Thursday, April 2, 2009

Drug traffickers sought in Guatemala bus killings

GUATEMALA CITY -- Investigators in Guatemala announced Tuesday that a drug gang was responsible for the grisly killings of 15 Nicaraguans and a Dutch man aboard a bus in November.

United Nations investigators and Guatemalan police said they are looking for a total of 10 suspects and have already arrested one man who allegedly participated in killing the foreigners and then burning the bus.

U.N. anti-crime commissioner Carlos Castresana said three of the suspects are former police officers. Castresana's commission is aiding in the investigation.

Investigators say the drug gang was apparently looking for a rival trafficker's drug shipment when they stopped the bus in eastern Guatemala.

See rest of the story here.

Milestone Toward Ending River Blindness In The Western Hemisphere By 2012: Escuintla, Guatemala Biggest Endemic Area Yet To Stop Transmission

An international team of researchers led by Rodrigo Gonzalez of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala reports that the transmission of onchocerciasis or river blindness has been broken in Escuintla, Guatemala, one of the largest endemic areas in the Western Hemisphere to date to stop the transmission of the parasitic disease.

The findings, which detail the lack of ocular lesions and the absence of infections in school children as well as in the black fly which spreads the disease, are published March 31st in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Escuintla is now the second of four Guatemalan areas to have stopped the transmission of river blindness.

"In a few short years-with continued hard work and increased political will-river blindness will never threaten the Americas again," said co-author Frank Richards, MD, of the Carter Center's River Blindness Program. "Ending transmission in Escuintla is an important victory in the campaign to eliminate this devastating disease."

Read the rest at Medical News Today.

Nobel Prize Winner, Rigoberta Menchu coming to Dartmouth

DARTMOUTH—A Nobel Peace Prize winner who has campaigned for peasant workers’ rights in her native Guatemala will talk about human rights Monday at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Rigoberta MenchĂș Tum was a teenager when she began fighting for social reform and women’s rights, and she later pushed for better working conditions for farmers after her father, mother and brother were killed by an area guerilla army, according to the Nobel Prize organization. In 1983, she wrote a book about her life that was translated into 12 languages.

See the rest of the story here.

Research and Markets: Guatemala - Telecoms Mobile and Broadband

DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of the "Guatemala - Telecoms Mobile and Broadband" report to their offering.

Guatemala is the largest telecom market in Central America, but has been held back by poverty, crime, and corruption. Guatemala's social development indicators, such as infant mortality and illiteracy, are among the worst in Latin America. While Guatemala's capital city enjoys a modern telecom network, the rest of the country's fixed-line infrastructure is inadequate and antiquated. Nevertheless, Guatemala's mobile penetration is remarkably high considering the country's extremely low GDP per capita. Mobile telephony is the fastest growing market by far; in fact, there are more than seven times as many mobile phones as fixed lines in service. This report provides an overview of the country's telecom sector accompanied by relevant statistics and analyses.

Story and contact info here.

USDA Amends GSM-102 Credit Guarantees for Export Sale to Central America Region

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2009 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today amends the availability of the following credit guarantees for sales of U.S. agricultural commodities under the Commodity Credit Corporation's Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102) for fiscal year 2009.

  • Additional Amount Available: $200 million
  • Geographical Area: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
With today’s announcement, a total of $550 million has been made available in the Central America Region during the fiscal year 2009.

The GSM-102 program helps ensure that credit is available to finance commercial exports of U.S. agricultural products to developing countries, while providing competitive credit terms in these countries. Under this program, the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) reduces the financial risk to lenders by guaranteeing payments due from approved foreign banks to exporters or financial institutions in the United States.

See rest of the story and the data here.