Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rigoberta Menchú Founds Own Political Party

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, indigenous activist Rigoberta Menchú, began the process today of creating her own political party "Winaq" for the general election in 2011.

Menchú, whose ethnicity is Quiche, signed the papers at the Department of Political Organizations of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) which legalized Winaq as a committee for the creation of the political party.

The indigenous leader explained that after this step the TSE must authorize the necessary documents to create the party that her followers have "wanted and dreamed of".

"Today we are legally recognized and will seek the participation of citizens throughout the national territory," she added.

Menchu said they want to build a party that responds to the people and the indigenous peoples "because politicians often create an organization in the capital, deal only with petty issues, and only remember the community when there are elections."

"We are going to be the difference," said the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who participated in 2007 for the first time as a presidential candidate, unsuccessfully, with the party "Encounter for Guatemala, which is headed by the leftist congresswoman Ninth Montenegro.

According to the ethnic leader, traditional parties are "in crisis" because "they only remember our people when there are elections, but have not secured the dignity of indigenous peoples." She went on to say, "the goal is to make a party where they see and feel real ethnic equity and civil rights in Guatemala, where many people have no awareness of those rights and so live as slaves We have an obligation to raise these hopes that were established in the Peace Accords signed in 1996."

Menchú clarified that for now is not the time to discuss whether to participate as a presidential candidate in general elections in 2011. "None of those in the executive committee (24 members) is a candidate until it is decided at the general assembly," she said.

"The most important thing now is that we are authorized to initiate and seek membership in the 22 departments that make up the country, she concluded.

Tourism on the Rise According to Inguat

The number of foreign visitors rose 5.6 percent in February, with a flow of 143,869 foreigners entering the country, compared to 138,136 reported in February of 2008, according to the Guatemalan Institute of Tourism (Inguat).

The cumulative increase in the first two months of the year is 5.1 percent with an inflow of 321,065 foreigners, while in 2008 it was 305,500.

The amount of foreign currency increased by 2.6 percent in February, a cumulative growth of 3.4 percent with U.S. $214.43 million accumulated.

The tourism sector in the country, state and private, is preparing to improve tourism to celebrate Easter this April, one of the highest tourism seasons of the year in the country, said Inguat spokeswoman, Valentina Flores .

Another Cold Front

A cold front stalled over Mexico should bring reduced temperatures for the weekend, mainly in the higher elevations and in Northwestern Guatemala.

Pollo Campero Opens in Cherrydale, South Carolina

Guatemala native Tony Zimeri brought a little taste of home to the Upstate when he opened Pollo Campero in the Cherrydale area a few months ago.

The franchised restaurant got its start four decades ago in Guatemala and become known for its signature fried chicken. The taste has since grown around the world and yet has stayed close to home.

According to Walter Zimeri, co-owner and general manager (and Tony's son), every batch of breading for the fried chicken is tested in Guatemala to ensure that it adheres to the restaurant's time-tested standards.

"They have testers in Guatemala that test the ingredients in the breading, and then they cook the chicken and have a taste test on the breading to make sure it's the exact product they've been serving the last 40 years," he said.

"They're very particular about their fried chicken because that's how they built their name."

Read the rest in the Greenville News

Quetzal Exchange Rate Reaches 8.18

The banking system sold quetzales today at a price ranging from Q8.12 to Q8.18. This means the quetzal has depreciated a bit more against the U.S. dollar.

Although the buying and selling varies in each bank, the difference is only two to three points. The benchmark price at the Bank of Guatemala yesterday was Q8.08.

At the meeting of the Monetary Board last Wednesday, the Banguat expressed concern about the movement, noting the exchange rate and approving the application of additional mechanisms to intervene in the behavior of the currency.