• Costa Rica Real Estate

Guatemala Celebrates Decade of ‘Peace’

January 5, 2007

GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemalans on Dec. 29 commemorated the 10th anniversary of the peace accords between the government and leftist guerrillas, although the causes that sparked the 1960-1996 civil war – such as violence and poverty – are still prevalent in this northernmost Central American nation.

“To speak of peace the way things are is to ridicule the people, because every day 15 dead bodies appear and poverty affects 70% of the population,” said former guerrilla commander Pablo Monsanto, a signatory of the 1996 peace accords.

Monsanto added: “I believe the balance of these 10 years is absolutely negative. Guatemala is worse off now than it was during the fighting because violence has increased, health is badly cared for and justice is not done.”

Gen. Otto Perez, who signed the accords as the army’s representative, claims there has been progress on a social level, in terms of freedom of expression and association, and in the dismantling of structures that began the civil war. However, he agreed with Monsanto that crime and violence are worse now than during the war, while injustice, inequality and poverty continue to afflict Guatemalans.

According to official statistics, violence claimed 6,034 lives in 2006, or an average of 15 every day.

Guatemalan Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada said during a service at the capital’s Roman Catholic cathedral, attended by President Oscar Berger, that the causes of the conflict still exist.

“To avoid any extremism and to consolidate a true peace, nothing can be better than restoring dignity to those suffering marginalization, contempt and poverty,” the prelate said.

At a subsequent event in the National Palace of Culture, Berger said that during the past 10 years Guatemala has made significant strides in some respects such as in consolidating its democracy, fighting racism and discrimination, and stimulating open participation in politics.

Nonetheless, he admitted that great challenges still lie ahead, such as building a more just and tolerant society without exclusions and with a true culture of peace.

Berger’s address was briefly interrupted by a group of young people who stood up and shouted slogans including “murderous army” and “with hunger, there’s no peace” before leaving the hall.

The celebration of the 10th anniversary of signing the peace accord that put an end to a war that left some 200,000 dead began early morning Dec. 29 with a Maya ceremony led by indigenous spiritual guides.

The Maya were among those most brutalized during the country’s civil war.

 

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Pic of the Day: Overlooking Guanacaste from Cocos Beach
Guanacaste
3 views
Guanacaste
3 views

Pic of the Day: Overlooking Guanacaste from Cocos Beach

Alejandro Zúñiga - October 14, 2019

For a good indicator of how tourism to Guanacaste has grown in recent years, one simply needs to see how…

Saprissa in shambles: ‘S’ suffers another blowout
Costa Rica
1 views
Costa Rica
1 views

Saprissa in shambles: ‘S’ suffers another blowout

AFP and The Tico Times - October 14, 2019

Deportivo Saprissa suffered another loss, falling 4-0 against C.S. Herediano in the ongoing Apertura tournament that Alajuelense leads with ease.…

US ‘medical tourists’ seek cheap health care abroad
Costa Rica
15 views
Costa Rica
15 views

US ‘medical tourists’ seek cheap health care abroad

Javier Tovar / AFP - October 14, 2019

When Veronica Merrill decided to undergo stomach surgery for weight loss, she found two options: pay $12,000 at home in…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!