Friday, April 10, 2009

Paving of Polochic Road to Begin

Paving is finally set to get underway on the 185 km road from San Juan, Tactic, down the Polochic Valley, to El Estor, and then to Sumaché, Río Dulce. The project planning and arrangement of financing has been underway for seven years.

This road runs from Tactic, through Tamahú, San Miguel Tucurú, Santa Catalina La Tinta, Panzós y Senahú, El Estor, Izabal, to Sumaché.

Thousands of residents in those towns and many other small villages along the way will benefit.

The project will begin on May 20th and will be executed in five phases:

  • Phase 1: From the crossroads at San Julián, Tactic to the Chascó bridge at Santa Catalina La Tinta.
  • Phase 2: From the Chasco bridge to Panzós.
  • Phase 3: From Panzós to El Estor.
  • Phase 4: El Estor to Sumaché, Río Dulce
  • Phase 5: From the crossroads at Telemán, Panzós, to Senahú.

The project's cost is more than U.S. $150 million and is being financed by the Japanese government.

Guatemalan ambassador: Mexican cartels moving to border area to avoid crackdown

Mexican drug cartels are moving to the area bordering Guatemala and El Salvador to avoid anti-drug measures, Guatemalan ambassador to Mexico said Wednesday.

Mexico narcotraffickers, operating in Guatemala's borders with other Central American countries, are transferring to avoid harsh crackdown posed by the Mexican government, Ambassador Jose Luis Chea Urruela said.

Mexican cartels have dominated the border region, the ambassador said.

Drug traffickers are moving to neighboring countries for a less hostile environment, he added.

Mexican drug cartels, the most powerful in the region, have entered Guatemala to take full control of the business, from drug production to transportation and final sales, he said.

See the rest of the story here.

Pre-Paid Bus System Coming

Due to the escalation of violence and extortion in the country, mostly attacks on urban transport, the Ministry of Finance announced in the Official Gazette, Government Agreement 103-2009, which awards $35 million to the Asociación de Empresas de Autobuses Urbanos to implement a pre-paid system.

Article 3 of that agreement allows tge Ministry of Finance to disburse U.S. $35 million from the general budget of state expenses in fiscal year 2009 to urban transport on the condition that it is used correctly and specifically to implement the pre-paid system.

Gomez explained that pre-paid cards should be sold at about 800 to 1,000 locations and that means a big investment.

As part of the process, the union will issue cards free to all users of urban transport at a cost of about $4 million since each card has a cost of $1.50.

The union reported that it is working on a loan of U.S. $360 million with a Brazilian bank to upgrade the fleet of buses. "We want top quality installations not just wires to install the prepaid system," said Gomez.

Gomez noted that the implementation of the electronic card could take between six months and one year. "Many state institutions such as the city, the central government, the Directorate General for Transport, and others, must work hand in hand in this task," explained the president of the guild.