. The American-owned Barger Mining Company was a major gold and silver producer, but shut down its large mine at San Juancito in 1954.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Honduras joined the Allied Nations on December 8, 1941. Less than a month later, on the first day of 1942, Honduras, along with twenty-five other governments, signed the Declaration by United Nations.

In 1969, Honduras and El Salvador fought what would become known as The Soccer War.[4] There had been border tensions between the two countries after Oswaldo López Arellano, a former president of Honduras, blamed the deteriorating economy on the large number of immigrants from El Salvador. From that point on, the relationship between the two countries grew acrimonious and reached a low when El Salvador met Honduras for a three-round football elimination match as a preliminary to the World Cup. Tensions escalated, and on July 14, 1969, the Salvadoran army launched an attack against Honduras. The Organization of American States negotiated a cease-fire which took effect on July 20, and brought about a withdrawal of Salvadoran troops in early August.[4]

Contributing factors in the conflict were a boundary dispute and the presence of thousands of Salvadorans living in Honduras illegally. After the week-long football war in July 1969, many Salvadoran families and workers were expelled. El Salvador had agreed on a truce to settle the boundary issue, but Honduras later paid war damage costs for expelled refugees.

During the 1980’s, the United States established a very large military presence in Honduras with the purpose of supporting the Iran-Contra Affair, anti-Sandinista Contreras fighting the Nicaraguan government, and to support the El Salvador military fighting against the FMLN guerrillas. The U.S. built the airbase known as Palmerola, near Comayagua, with a 10,000-foot (3,000 m) runway so that C5-A cargo planes could land there, rather than at the public airport in San Pedro Sula. The U.S. also built a training base near Trujillo which primarily trained Contras and the Salvadoran military, and in conjunction with this, developed Puerto Castilla into a modern port. The United States built many airstrips near the Nicaraguan border to help move supplies to the Contra forces fighting the Sandinista’s in Nicaragua. Though spared the bloody civil wars wracking its neighbors, the Honduran army quietly waged a campaign against leftists which included extra judicial killings and forced disappearances of political opponents by government-backed death squads, most notably Battalion 316.

Hurricane Fifi caused severe damage while skimming the northern coast of Honduras on September 18 and 19, 1974.

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch caused such massive and widespread loss that former Honduran President Carlos Roberto Flores claimed that fifty years of progress in the country were reversed. Mitch obliterated about 70% of the crops and an estimated 70-80% of the transportation infrastructure, including nearly all bridges and secondary roads. Across the country, 33,000 houses were destroyed, an additional 50,000 damaged, some 5,000 people killed, 12,000 injured, and total loss estimated at $3 billion USD.

Geography Location: Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua
Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 86 30 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 112,090 sq km
land: 111,890 sq km
water: 200 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly larger than Tennessee
Land boundaries: total: 1,520 km
border countries: Guatemala 256 km, El Salvador 342 km, Nicaragua 922 km
Coastline: 820 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: natural extension of territory or to 200 nm
Climate: subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains
Terrain: mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Cerro Las Minas 2,870 m
Natural resources: timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 9.53%
permanent crops: 3.21%
other: 87.26% (2005)
Irrigated land: 800 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 95.9 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.86 cu km/yr (8%/12%/80%)
per capita: 119 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast
Environment – current issues: urban population expanding; deforestation results from logging and the clearing of land for agricultural purposes; further land degradation and soil erosion hastened by uncontrolled development and improper land use practices such as farming of marginal lands; mining activities polluting Lago de Yojoa (the country’s largest source of fresh water), as well as several rivers and streams, with heavy metals
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast
People Population: 7,483,763
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 39.3% (male 1,500,949/female 1,439,084)
15-64 years: 57.2% (male 2,142,953/female 2,140,432)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 117,774/female 142,571) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 19.7 years
male: 19.4 years
female: 20.1 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.091% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 27.59 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 5.32 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.36 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.043 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.001 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.826 male(s)/female
total population: 1.011 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 25.21 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 28.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 69.35 years
male: 67.78 years
female: 70.99 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.48 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 1.8% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 63,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 4,100 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)
Nationality: noun: Honduran(s)
adjective: Honduran
Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%
Religions: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%
Languages: Spanish, Amerindian dialects
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 80%
male: 79.8%
female: 80.2%

OAS: A HISTORY OF CRIMES AGAINST LATIN AMERICA

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL NEWS AGENCY 247)

 

Guatemala ‘fire’ volcano spews new hot mud

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Guatemala ‘fire’ volcano spews new hot mud

Shine

A hot flow of mud, ash and gas swept down from Guatemala’s Fuego volcano yesterday, after a new explosion in the morning interrupted disaster workers’ efforts in pulling out bodies from the brown sludge known as a pyroclastic flow that engulfed the village of El Rodeo.

The morning eruption also halted rescue efforts on the southern slopes of Fuego, Spanish for “fire.” The national disaster agency raised the death toll to 38 from 25 on Sunday, but it was unclear whether more bodies had been found or whether more people died in yesterday’s eruption.

The day after the volcano’s eruption, its biggest in more than four decades, residents in the capital Guatemala City woke to sweep ash from rooftops and streets. Technicians assessed whether the runway at the international airport was clear enough to restart commercial flights.

“The landscape on the volcano is totally changed, everything is totally destroyed,” government volcanologist Gustavo Chigna said on local radio.

A witness near the volcano said more people had been evacuated beyond an 8-kilometer perimeter from the site after the new explosion.

Fuego, one of several active volcanoes in the Central American country, is near the colonial city of Antigua, a UNESCO world heritage site that has survived several volcanic eruptions. The latest activity from Fuego is mostly on the far side of the volcano, facing the Pacific coast.

Around 300 people have been injured since the eruption on Sunday that sent columns ash and smoke 10km into the sky, dusting several regions with ash.

National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) shared a photo showing the flows of gas and mud sweeping down a mountainside and across a broad valley, engulfing a small village.

The Institute of Volcanology said the eruption on Sunday ended after over 16 hours of activity. The eruption of the 3,763-meter volcano sent ash billowing over the surrounding area, turning plants and trees gray and blanketing streets, cars and people.

Farmers covered in ash fled for their lives as civil defense workers tried to relocate them to shelters during the event.

“This time we were saved; in another (eruption) no,” said Efrain Gonzalez, 52, sitting on the floor of a shelter in the city of Escuintla, where he arrived with his wife and 1-year-old daughter after fleeing the hard-hit El Rodeo community.

Gonzalez was overwhelmed with despair, as two more of his children, aged 10 and 4, are missing.

They were trapped in their home, which was flooded with hot mud that descended from the volcano.

Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales and his government declared three days of mourning and a state of emergency for Escuintla, Chimaltenango and Sacatepequez, which must still be ratified by Congress.

Hundreds of personnel from the police, Red Cross and military have been dispatched to support emergency operations, Morales said.

The eruption is the second major one this year from the peak, following another that subsided at the beginning of February after sending ash towering 1.7km into the sky.

Guatemala volcano: Dozens die as Fuego volcano erupts

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Guatemala volcano: Dozens die as Fuego volcano erupts

Fuego volcano, GuatemalaImage copyrightGUATEMALA GOVERNMENT
Image captionThis eruption of Fuego is the biggest since 1974, experts say

Twenty-five people have been killed and hundreds injured after Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted, officials say.

The volcano, about 40km (25 miles) south-west of the capital Guatemala City, has been spewing rock, black smoke and ash into the sky.

The National Disaster Management Agency (Conred) said a river of lava hit the village of El Rodeo, destroying houses and burning people inside.

In Guatemala City, La Aurora airport has been closed due to ash.

President Jimmy Morales said a national emergency response had been launched.

“We think that there could be a state of devastation in at least three areas,” President Morales said.

This eruption is the biggest since 1974, according to local experts.

The Conred head Sergio Cabañas told a local radio station that a river of lava had changed course towards El Rodeo.

“It’s a river of lava that overflowed its banks and affected the El Rodeo village. There are injured, burned and dead people.

“Unfortunately El Rodeo was buried and we haven’t been able to reach the La Libertad village because of the lava and maybe there are people that died there too.”

Police carry a wounded man in El Rodeo villageImage copyrightAFP/GETTY
Image captionHundreds have been wounded by the eruption

Mr Cabañas later said the dead included a member of his agency’s staff.

Several children are among those confirmed dead.

Videos published by local media show bodies lying on top of a lava flow and rescuers attending to people covered in ash.

woman rests at a temporary shelterImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThousands have been evacuated

One woman told the Diario de Centroamerica that lava had poured through corn fields and she thought more people may have died.

“Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried,” Consuelo Hernandez said.

A total of about 1.7 million people have been affected by the eruption, the Guatemalan government says.

Officials have advised citizens to wear masks due to falling ash, which has been raining down in four of Guatemala’s administrative regions.

Bikes covered in ashImage copyrightAFP/GETTY
Image captionFalling ash has coated streets
man covers faceImage copyrightAFP/GETTY
Image captionOfficials have advised people to wear masks

A disaster authority spokesman said a change in wind direction was to blame for the volcanic ash falling on parts of the capital.

The Guatemalan military said it was providing assistance from rescue operations to setting up temporary shelters and clearing volcanic ash from La Aurora airport’s runway.

Latin America & Caribbean

Immigrant ‘caravan’ heading to US-Mexico

( THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(Trump has never cared about facts, laws, or reality, he has spent a lifetime making up his own.)

Immigrant ‘caravan’ heading to US-Mexico border sparks Trump’s concern

Washington (CNN)On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump referenced an impending series of immigrant ‘caravans’ moving through Mexico to spark his call for Congress to pass strict border laws.

“Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. ‘Caravans’ coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning.
Trump appears to be referring to a migrant caravan assembled by the group Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People without Borders), which was discussed on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” shortly before he published his tweet. It’s not known if the President watched the specific segment, but he indirectly referenced claims mentioned in an on-air interview with a Border Patrol union representative.
While Trump said “no deal” for the DACA program, it is still operational. Federal courts have issued restraining orders keeping it active despite the expiration of the administration’s six-month deadline for Congress to push through a DACA deal.
It is not clear what the President was referring to when tweeting about “big flows” of individuals taking advantage of DACA, since the program is not accepting new applications right now.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

The ‘caravan’

Alex Mensing, one of the US collaborators who works for Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a caravan of 1,100 people, started in the city of Tapachula, which is located in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, and borders Guatemala. The caravan is currently in Oaxaca, Mexico, about 420 miles from their starting point. Mensing said the migrants would turn themselves in and request asylum.
Pueblo Sin Fronteras said they would not respond to Trump’s tweet, but stated that the refugee caravan “is a movement made of people who were forced to flee their countries of origin due to persecution and violence.”
Mensing said the caravan’s primary goal is to “flee Central America” and seek asylum either within Mexico or the United States. About four or five different immigration rights groups are working with the asylum seekers, informing and preparing them on their journey to seek refuge.
This is the fifth year the group has done the caravan.
Two caravans were mobilized in 2017 with fewer people and many of their cases have yet to be resolved. Out of the 200 people who marched with the caravan, only 3 were successfully given asylum in the US.
Luis Videgaray Caso, Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs, tweeted a response to today’s statements by President Trump.
“Every day Mexico and the US work together on migration throughout the region. Facts clearly reflect this,” he said. “An inaccurate news report should not serve to this question cooperation. Upholding human dignity and rights is not at odds with the rule of law. Happy Easter.”

Colts’ Edwin Jackson killed by drunk driver illegally in U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ESPN)

 

Colts’ Edwin Jackson killed by driver illegally in U.S.

INDIANAPOLIS — The suspected drunken driver accused of hitting and killing Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson has been living in the country illegally and did not have a driver’s license, the Indiana State Police announced Monday.

The driver of the truck that killed Jackson and ride-sharing operator Jeffrey Monroe had been using the alias Alex Cabrera Gonsales, the police said in a release. Gonsales’ given name is Manuel Orrego-Savala, and he is a citizen of Guatemala. Orrego-Savala had been deported in 2007 and 2009.

Monroe and Jackson were stopped on the side of Interstate 70 in Indianapolis when they were hit early Sunday morning.

Orrego-Savala, 37, was arrested after trying to flee the scene on foot, according to the Indiana State Police. Orrego-Savala was intoxicated, according to police. He is currently being held in the Marion County (Indiana) jail while the police work with U.S. federal immigration officials. Investigators are also working with the prosecutor’s office to file criminal charges.

Jackson and Monroe, of Avon, were on the side of the interstate when Monroe got out of the car to help Jackson, who was sick. Orrego-Savala, who was driving a Ford F-150 truck, drove onto the emergency shoulder and hit the rear of the car, striking both Jackson and Monroe, with one of the bodies landing in the center lane of I-70, according to the police.

State trooper Ty Mays, who was in the area, reported to the scene after seeing the accident on the side of the road. In the process of slowing down, he hit the body of the victim who was in the center lane.

Monroe and Jackson were pronounced dead at the scene by the Marion County Coroner’s Office. Monroe was 54; Jackson was 26.

“We were heartbroken to hear the news of Edwin Jackson’s passing,” the Colts said in a statement. “Edwin was loved by all in the Colts organization. We admired his outgoing personality, competitive spirit and hard-working mentality. He was well-respected among all with whom he crossed paths, and he will be greatly missed in our locker room and throughout our entire organization.

“We also understand that another person lost his life in the accident, only adding to our sorrow on this day. We are shocked and saddened by this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both men during this difficult time.”

Guatemala Played A Key Role In The Jewish State’s Creation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Why a small Central American nation became a trailblazer on Jerusalem

Guatemala played a key role in the Jewish state’s creation and has enjoyed Israeli security assistance ever since. It doesn’t hurt that its leader is deeply religious

Raphael Ahren

Guatemala's new ambassador to Israel, Dr. Juan Garcia Granados leaving the President's Residence in Jerusalem after presenting his credentials, July 1955 (Moshe Pridan/GPO)

Guatemala’s new ambassador to Israel, Dr. Juan Garcia Granados leaving the President’s Residence in Jerusalem after presenting his credentials, July 1955 (Moshe Pridan/GPO)

On Sunday, Guatemala became the first country after the US to announce its intention to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move seen as tantamount to recognizing the city as Israel’s capital, though President Jimmy Morales’s statement included no explicit recognition.

Predictably, the Central American nation’s decision was castigated by the Palestinians and other Arab states and hailed in Israel as an act of deep friendship that marked the beginning of a new trend. Neighbor Honduras is said to be next in line. Like Guatemala, it also voted last week against the United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning the US’s December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there.

Other countries — Togo, Paraguay, Romania, Slovakia — are also said to be considering following in Guatemala’s footsteps in bucking decades-old diplomatic dogma to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

But what prompted a relatively small nation far removed from the Middle East and its problems to be the first to take the plunge after the US?

There are several reasons for Guatemala’s dramatic step. The country’s well-established historic friendship with Israel and ongoing deep security and trade ties are one key part of the story. The personal character of the country’s current leader is the other.

Seventy years ago, Guatemala’s ambassador to the UN, Dr. Jorge Garcia Granados, a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, played a crucial role in convincing Latin American countries to vote in favor of General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state.

File photo of the vote on the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine or United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 on November 29, 1947 (photo credit: Israeli Government Press Office)

The vote on the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine or United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 on November 29, 1947. (Israeli Government Press Office/File)

“It could be that without Guatemala, the resolution on that fateful day would not have passed, and history would be very different,” Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told Morales during his November 2016 visit to Israel.

At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recalled that he had grown up in Jerusalem near a street named after Morales’s country. “In just about every town in Israel there is a Guatemala Street because we remember Guatemala’s friendship and the friendship and leadership of your UN ambassador at the time of the decision on the Partition Resolution, and so Guatemala was etched into our hearts then,” he said.

Guatemala was one of the first countries to recognize the nascent State of Israel in 1948, and the friendship has remained strong ever since.

Telegrams of recognition of the State of Israel sent by Guatemala, Finland and Romania (courtesy GPO)

In the 1970s, Israel was said to have assisted the military juntas ruling Guatemala a great deal in the area of counterinsurgency, providing them with advice and equipment.

“Israeli-Guatemalan military cooperation began in 1971, during the presidency of Col. Carlos Arana Osario,” political scientist Cheryl Rubenberg wrote in a 1986 article on bilateral relations.

“Then the Guatemalan chief of staff, Kjell Laugerud Garcia, visited Israel and met with Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and other Israeli military officials. Laugerud Garcia expressed Guatemala’s interest in procuring armaments and military communications equipment. Later that year, the two countries signed their first cooperation agreement, though specifics were not made public,” she wrote.

Guatemala saw the Jewish state “as the world’s foremost practitioner of counterinsurgency” and looked to Jerusalem for expertise and arms, according to Rubenberg. “Israeli assistance began in 1971, but it took on increased importance after 1977, when the Guatemalan generals rejected US military aid in response to Carter administration pressures to remedy their gross human rights violations.”

Later that year, Israeli president Ephraim Katzir spent a week in Guatemala City, where he signed an agreement on military assistance.

Three years later, the Knesset passed a law declaring that united Jerusalem was Israel’s capital, leading the Security Council to call on all countries to withdraw their embassies from the city. Guatemala heeded the call and moved its embassy to Herzliya.

Relations with Israel remained strong, however. At least 300 Israeli security “advisers” were said to have operated in Guatemala in the early 1980s. “Israel is known to have intelligence teams, security and communications specialists, and military training personnel in Guatemala,” The New York Times reported at the time, though Israeli diplomats denied such claims.

Ties were also strong in the fields of civilian technology and tourism, among others.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President of Guatemala Otto Pérez Molina at Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem. December 9, 2013. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

In December 2013, Otto Fernando Perez Molina became the first president of Guatemala to visit Israel. “Guatemala did participate in the foundation of Israel, so that has led the foundations for a tradition and the unity between our two peoples,” he told Netanyahu at the time.

Fast forward to 2015, when Morales — a former comedian who’d never held political office — won the country’s presidential elections with 67 percent of the votes. Morales, a devout Evangelical, has been called “the Donald Trump of Guatemala.” In 2016, Guatemala received nearly $300 million in aid from the US.

Morales, who called his country’s relationship with Israel “excellent,” has been supportive of many of the current US administration’s policies, including Trump’s plan to build a border wall with Mexico, and, of course, his plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales (R) and wife Gilda Marroquin visit the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem on November 28, 2016. (AFP/Gali Tibbon)

On his visit to Israel last year — during which he received an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem — he announced his hope to strengthen bilateral cooperation in many fields.

“Guatemala has a special relationship with Israel, and we know we can continue to work together: in partnership and hand in hand,” he told President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem. “During our visit we hope we will be able to enjoy Israel’s rich culture and history, and learn from you how to improve in the areas of agriculture, husbandry, and technology — areas in which Israel excels.”

READ MORE:

Guatemala announces it will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

Guatemala announces it will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Last Updated Dec 25, 2017 10:55 AM EST

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemala’s president announced on Christmas Eve that the Central American country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, becoming the first nation to follow the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump in ordering the change.

Guatemala was one of nine nations that voted with the United States and Israel on Thursday when the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a non-binding resolution denouncing Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Trump didn’t set any timetable for moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and neither did Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales.

In a post on his official Facebook account Sunday, Morales said that after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he decided to instruct Guatemala’s foreign ministry to move the embassy.

https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/embed/video/?v=59a30cbcf777ad3bb4122d780e977e93265d8276#xVf5j6M2FP5XLH7oIcUEAgESaVW1s92j3Z1OO0dbLVVksAmegE1tk2NH%2Bd%2F7DCSZTHfVqodWmhEMfuf3vvf85sFZc8qkM39waKuI4VI4cz%2BajZy62f7EitfUmTueENs6WJP78Cbc0mTyKnq9IK%2FM2zeLeMN%2BepE7I8eUbZ0JwisQL41p9Dwdp%2BM804JtdODCC9cGzOduLut0XLZZOubpWKXjiefH6difwBv8JrOgKMLYxx4jCQ4nJMaJfcumJGAzSuJiOk3HR2%2FpOAq9bRB56TjLksT34oBEAfFBnGbRLJ%2FkjEDAUdj7mExwbmpsVFs3rVhLw%2FCSKMWMwX4YxXE8xYM9975Z2rRkw3NBagZpXXxzjW5KrtFbqQQX9lir3CJXVto%2BMm4AQRD1Pc8bOQ232AV3fPtD9px7oVdag7vG2rIaI6dVB7g6tHhDKNZGMVKDeXcArwesZpQTeDTbp4j5kFYwTYJgFoWTPsnFxc3bxY1N8vbyDpJcvOyTXPRJzhbe35Vz66BNnP3IBrxYE8WJMIumlIJ9NGFKF%2B%2BTn%2FUPFxe7788SfqL%2FCdPvAvhgaoZkFTMfze3CVzR8fr%2F272dvPpzbYOATJtdHcMxOmbo5yycGhp8yyqKfs7Zc327WLDll1CkdcnioieAF02YuALa9Peubu5klQRS4jC5ZkWtXMJOOpaAM5Gk6%2Foq0pnwGiX5GeNE8W3ue%2F5muYAo8e%2BgeV4oVfLt%2FyACT1b7%2F9oJX7IqYcj9A8m%2FR8BfxLHLrJnxi%2FpRSEdb7Y5GGquB16ZIVqQkvaZ%2FV%2B3TcW5jPYXaweUEqzfZurms7gg7GXDB2sgwF%2BBuW%2BV9Y1oaprpZHw3tb1Q0v%2BHlVbVGPVd02P65eToPbRRiuTlXtlP7ETCo3opKE%2Fn%2BchCqEnq3C026T5uOtxi5%2Frds78stip37%2FcKtZ7U%2FYZ%2BD%2B2GTB8iyPyVkx5K%2FB7d3di1VVvWlPmQTLT1OKyaEUELZuM50rnjF6IYVhoqvGmrONHSFOR8hHQsrp2TlyuI48gLdQRORwIbKzg2%2B3gMLZlzCBXrdmh6%2Bd56ZRTMO1KdqqGvVLiOHGunVu3UsXyTVTm5JVtozVDuXdYBEadbl9rtF3TLWaVKxGlOVc273lMZ79%2FrHZbM6x7PzodNwKfO4AHxz0y4HG9wf7%2BGA%2FHdsbv2qh1s4%2F0bfxtf0VOQuTyCchLvLJDIfTaYCzfMJwEcwIZZkf%2B7PMGUChbAUaNyXrM0eEgkOYF%2F2uhjTZacQN2vCqQnwppGIIxi9SrGY11AwRdCu4YRRddgoa2a0HGXlAFJQ1SOdyCWLWoiweYUs0eq0VYRUgnpOGG1K56LUAq3AX4IwLCtmDupZVa7VHyJ8kSAyuKBOyFTk4NxD%2FAYcRWKoqqwdxp44lQBfyWnLqpg76rtUGwYLFIMRWGMVZHzS1UVviSGU6g7futYs2JQx1FEyRhE9KI5LBngnK1EVvyb1UaGgACNIqavcAbKNkLUtGD4Q7Mqwz%2BwF6AW3hSpNXFdk5c%2BhuKEG%2BsnsgNA3X3wrbNPTQNUTBrluxr%2BEOlMou0e%2BcwKMkp1mOI5IQ7PtsgmfUn2C4GJOCJcTzMs%2F57YnqZbd7vnMGFqMvSk4BVpTtAEH25SP5blMPszwvMi%2FCLGYUh9EsxjM%2FKvAsimI%2F8aIwCiyzBpWrNnveDSzHzhUMsUymyA%2FnYQw%2FJ7GboS%2BXLQjXpCJQrr6wJ%2BrV0A4dlYB1ROsd4sCsjjm2asdmeGS0H4N5P3gWw1c4pzAq8sMxZXoFO7hjB8lztraRwntDlgcBC8oC%2BG0ta3i%2B4nZOvXMaWQGdc20Bst%2BvWd7%2Fb3M66Q8GO0DhBijLIYsNyw6bf48piVhGwgjH04R%2BrG6DQl%2Buxz5azdTgg4huCGSra%2FBrTQdBADyqeM1h8oZHaK5lq%2FIOnAxGFWmGSAfbAxM6pGq5VKQpef4922mb9r3MXkBhTD9u4K8LKNlSqp1FUFDorO4VZmHTwmZxpWTBc85EfvhKxO6av7d1WDLoB2ULtmQvlWybTsI25M6CahipeFtb8jfWSvUoNhstSDNhCwan1PZO13S3%2F%2FuAttz4Sy%2F2LR0f%2BYyPfMbcYMtnbPkMf2g88BlzgXs%2BYyNPvo8uz4sz%2F69dcP2KKXm8VbuV4ErqbmIP7LLjHoDe%2FwE%3D

Guatemala and Israel have long had close ties, especially in security matters and Israeli arms sales to Guatemala.

No other country has their embassy for Israel in Jerusalem, though the Czech Republic has said it is considering such a move.

Trump upended decades of U.S. policy with his Dec. 6 announcement that he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Though Trump said he was merely recognizing reality and not prejudging negotiations on the future borders of the city, Palestinians saw the move as siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Mr. Trump said in his announcement.

For more than two decades, Mr. Trump said that previous presidents had signed a waiver to delay moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but said that “we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.”

“While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver,” he said. “Today, I am delivering.”

Mr. Trump said that he also directed the State Department to begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but he will sign a waiver that will delay the move in order to avoid significant funding cuts. Officials said that it was not possible to move the embassy to Jerusalem immediately, however, and it could take “a matter of some years.”

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim the city’s eastern sector, which was captured by Israel in 1967 and is home to sensitive religious Jewish, Muslim and Christian sites. Many governments have long said that the fate of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations.

Trump’s announcement has set off weeks of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces that have left 12 Palestinians dead.

Netanyahu has predicted others would follow the U.S. lead. He has made great efforts to reach out to Latin America in recent years as part of a campaign to counter longstanding support for the Palestinians at the United Nations.

In remarks at his weekly meeting of the Likud party faction in the Knessert, Netanyahu thanked Guatemala’s president.

“God bless you, my friend, President Jimmy Morales, God bless both our countries, Israel and Guatemala,” Netanyahu said.

The resolution passed by the General Assembly declared the U.S. action on Jerusalem “null and void.” The 128-9 vote was a victory for Palestinians, but fell short of the total they had predicted. Thirty-five nations abstained and 21 stayed away from the vote.

Palestinians’ foreign ministry blasted Guatemala’s move, calling the action “shameful,” according to Agence France-Presse.

“It’s a shameful and illegal act that goes totally against the wishes of church leaders in Jerusalem,” the ministry said in a statement.

Jordan’s minister of foreign affairs also said on Twitter that his country rejects the move.

We reject  decision to move embassy to & condemn it as absurd provocation, violation of international law. Occupied Jerusalem is capital of  state which must be established on June 4 1967 lines on basis of 2-state solution as only path to peace

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Mexican authorities find 112 migrants huddled in back of truck

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

Mexican authorities find 112 migrants huddled in back of truck

Mexican authorities discovered 112 migrants, including four babies, huddled alive in the back of a truck as it traveled along a highway in the country’s south, the attorney general’s office said on Sunday.

The truck, which officials said had ventilation and water for the passengers, was intercepted on a highway that connects the southern states of Chiapas and neighboring Tabasco and the driver was arrested.

Every year, thousands of migrants, mostly Central Americans, escaping from poverty and violence, make their way north through Mexico in hopes of reaching the United States.

The attorney general’s office said in a statement that 23 minors were among the immigrants from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Ecuador, found in the back of the truck.

The migrants were awaiting medical checkups.

(Reporting by Noe Torres and Anthony Esposito; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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