Return to homeLonely Planet: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/dest/cam/gua.htm
USSD: https://www.state.gov/p/wha/ci/gt/ Guatemala is about the size of Ohio. It
has three climates: tierra caliente, tierra fria, and tierra
(NG, 6/1988, p.783)(SFC, 11/28/03, p.C2)
The word Guatemala is a Spanish corruption of the Mayan word
Quauhlemallan meaning land of many trees.
(SFEM, 6/13/99, p.8)
Native groups include the Cakchiquel, Quiche of the highlands
and the Tzotzil of Zinacantan.
(SFC, 5/27/97, p.A12)(AM, 7/97, p.52) 1600BC-1250BC An earthen mound on
the southern Mexico-Guatemala border dated to this period and was
considered part of a chiefdom center of the Mokaya people.
(Arch, 1/06, p.43)
1200BC The tradition of the Mokaya people at
coastal Chiapas and Guatemala came to a sudden end about this time.
This appeared to coincide with the rise of the Olmec people.
(Arch, 1/06, p.43)
1000BC The settlement at Canton Corralito on the
southern Mexico-Guatemala border covered at least 60 acres by this
time and was believed to be a colony of the Gulf Olmec people. About
this time the nearby Coatan River began to rise and engulfed the
(Arch, 1/06, p.44)
800BC In Guatemala some structures at San Bartolo
dated to about this time.
c800BC-200CE The Mayan city of Takalik Abaj, in
later day Guatemala, served as one of the most important economic
and cultural centers of pre-Columbian times.
(NG, May, 04, p.70)
500BC-300BC Cival, about 25 miles east of the much
better known city of Tikal, was discovered in 1984. It was abandoned
about 100 CE. Artifacts at the site dated to this time.
250BC-150BC The Mayan site at El Mirador
flourished during this period. In the 1980s archeologist Richard
Hansen found Mayan carvings at El Mirador, Guatemala, that were
sculpted well before Christ.
300BC-200BC In 2006 archaeologists at the San
Bartolo site in Guatemala dated Mayan hieroglyphs painted on plaster
and stone to this period.
c150BC Cival was a large and sophisticated Mayan
city of some 10,000 people.
(USAT, 5/11/04, p.7D)
150BC In 2005 archaeologists at the San Bartolo
site in Guatemala led by Guatemalan Monica Pellecer Alecio found the
oldest known Maya royal burial, from around 150 BC. Excavating
beneath a small pyramid, that team found a burial complex that
included ceramic vessels and the bones of a man, with a jade plaque,
the symbol of Maya royalty, on his chest.
100BC In 2005 archaeologist William Saturno said
he was awe-struck when he uncovered a Maya mural not seen for nearly
two millennia. Discovered at the San Bartolo site in Guatemala, the
mural covers the west wall of a room attached to a pyramid.
100-1BC The painted cave of Naj Tunich in the
Peten of Guatemala began attracting pilgrims.
(AM, 7/97, p.52)
c100CE A mural was painted about this time at the
Mayan ceremonial site of San Bartolo (Guatemala). It was uncovered
by archeologist William Saturno of the Univ. of New Hampshire in
(SFC, 3/13/02, p.A4)(USAT, 1/16/04, p.10A)
c250-900 During this time about a hundred thousand
Mayans lived in the area of Tikal (meaning "the place where spirit
voices are heard"). It was abandoned after some 15 hundred years of
(SFEM, 6/13/99, p.8)
250-900 The classic period of Maya culture.
(SFC, 6/23/96, p.A10)
300 The city of Cancuen was
already established by this time. Ruins of the city were discovered
(SFC, 9/9/00, p.A2)
378 Tikal saw the establishment
of a new line of kings following its military victory over many
cities of the Maya Lowlands. The 1st king was Nuun Yax Ain (Green
Crocodile) and he claimed descent from a Teotihuacan lord that
scholars later dubbed Spear-thrower Owl.
(Arch, 9/00, p.27)
544 In northern Guatemala a
Mayan altar dated to this year depicts La Corona ruler Chak Took
Ich'aak conjuring two local gods from a shaft in the form of a
double-headed snake. In 2017 the altar was found encased in the
roots of a tree in a collapsed temple. Archaeologists said the altar
suggests the Mayan dynasty of Kaanul, known as the Snake Kings,
acted like its namesake in slowly squeezing the rival kingdom of
(AP, 9/15/18)(AP, 9/18/18)
562 Tikal in Guatemala was
conquered possibly by the Mayans of Calakmul city in Mexico.
Calakmul is one of the largest of Mayan cities with more than 6,000
structures. It was the capital of a widespread hegemony of Lowland
Maya kingdoms during the Late Classic (600-900).
(AM, May/Jun 97 suppl. p.G)(Arch, 9/00, p.27)
600-700 Lady K'abel, considered the greatest ruler
of the Mayan Late Classic period, ruled with her husband, K'inich
Bahlam, for at least 20 years in the 7th century. She was the
military governor of the Waka kingdom for her family, the imperial
house of the Snake King, and she carried the title "Kaloomte" —
translated as "Supreme Warrior," higher in authority than her
husband, the king. In 2012 her tomb was discovered in northern
682-721 Ah Cacaw (Lord of Cocoa) ruled over Tikal
during this period. His burial tomb was later found deep inside the
145-foot height Temple of the Great Jaguar.
(SFEM, 6/13/99, p.8)
740 Tah ak Chaan began a 50
year rule over the city of Cancuen in what later became Guatemala.
(SFC, 9/9/00, p.A2)
765-790 The Mayan palace of Cancuen, one of the
largest in Guatemala, was built by King Taj Chan Ahk.
795 Taj Chan Ahk, the Mayan
ruler of Cancuen (Guatemala), died.
(SFC, 11/17/05, p.A17)
796 A 600-pound limestone altar
was carved to honor a treaty in the Mayan city of Cancuen
(Guatemala). It was uncovered in 2001 and soon stolen. It was
retrieved in 2003.
(USAT, 10/30/03, p.12D)(SFC, 10/30/03, p.A11)
800 About this time
unidentified conquerors destroyed the Mayan palace at Cancuen
(Guatemala) and killed the members of the court. Archeologists in
2005 reported that King Maax, son of Taj Chan Ahk, was found buried
in full regalia.
(SFC, 11/17/05, p.A17)
800-900 The Mayan site of Xultun (Guatemala) dated
to about this time. It was discovered in 1912. In 2010 paintings
were discovered at the site dating to this period. Figures were
captioned as "Older Brother Obsidian," or "Senior Obsidian," and
"Younger Brother Obsidian," or perhaps "Junior Obsidian."
1200-1330 A Mayan city in Peten state, the “El
Pajaral" site, dated to the post-classic period of this time. The
ruins were found in 2000.
(SFC, 5/15/00, p.A13)
1522 Guatemala was conquered by
1524 Pedro de Alvarado, a
lieutenant of Cortez, marched into the Guatemalan highlands. He
played the local Indian tribes against one another and won a major
battle fought at a river in western Guatemala against warriors of
the Quiche tribe led by Tecun Uman.
(NG, 6/1988, p.790)
1541 A volcano crater filled
with water cracked and a mud slide engulfed the capital town of
Ciudad Vieja. Over 1,000 people were buried. The volcano was named
Agua from that point on.
(SFEC, 1/10/99, Z1 p.8)
1543 The town of Antigua was
built by the Spanish.
(SFEM, 6/13/99, p.32)
1543-1773 The Palacio de los Capitanes in Antigua
was the center for Spanish rule over Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras
and Nicaragua during this period.
(SFEM, 6/13/99, p.32)
1549 A Spanish royal mansion
was built in Antigua that later became the Café Condesa.
(SFEM, 6/13/99, p.32)
1550s The Popol Vuh, the sacred
book of the Quiche-Maya, was written. It later disappeared.
(SFEM, 6/13/99, p.33)
1636 The Antigua mansion, later
known as Casa Popenoe, was built. It was purchased in 1931 by the
American botanist Dr. Wilson Popenoe.
(SFEM, 6/13/99, p.32)
1642 In Antigua a Dominican
monastery was built.
(SFEM, 6/13/99, p.32)
1773 A large earthquake
destroyed so much of Antigua that the Spanish moved away and built a
new capital on a plateau 30 miles away that became Guatemala City.
(NG, 6/1988, p.798)(SFEM, 6/13/99, p.33)
19th cent Maria Encarnacion Rosal, a 19th century
Guatemalan nun, was beatified in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.
(SFC, 5/5/97, p.A8)
1821 Sep 15, A junta convened
by the captain-general in Guatemala declared independence for its
provinces Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua San Salvador
(NG, 6/1988, p.781)(AP, 9/15/97)(EWH, 1968,
1823 Jul 1, The United
Provinces of Central America (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras,
Nicaragua and San Salvador) gained independence from Mexico. The
union dissolved by 1840.
(PC, 1992, p.393)(ON, 12/99, p.5)
1839 Apr 17, Guatemala formed a
1839 Oct 3, John Lloyd Stephens
and Frederick Catherwood departed NYC for Central America. They
arrived in Guatemala 3 weeks later.
(ON, 12/99, p.5)
1839 Nov 30, John Lloyd
Stephens left Copan for Guatemala City to locate the government of
the United Provinces of Central America.
(ON, 12/99, p.8)
1840 Apr 7, John Lloyd Stephens
and Frederick Catherwood left Guatemala City and traveled north into
Mexico where they explored Palenque.
(ON, 12/99, p.8)
1859 A treaty between Britain
and Guatemala defined the boundaries of Belize.
(SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)
1898-1920 Pres. Manuel Estrada Cabrera was one of
the first Latin dictators to create his own secret police. He
plundered the treasury, expanded the standing army and
systematically oppressed his opponents.
(WSJ, 3/3/99, p.A18)
1902 Oct 25, Santa Maria,
Guatemala, was hit by an earthquake and about 6,000 died.
1904 The Postal Code created
the General Administration of Mail and Telegraphs (GAMT). The system
grew to become very inefficient and in the 1980s private delivery
businesses began to spring up.
(WSJ, 6/5/98, p.A15)
1913 Sep 14, Jacobo Guzman
Arbenz (d.1971), president of Guatemala (1951-54) was born. He was
overthrown by the CIA. Arbenz, soldier and nationalist politician
and president Guatemala, was the son of a Swiss pharmacist who
emigrated to Guatemala, Arbenz joined a group of army officers that
overthrew dictator Jorge Ubico in 1944. Arbenz became president with
the support of army and leftists, including the Communist Party. His
radical policies, especially regarding expropriation of portions of
the United Fruit Company holdings, led to a U.S. backed coup in 1954
and his fleeing to Mexico. Arbenz died in 1971 in Mexico City.
1912 The Mayan site of Xultun
(Guatemala) was first discovered. In 2010 paintings were discovered
at the site dating to around 800. Figures were captioned as "Older
Brother Obsidian," or "Senior Obsidian," and "Younger Brother
Obsidian," or perhaps "Junior Obsidian."
1931-1944 Jorge Ubico took over Guatemala as
dictator. He liked to ride around the country in his motorcycle and
had all the potholes fixed. He ended debt peonage for Indians and
clamped down on corruption.
(SFEC, 11/24/96, zone 1 p.2)(WSJ, 3/3/99, p.A18)
1940 Guatemala declared the
1859 treaty void and reasserted its claim to Belize.
(SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)
1944 A revolution in Guatemala
occurred against the eccentric strongman Jorge Ubico.
(NG, 6/1988, p.781)(HNQ, 1/30/99)(WSJ, 3/3/99,
1946-1948 US scientific researchers infected
hundreds of Guatemalan mental patients with sexually transmitted
diseases. The researchers were trying to determine whether the
antibiotic penicillin could prevent syphilis infection, not just
cure it. The practice only came to light in 2010 thanks to the work
of an academic researcher. On Oct 1, 2010, Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen
Sebelius issued a formal apology to Guatemala, and to Guatemalan
residents of the United States. A 2011 report said 2,082 people were
infected with syphilis, gonorrhea or chancroid. Previous studies had
said about 1,300 people were exposed, including soldiers,
prostitutes, prisoners and mental patients.
1951-1954 Jacobo Guzman Arbenz (1913-1971) served
as president of Guatemala. Arbenz became president with the support
of army and leftists, including the Communist Party. Jacobo Arbenz
Guzman, aroused rightist opposition by allowing Communists in
positions of power among peasants, labor unions, even the government
itself. His radical policies-especially regarding expropriation of
portions of the United Fruit Company holdings-led to a U.S. backed
coup in 1954 and his fleeing to Mexico.
(HNQ, 1/30/99)(WSJ, 3/3/99, p.A18)
1954 Jun 27, CIA-sponsored
rebels overthrew the elected government of Guatemala. A US supported
force of Guatemalan mercenaries invaded from Honduras. Sam Zemurray,
head of United Fruit, helped fund the rebels. Pres. Arbenz was
toppled and replaced by 30 years of military rule. He spent much of
his exile in Cuba. Arbenz died in 1971 in Mexico City. It was
disclosed in 1997 to have been motivated by US economic interests
with 58 Guatemalan politicians put on a list of potential targets
for political killing. In 1982 “Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of
the American Coup in Guatemala" by Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen
Kinzer, was published by Doubleday. In 2011 Guatemalan President
Alvaro Colom acknowledged the state's responsibility in overthrowing
Arbenz and apologized to his family.
(NG, 6/1988, p.783)(SFC, 5/24/97, p.A1)(WSJ,
3/3/99, p.A18)(AP, 10/21/11)(SSFC, 7/8/12, p.F5)
1954 Jul 8, Carlos Castillo
Armas of Guatemala became president. He was assassinated in 1957.
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)
1957 Jul 26, Pres. Carlos
Castillo Armas was assassinated.
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)
1959 Belize and Guatemala
signed a border treaty
1960 Jul 14, Fire raging
through a Guatemala City, Guatemala, insane asylum and 225 were
killed with 300 severely injured.
1960 Oct 30, Guatemala's "La
Hora" reported a plan for the invasion on Cuba.
1960 Nov 14, President Dwight
Eisenhower ordered U.S. naval units into the Caribbean after
Guatemala and Nicaragua charged Castro with starting uprisings.
1960 In Guatemala rebellious
army officers took to the hills and began the long attempt to
overthrow a tyrannical regime.
(SFC, 1/3/97, p.A26)
1960 The Central American
Common Market was set up by a treaty between El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras, Nicaragua, and later Costa Rica. It fell apart by the end
of the decade.
1960-1996 During the civil war in Guatemala some
150,000 people fled to Mexico for refuge and as many as 50,000 hid
out in the mountains and jungles for years. The civil war left an
estimated 250,000 killed or disappeared.
(SFC, 7/13/00, p.A12)(SFC, 12/30/17, p.A4)
1961 A long civil war began.
The military retained power and the first Marxist guerilla
organization took up arms.
(WSJ, 3/22/96, p.A-1)(SFC, 11/12/96, p.A13)
1961 Apr 17, About 1,500
CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs
invasion of Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow the government of
Fidel Castro. The US clandestinely invaded Cuba in the Bay of Pigs
operation and the operation failed completely without any of the
promised air support from the United States. Cuban forces killed 200
rebels and captured 1,197 in less than 72 hours. 26 survivors were
rescued after 3 days of fighting. A single copy of a CIA report
written by inspector general Lyman Kirkpatrick was made public in
1998. The operation, which had been devised during the Eisenhower
Administration, was nonetheless endorsed by the new president, John
F. Kennedy. In 1979 Peter Wyden wrote “Bay of Pigs: The Untold
Story." Portion of the 1961 Taylor Report was made public in 1977
and 1986. Most of the report was made public in 2000 and it showed
that the CIA knew that the Soviets knew the exact date of the
attack. In 2009 Guadeloupe apologized to Cuba for allowing the CIA
to train Cuban exiles on its soil.
(AP, 4/17/97)(TMC, 1994, p.1961)(SFEC, 2/22/98,
p.A19)(HNQ, 4/11/00)(SFC, 4/29/00, p.A7)
1966 Jan 4, A US State Dept.
security official wrote a memo describing how a safe house was set
up in the presidential palace for use by Guatemalan security agents
and their US contacts.
(SFC, 3/11/99, p.A12)
1966 Mar 6, Security forces
arrested 32 people suspected of aiding Marxist guerrillas. They all
disappeared. A later CIA cable identified 3 of the missing as
terrorists executed by Guatemalan authorities on Mar 6.
(SFC, 3/11/99, p.A12)
1966 The US sent in the Green
Berets to help “train" the Guatemalan armed forces in
(SFC, 1/3/97, p.A26)
1967 Oct 23, A secret US State
Dept. cable reported that covert Guatemalan security operations
included "kidnapping, torture and summary executions."
(SFC, 3/11/99, p.A12)
1967 Miguel A. Asturias
(1899-1974) of Guatemala won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
1970 Jul 1, In Guatemala Gen.
Carlos Arana Osorio (1918-2003), a hard-line conservative of the
National Liberation Movement, began serving as president and
continued to 1974. He expanded efforts to bring armed rebels under
control and prosecuted student radicals. He declared a state of
siege in his 1st year.
12/6/03)(SFC, 12/8/03, p.A20)
1974 Sep 18, Hurricane Fifi
struck Honduras with 110 mph winds and killed about 8,000. The
hurricane made landfall as a Category 2 storm in Belize on the next
day, and continued through Guatemala and Mexico as a tropical
system. After weakening to a depression, Fifi emerged into the
Pacific Ocean, becoming the first crossover storm since Hurricane
Irene-Olivia in 1971.
1974 In Guatemala Kjell Eugenio
Laugerud (1930-2009) was elected president and continued to 1978. He
was elected with the backing of the far-right National Liberation
Movement party in elections marred by violence and accusations of
1976 Feb 4, A 7-5-7.9
earthquake hit Guatemala and Honduras. Some 23,000 Guatemalans,
mostly Mayan Indians, were killed. It destroyed 58,000 houses in the
capital and 300 villages.
(NG, 6/1988, p.785,797)(SFEM, 6/13/99, p.8)(AP,
1976 The government announced a
plan to relocate Achi Indians near Rabinal to make room for a
hydroelectric dam along the Chixoy River.
(SFC, 1/18/99, p.A11)
1977 Guatemala’s Pres. Kjell
Eugenio Laugerud announced he would not accept US military aid after
the Carter administration criticized Guatemala's human rights
situation because of forced disappearances, torture and arbitrary
executions. It was largely a symbolic gesture, however, since the
aid already was appropriated for that year.
1977 Guatemala passed
legislation allowing notaries to facilitate adoptions.
(Econ, 8/6/16, p.46)
1978 In Guatemala Fernando
Romeo Lucas Garcia began serving as president and continued to 1982.
(SFC, 6/14/01, p.15)
1978-1983 In Guatemala hundreds of residents from
central Guatemala fled to the region north of Chajul and declared
themselves neutral to the war. They organized themselves into the
Communities of People in Resistance (CPR) and secretly cultivated
their lands. They did not come out of hiding until 1998.
1979 Guatemala’s army
identified the Ixil indigenous region as the support base for the
Guerrilla Army of the Poor, one of four guerrilla groups.
(SFC, 12/30/17, p.A4)
1979 Soldiers protecting the
Chixoy River dam project attacked the villagers of Rio Negro, the
only village of 15 that refused to move without adequate
(SFC, 7/14/00, p.A11)
1980 Jan 31, In Guatemala the
Spanish Embassy was attacked and 37 people were killed. The dead
included the father of Rigoberta Menchu, who later filed charges in
Spain against Rios Montt, 5 Guatemalan generals and 2 civilians for
war crimes. Peasant, labor and student activists had taken over the
Spanish Embassy in Guatemala City to protest the rule of Pres. Lucas
1980 Guatemala’s army formed
one of the first model villages in Santa Avelina for people
relocated due to fighting in the western mountains. More than 45
such villages were formed and many died from malnutrition and
(SFC, 12/30/17, p.A4)
1980 Villagers from Xococ near
Rabinal volunteered to join the army and were recruited to help kill
(SFC, 1/18/99, p.A11)
1981 Jul 28, In Guatemala Rev.
Stanley Rother (46) of Oklahoma was shot twice in the head by three
masked men at the parish rectory in Santiago Atitlan. In 2016 the
Vatican declared him a martyr. On Sep 23, 2017, Rother was beatified
at a Mass in Oklahoma City.
(SFC, 12/3/16, p.A2)(SSFC, 9/24/17 p.A15)
1981 Sep 21, Belize gained
independence from Britain and joined the UN under protests from
1981 Nov 8, In San Martin
Jilotepeque Virginia Tubac’s husband left for the market and never
returned. His body was identified in a mass grave in 1997.
(SFC, 6/17/97, p.D1)
1981 In Cuarto Pueblo,
Guatemala, 15 cooperative leaders were killed by government troops.
(SFC, 12/9/96, p.A18)
1981 In Guatemala some 100,000
Maya villagers were killed this year in a government crackdown on a
(SFC, 5/19/96, T-11)
1981 In Guatemala eight El Jute
residents disappeared. Witnesses later tied Col. Marco Antonio
Sanchez and three paramilitaries to the disappearances [see Dec 4
1981-1983 In central Guatemala 4,411 people were
killed in the area of Rabinal during the civil war.
(SFC, 1/18/99, p.A10)(Econ, 11/8/03, p.35)
1982 Feb 13, In Guatemala 73
men and women from Rio Negro were ordered by the local military
commander to report to Xococ, a village upstream from the reservoir
zone which had a history of land conflicts and hostility with Rio
Negro. Only one woman out of the 73 villagers returned to Rio Negro,
the rest were raped, tortured and then murdered by Xococ's Civil
Defense Patrol, or PAC, one of the notorious paramilitary units used
by the state as death squads. The Guatemalan army invaded Santa
Maria Tzeja and massacred 13 people. Villagers fled their homes
following the massacre. In 2004 Beatriz Manz authored "Paradise in
Ashes: A Guatemalan Journey of courage, Terror and Hope."
1982 Feb 13, James Miller (37)
died in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Miller, from Stevens Point,
Wisconsin, had been working with indigenous youths as a member of
the De La Salle Christian Brothers. In 2018 Pope Francis decreed
that Miller was killed out of hatred for the Catholic faith during
Guatemala's civil war and can be beatified.
1982 Mar 13, In Guatemala at
the Massacre of Rio Negro 177 Achi Maya women and children were
killed by Xococ patrolmen. On Nov 30, 1998, three Xococ
pro-government fighters, Carlos Chen, Pedro Gonzalez and Fermin
Lajuj, were sentenced to death for their war crimes in the massacre.
In 2003 the PBS documentary "Discovering Dominga" told the story of
a Mayan girl who survived the massacre and her struggle to discover
what happened to her family. In 2008 5 former paramilitary members
were sentenced to 780 years each in prison for massacring 26 people
at Rio Negro.
(SFC, 12/1/98, p.A11)(SFC, 1/18/99, p.A11)(SFC,
7/14/00, p.A11)(SFC, 7/4/03, p.E3)(AP, 5/30/08)
1982 Mar 14, In Cuarto Pueblo
309 villagers were killed over three days by government troops.
(SFC, 12/9/96, p.A18)
1982 Mar 23, Guatemalan Gen’l.
Efrain Rios Montt (1926-2018) and a handful of other officers seized
power from Pres. Lucas Garcia. Montt became the head of a three-man
junta and established the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG). Under
his 17-month rule the army burned Indian villages and killed
thousands of suspected leftists.
(SFC, 7/31/98, p.D3)(SFC, 11/8/99, p.A10)(SFC,
6/14/01, p.A15)(SFC, 4/5/18, p.D5)
1982 Jun, The village of
Chacalte was attacked by guerrillas and an estimated 120 people were
killed. The attack was for apparent collaboration by the village
with the military’s armed civil patrols.
(SFC, 9/3/97, p.C3)
1982 Jul 18, In Guatemala
soldiers and paramilitary troops massacred 267 people in the remote
hamlet of Plan de Sanchez. In 2001 local communities filed genocide
charges against congressional head Efrain Rios Montt, who was the
dictator at the time of the massacre. In 2005 Guatemala apologized
for the government-directed massacre of 226 people in Plan de
(SFC, 6/6/01, p.C3)(SFC, 6/14/01, p.A15)(AP,
1982 Aug 22, Alfonso Portillo,
a Guatemalan professor at Mexico’s Guerrero Autonomous Univ., shot
and killed 2 political adversaries outside a party. In 1999 Portillo
ran as a presidential candidate for the Guatemalan Republican Front
and said he had acted in self defense.
1982 Sep 27, In San Martin
Jilotepeque Maria Concepcion spoke with her husband for the last
time. He was dragged from his bed by more than 40 soldiers and never
seen alive again. In 1997 his body was identified in a mass grave.
(SFC, 6/17/97, p.D1)
1982 Oct 13, Guatemala’s army
surrounded the mountain village of Santa Anita Las Canoas. 24 men
were taken inside a church, where they were chained, tied with ropes
and tortured all the night, their screams heard throughout the
village. The following morning, 6 men were taken from the group,
tied to the barbwire fence of the church and executed in front of
1982 Dec 4, Guatemalan Pres.
Rios Montt met with US Pres. Ronald Reagan in Honduras. Reagan
dismissed reports of human rights abuses in the region and lifted an
arms embargo to resume sales to military rulers.
1982 Dec 6-1982 Dec 8, In
Guatemala a government massacre wiped out the village of Dos Erres.
In 2000 two witnesses gave evidence that some 300 men, women and
children were killed, tortured and raped by specialists called
kaibiles. In 2011 Pedro Pimentel Rios (54), a former member of an
elite Guatemalan military force suspected of carrying out the
massacre, was extradited from the United States back to Guatemala.
(SFEC, 4/9/00, p.C14)(AP, 7/12/11)
1982 The Guatemalan civil war
reached its peak. The Civilian Self-Defense Patrol was activated
under dictator Gen’l. Efrain Rios Montt.
(NG, 6/1988, p.776)(SFEC, 10/20/96, A14)
1982 Guatemala’s army
surrounded the mountain village of Santa Anita Las Canoas and killed
a number of fleeing villagers.
(SFC, 6/14/01, p.A14)
1982-1984 In Guatemala six people who were
abducted and presumably killed during the country's civil war. In
2009 Felipe Cusanero was convicted and sentenced to 25 years for
each victim who disappeared during this period from the village of
1983 Mar, In Guatemala on the
eve of Pope John Paul’s visit Gen’l. Montt had 6 rebel suspects
(SFC, 7/31/98, p.D3)(http://tinyurl.com/ckmy6)
1983 Aug 8, In Guatemala Gen’l.
Efrain Rios Montt (b.1926) was overthrown and the military
government of Gen. Humberto Mejia Victores took power.
1983 Rigoberta Menchu,
Guatemalan-born Mayan Indian and human rights activist, authored her
book “I, Rigoberta Menchu." In 1992 she won the Nobel peace Prize.
In 1998 David Stoll, a US anthropologist, authored “Rigoberta Menchu
and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans." He asserted a number of
inaccuracies in Menchu’s original book.
(SFEC, 1/19/97, Par p.5) (SFC, 12/15/98, p.C20)
1983 In Guatemala the Peace
Brigades Int'l. program began with volunteers standing in support of
Nineth Montenegro, the leader of a group of relatives of the
(SFC, 6/11/99, p.A12)
1983-1986 On May 20, 1999, a document was made
public that listed the execution of some of the people that
disappeared during this period.
(SFC, 5/20/99, p.C2)
1984 In Guatemala Cival, about
25 miles east of the much better known city of Tikal, was
discovered. Cival was abandoned about 100 CE. Artifacts at the site
dated from 500-300 BCE.
1985 Mar, Nick Blake, a free
lance US journalist, and photographer Griff Davis were shot and
killed by Guatemalan civil militia. Their remains were found in
(WSJ, 8/17/00, p.A23)
1985 Aug 8, In San Martin
Jilotepeque the army stormed the home of Maria Alisa Camei, beat her
husband and took him away. He was not seen alive again. In 1997 his
body was identified in a mass grave.
(SFC, 6/17/97, p.D1)
1985 Dec 2, The 2nd round of
free elections in Guatemala gave a decisive majority of almost 70%
to the centrist Christian Democratic Party candidate, Vinicio Cerezo
(b.1942). The army still held much behind-the-scenes power.
1985 Guatemala’s 1985
Constitution called for the creation of a Constitutional Court and a
human rights prosecutor designated by the Congress—both founded to
confront violations of individual rights. It was extended in 1993.
1986 Jan 13, In Guatemala just
before turning over power to Pres. Cerezo, Gen. Humberto Mejia
Victores issued a blanket self-amnesty for acts committed during the
3-year rule of the military government.
1986 Jan 14, In Guatemala,
Vinicio Cerezo (b.1942) began serving as president.
1987 Aug 7, The presidents of 5
Central American nations, meeting in Guatemala City, signed an
11-point agreement designed to bring peace to their region.
1988 Pres. Cerezo declared
another blanket amnesty, approved by congress, that covered
government acts from 1982-1988.
(SFC, 7/5/96, p.A13)
1989 Nov 2, Sister Diana Ortiz
was raped and tortured in Guatemala. She has claimed that a man
called Allejandro appeared in charge and that he spoke colloquial
English and spoke of contacts with the US Embassy. The US government
has denied any connection.
(SFC, 5/4/96, p.A-6)(SFC, 5/7/96, p.A-10)
1990 cJun, The bodies of 2
teenage boys and 2 slightly older adult friends, all of whom had
lived on the streets, were found on the outskirts of Guatemala City.
Police officers implicated in their abduction and killing were
cleared of charges. In 1999 an int'l. court ruled that the
government failed to protect the victims and the case was expected
(SFC, 12/6/99, p.A14)
1990 Sep 11, In Guatemala City
sociologist Myrna Mack was stabbed 27 times to death. Gen’l. Edgar
Augusto Godoy and Colonels Juan Valencia Osorio and Juan Guillermo
Oliva ordered Noel de Jesus Beteta, a soldier, to kill Mack. Beteta
later received a 30 year sentence for the crime. The officers in
1997 sought amnesty under a new treaty. Myrna Mack was an
anthropologist working on the ecological effects of the nation’s
refugee policies and the genocide of Maya Indians. The officers were
ordered to stand trial in 1999. In 2002 Beteta recanted his
confession. In 2003 an appeals court freed Col. Juan Valencia.
(SFC, 1/7/97, p.A10)(SFC, 3/21/97, p.A18)(SFC,
4/28/98, p.A8)(SFC, 1/30/99, p.A14)(AP, 9/18/02)(SFC, 5/8/03, p.A14)
1990 Oscar Berger was elected
mayor of Guatemala City and served until 1999.
(SFC, 12/30/03, p.A11)
1990 Norwegian church groups
brought the government of Guatemala and rebels together for peace
talks in Oslo.
(SFC, 12/5/96, p.C1)
1990 American innkeeper Michael
Devine was murdered in Guatemala. Allegations have been made that
Guatemalan colonel, Julio Roberto Alpirez on CIA payroll, was
involved. A review in 1996 showed that Alpirez was on the CIA
payroll from 1988-1992 and that he was involved in the cover-up of
the murder of Devine and had participated in the interrogation and
likely torture of Efraim Bamaca, a captured Guatemalan guerrilla
married to an American lawyer.
(SFC, 5/4/96, p.A-6)(SFC, 5/7/96, p.A-10)
1991 Guatemala recognized the
independence of Belize and established full diplomatic relations.
(SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)
1991 Rebel guerrillas sacked
and burned most of the productive wells of Basic Petroleum in the
northwest corner of the Peten.
(WSJ, 12/26/96, p.A1)
1991 The US Bush administration
requested the extradition of Lt. Col. Carlos Ochoa Ruiz on cocaine
(WSJ, 8/13/99, p.A11)
1992 Mar 12, Efraim Banaca
Velasquez, a guerilla leader in Guatemala married to an American
lawyer (Jennifer Harbury), disappeared and was later murdered.
Secret US government files later disclosed that the Guatemalan
colonel, Julio Roberto Alpirez, oversaw the interrogation and
debriefing and that he was on CIA payroll. A suit filed by Harbury
in 1995 against a list of US officials was dismissed in 1999 and
reinstated in 2000 on appeal.
(SFC, 5/4/96, p.A-6)(SFEC, 11/17/96, p.C13)(SFC,
3/18/97, p.A10)(SFC, 3/19/02, p.A4)
1992 Oct 16, The Nobel Peace
prize was awarded to Rigoberta Menchu, a Guatemalan Indian who spoke
on behalf of indigenous people and victims of government repression.
(SFC, 10/12/96, p.A13)(AP, 10/16/97)
1993 Judge Gonzalez Dubon
declared unconstitutional the imposition of martial law by Pres.
(WSJ, 8/13/99, p.A11)
1993 May 25, President Jorge
Serrano Elias engineered a “self-coup." He moved to live in Panama
and faced extradition attempts. After the failed coup the Congress
designated Ramiro de Leon Carpio as president and Arturo Herbruger
as vice president to serve to Jan 1996.
(SFC, 7/24/97, p.A11)(SFC, 10/26/99, p.B4)
1993 Rightist civil patrols
killed peasants in Colotenango. 12 members of the paramilitary unit
were later arrested, tried and sentenced in 1999 to 25 years in
prison. They were sprung from jail a day after being sentenced.
(SFC, 5/1/99, p.B1)
1993 Enron Corp. started
building electric power plants on barges with a project in
(WSJ, 5/22/96, p.B-1)
1994 Mar, The first of a series
of 12 pacts to deal with procedures for recognizing and dealing with
violations of human rights was signed.
(WSJ, 12/13/96, p.A15)
1994 Apr 1, Judge Gonzalez
Dubon was assassinated. He had recently signed an order to extradite
to the US former Army Lt. Col. Carlos Ochoa Ruiz on drug trafficking
(WSJ, 8/13/99, p.A11)
1994 Sep, A 440-member UN human
rights mission was installed.
(SFC, 5/14/96, A-10)
1994 Diane Weinstock, an
American tourist, was beaten into a coma in San Cristobal by a mob
that suspected her of trying to steal a baby.
(SFC, 5/1/00, p.A14)
1995 Mar, Sen. Robert
Torricelli of the US House Intelligence Oversight Committee accused
the CIA of a cover-up in 2 Guatemalan murders. A review in 1996
showed that Alpirez was on the CIA payroll from 1988-1992 and that
he was involved in the cover-up of the 1990 murder of Michael Devine
and had participated in the 1992 interrogation and likely torture of
Efraim Bamaca, a captured Guatemalan guerrilla, killed in captivity
and married to an American lawyer.
(SFC, 5/4/96, p.A-6)(SFC, 5/7/96, p.A-10)(SFEC,
1995 Sep 27-Oct 6, Hurricane
Opal caused at least 50 deaths in Guatemala and Mexico and 20 deaths
in the United States. The storm hit Central America before striking
Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina.
1995 Oct 5, In Xaman village,
Guatemala, 11 war refugees were killed by government soldiers. In
1999 25 soldiers were convicted for homicide. 12 soldiers were
sentenced to 5 years in prison and the rest to 4 years already
served. In 2004 an officer and 13 soldiers were each sentenced to 40
years in prison for the Xaman massacre of recently returned civil
(SFC, 8/14/99, p.C1)(AP, 7/9/04)
1995 Oct, The government army
led a massacre in the region of Chajul.
(SFC, 9/8/97, p.A9)
1995 Gavin Barker, a social
worker from London, founded Quetzaltrekkers, a Guatemala trekking
program aimed at funding street children in Xela.
(SSFC, 11/9/03, p.D3)
1995 Archeologists of the Basic
Pete Oil Co. discovered the Mayan city of La Joyanca.
(WSJ, 12/26/96, p.32)
1996 Jan, Pres. Ramiro de Leon
Carpio disbanded the paramilitary Civil Self-Defense Patrols.
(SFC, 6/18/02, p.A9)
1996 Jan, In a low turnout for
presidential elections, Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen, a conservative former
foreign minister, beat Alfonso Portillo, backed by ex-dictator,
Efrain Rios Montt, by less than 3 %.
(WSJ, 1/8/96, p.A-1)(SFC, 12/30/96, p.A7)
1996 Mar, The new president
ordered the army to halt counterinsurgency operations against
leftist guerillas, matching a cease fire offer by the Guatemalan
national Revolutionary Unity (URNG) rebels who have fought a 35-year
(WSJ, 3/22/96, p.A-1)(SFC, 5/7/96, p.A-10)
1996 May 7, Guatemala’s leftist
guerrillas and the government signed a key accord in negotiations to
end 35 years of civil war. A Land Fund that would help poor peasant
farmers acquire arable land was agreed upon.
(SFC, 5/7/96, p.A-10)
1996 Jun 13, Guatemala ratified
a UN pact on tribal peoples. The pact calls for respect of its
indigenous people, the Mayans, and consultation with them on
decisions affecting their economic and social development.
(SFC, 6/14/96, p. A16)
1996 Sep 15, Crime boss Alfredo
Moreno, a former army intelligence officer, was arrested on charges
of an enormous smuggling operation.
(SFC, 9/25/96, p.A9)
1996 Sep 17, In Guatemala 2
generals and 16 officials were fired in a probe of black-market
(SFC, 9/19/96, p.A10)
1996 Sep 19, Guatemala’s
government and leftist guerillas under Ricardo Arnoldo Ramirez
signed a peace accord that called for a 33% troop and budget
reduction from 43,000 by 1999. Otto Perez Molina negotiated the
accords for the government.
(SFC, 9/20/96, p.A15)(SFC, 9/15/98, p.A22)(Econ,
1996 Sep 24, The government
fired 12 National police officers including 5 regional chiefs
implicated in a corruption scandal.
(SFC, 9/25/96, p.A9)
1996 Oct 5, An ongoing program
to de-activate some 200,000 citizen soldiers included ceremonious
(SFEC, 10/20/96, A14)
1996 Oct 16, Soccer fans at a
World Cup qualifying match trying to squeeze into Mateo Flores
National Stadium in Guatemala City stampeded, killing  84
people. 180 were injured.
(SFC, 10/17/96, A1)(AP, 10/16/97)
1996 Oct 19, Rafael Augusto
Valdizon, rebel commander, was captured in connection with the
kidnapping of 86-year-old Olga Novella, wife of a cement company
owner, in September. He negotiated his freedom in exchange for her
release. She was released and he disappeared.
(SFC, 10/29/96, p.A8)(SFC, 10/31/96, p.A12)
1996 Oct 28, Peace talks were
cancelled due to the Oct 19 incident.
(SFC, 10/29/96, p.A8)
1996 Nov 1, A Brazilian-made
turboprop crashed near Flores in Peten province and 14 people
enroute to the Mayan site of Tikal were killed.
(SFC, 11/2/96, p.C1)
1996 Nov 11, Gen’l. Roberto
Letona, the military attaché in Washington, was ordered home after
being linked to the Moreno smuggling operation that cheated the
government out of some $2.7 billion in taxes and duties over 15
(SFC, 11/12/96, p.A12)
1996 Nov 11, Pres. Alvaro Arzu
and the rebel alliance separately announced a peace agreement to be
signed Dec 29.
(SFC, 11/12/96, p.A13)
1996 Nov 14, Villagers in
Momostenango broke into the town jail where 4 men were jailed on
charges of assault and robbery of bus passengers. They were beat,
doused with gasoline and burned to death. It was later learned that
the victims were 2 artists, a dentist, and a minister from a
neighboring state hunting rabbits.
(SFEC, 12/1/96, p.T9)(SFC, 12/3/96, p.E1)
1996 Dec 4, A truce was signed
in Oslo, Norway. Two more accords were left to be signed and the
final treaty was scheduled to be signed in Guatemala City on Dec 29.
(SFC, 12/5/96, p.C1)
1996 Dec 29, In Guatemala City
the Accord on the Firm and Lasting Peace was signed at the National
Palace ending 36 years of civil conflict during which an estimated
250,000 people died or disappeared. One rebel unit in
Quetzaltenango, the Organization of the People in Arms, refused to
take part. The accord included provisions for education in 23
regional languages with Spanish. The peace accord mandated a report
by a UN "Historical Clarification Commission." The report was
completed and made public in 1999. In 2000 Susanne Jonas authored
“Of Centaurs and Doves: Guatemala’s Peace Process."
(WSJ, 12/13/96, p.A15)(SFC, 12/30/96, p.A7)(SFC,
5/27/97, p.A12) (AP, 12/29/97)(SFC, 2/26/99, p.A17)(SFEC, 3/7/99,
p.A22)(SFEM, 6/13/99, p.33)(SFEC, 8/20/00, BR p.12)(SFC, 12/30/17,
1996 Guatemala enacted a
General Telecommunications Law that changed a state ownership and
allocated radio spectrum from the bottom up. This allowed for a
large increase in phone penetration.
(WSJ, 12/27/02, p.A11)
1996 The New York based Kroll
Associates reported that 900 kidnappings took place in Guatemala in
1997 Jan 6, Three officers
accused of ordering a 1990 assassination sought amnesty under terms
of the new treaty.
(SFC, 1/7/97, p.A10)
1997 Jan 30, More than 1,000
military police seized their own headquarters and demanded at least
$7,000 severance pay each when the 4,000 member military police is
dissolved later in the year.
(SFC, 1/31/97, p.A12)
1997 Jan, Bonifassi de Botran
(80), the heir to a liquor distillery fortune, was kidnapped in
Guatemala City. A ransom was paid but she was found dead. Two
members of the kidnapping ring, Los Pasaco, escaped from prison but
Luis Amilcar Cetino Perez and Tomas Cerrate Hernandez were executed
(SFC, 6/22/00, p.A12)(SFC, 6/30/00, p.D2)
1997 Jun, A feud erupted
between neighboring Maya villages near Totonicapan and 10 people
were massacred and 10 homes were burned down.
(SFC, 9/8/97, p.A8)
1997 Jul 4, Pres. Alvaro Arzu
fired 2 top military officials, after they had helped negotiate a
peace treaty. They were known as moderates and the hard-liner Gen’l.
Hector Barrios took over as the new defense chief.
(SFC, 7/5/97, p.A10)
1997 Guatemala divided some 1.2
million acres of forest land into 13 logging concessions that
required sustainable harvesting. 2 concessions were granted to
logging companies and 11 to local communities.
(WSJ, 11/25/05, p.A9)
1997 A large Mayan site was
discovered at the Rio San Pedro Martir drainage in the Peten region
of northern Guatemala.
(AM, Jul/Aug ‘97 p.19)
1997 Sep 8, It was reported
that a new rebel group emerged in the Chajul region calling itself
the Guerrilla Command Force ‘97.
(SFC, 9/8/97, p.A8)
1998 Jan 6, Danita Gonzalez
Plank de Orellana (32) of Philadelphia was kidnapped with her
6-month old daughter near Quezaltenango. the baby was soon found in
a cardboard box. The mother’s body was found 8 days later. Police
alleged that a gang under Rigoberto Antonio Morales (23) was
responsible. Morales was recaptured 4 days after escaping from
prison in June.
(SFEC, 6/21/98, p.A13)
1998 Jan 16, In Guatemala 13
college students and 3 faculty members from St. Mary's College of
Maryland were robbed and 5 women were raped after their bus was
ambushed near Santa Lucia. 4 suspects were later arrested and 3 more
were sought by police. In 1999 three men, Cosbi Gamaliel Ortiz (38),
Rony Leonel Polanco Sil (29) and Reyes Guch Ventura (25), were
convicted and sentenced to 28 years in prison.
(SFC, 1/19/98, p.A8)(SFC, 2/9/99, p.A8)
1998 Jan, Pres. Alvaro Arzu
awarded a 5-year concession to administer government postal services
to Int’l. Post Services, a subsidiary of Canada Post.
(WSJ, 6/5/98, p.A15)
1998 Apr 24, The Human Rights
Office of the Guatemalan Catholic Church issued a report called
“Guatemala: Never Again," that said 200,000 people died or
disappeared during the 36 year civil war that ended in 1996.
(SFC, 4/25/98, p.A8)
1998 Apr 26, In Guatemala City
Bishop Jose Gerardi (75) was killed. He oversaw the recent report:
“Guatemala: Never Again." Marks on the bishop’s body were made by a
dog. In July a priest and a cook, Rev. Mario Leonel Orantes Najera
and Margarita Lopez, were arrested in connection. In Oct. US
forensic experts said that at least 2 attackers were responsible for
the bishop’s killing and described it as a political crime. In Oct
Rev. Mario Lionel Orantes was charged with the killing. Orantes was
released in Feb 1999. In 1999 Prosecutor Calvin Galindo resigned and
fled the country in fear of his safety. Two judges had already quit
the case. Three army suspects were arrested in Jan 2000. In 2000
Rev. Mario Orantes was again charged with the murder. In 2001 Col.
Disrael Lima Estrada (60), Capt. Byron Lima Oliva (31) and Sgt. Jose
Obdulio Villanueva (36) and Rev. Orantes were found guilty of the
murder of Bishop Gerardi. The officers were sentenced to 30 years in
prison and Orantes was sentenced to 20 years. Villanueva was killed
during a prison riot Feb 12, 2003.
(SFC, 4/28/98, p.A1,8)(SFC, 8/19/98, p.C16)(SFC,
10/7/98, p.A10)(SFC, 10/22/98, p.C5)(SFC, 10/8/99, p.D3)(WSJ,
1/24/00, p.A1)(SFC, 3/11/00, p.A9)(SFC, 6/9/01, p.A8)(SFC, 2/12/03,
1998 May 23, It was reported
that the Pacaya volcano had erupted and covered Guatemala City with
a half-inch of grit.
(SFC, 5/23/98, p.A5)
1998 May, Bishop Mario Rios
Montt, the brother of former dictator Gen’l. Efrain Rios Montt, was
appointed head of the human rights office.
(SFC, 7/31/98, p.D3)
1998 Jul 12, Honduras,
Guatemala and El Salvador agreed to join forces to build a $2
billion railroad network to link Central America with Mexico.
(SFC, 7/13/98, p.A8)
1998 Jul 14, Sebastiano
Crestani, an Italian priest and chaplain of the army, was attacked
gangland-style. Three weeks later his family sent him to Italy.
(SFC, 8/19/98, p.C16)
1998 Sep 11, Ricardo Arnoldo
Ramirez (67), aka Rolando Moran, a former leftist guerrilla
(SFC, 9/15/98, p.A22)
1998 Oct 1, Guatemala sold 95%
of its phone monopoly for $700 million to Luca, a consortium of
Guatemalan and Central American financial institutions.
(WSJ, 10/2/98, p.A10)
1998 Oct 20, In Guatemala the
former rebels of the National Revolutionary Unity (URVG) asked to be
recognized as a political party.
(SFC, 10/21/98, p.C2)
1998 Oct 22-1998 Nov 9,
Hurricane Mitch was one of the Caribbean's deadliest storms ever
causing at least at least 9,000 deaths in Central America. The storm
hit Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama,
Jamaica, and Costa Rica. Later reports put the death toll in
Honduras to 6,076. In Nicaragua the deaths reached 4,000, in
Guatemala it was157, and in El Salvador it was 222. The storm parked
over Honduras and rain poured for 6 days straight. Aid of $66
mil was ordered from the US, $8 mil from the EU, $11.6 mil from
Spain along with pledges from other countries and private
(SFC, 11/4/98, p.A9)(SFC, 11/6/98, p.A14)(AP,
1998 Nov 1, In Guatemala 10
Americans were killed when their C-47 cargo plane crashed while on a
mission to distribute medicines and medical care.
(SFC, 11/3/98, p.A11)
1999 Feb 25, A 100-page summary
of a 3,600 page report by the UN mandated Historical Clarification
Committee was released. It indicated that the US government and US
corporations played a key role in maintaining the right-wing
military governments during most of the 36 years of civil war in
Guatemala. The report documented a genocide against Mayan Indians
with a death toll of some 200,000. The Guatemalan National
Revolutionary Unity (UNRG) was responsible for 3% of the atrocities.
The Guatemalan Army was blamed for 93% of the human rights abuses.
(SFC, 2/26/99, p.A1,17)(WSJ, 2/26/99, p.A1)(SFC,
1999 Mar 10, Pres. Clinton
visited Guatemala and apologized for US support of rightist regimes
that ruled the country for 3 decades.
(SFC, 3/11/99, p.A1)
1999 Apr 30, In Guatemala some
600 peasants stormed a police station in Huehuetenango and freed 12
former paramilitary members who had just been sentenced to 25 years
in prison for killing peasants in Colotenango in 1993.
(SFC, 5/1/99, p.B1)
1999 May 13, In Guatemala
Roberto Belarino Gonzalez (40), ass't. sec. gen'l. for the
opposition Democratic Front for the New Guatemala (FDNG), was shot
and killed as he left his home.
(SFC, 5/14/99, p.D5)
1999 May 16, A referendum was
scheduled on a package of 50 constitutional reforms that included
recognition of the rights of the Indian majority and modernization
of the army. Voters rejected the referendum 77% to 23%.
(SFC, 5/14/99, p.D5)(SFC, 5/17/99, p.A10)
1999 May 20, A document that
cited the activities of a Guatemalan military unit that kidnapped,
tortured and killed suspected subversives from 1983-1986 was made
public by human rights officials. The document indicated that 100 of
183 listed people were executed.
(SFC, 5/20/99, p.C2)
1999 Jul, Carlos Ochoa Ruiz, a
former Army Lt. Col., was sentenced to 14 years in prison for
cocaine trafficking by Judge Marco Tulio Molina Lara.
(WSJ, 8/13/99, p.A11)
1999 Aug 3, A human rights
officer asked prosecutors to investigate former president Gen'l.
Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores over his role in the kidnapping,
torture and disappearance of scores of people during his rule.
(SFC, 8/5/99, p.A14)
1999 Oct 25, Arturo Herbruger,
former vice president, died at age 87.
(SFC, 10/26/99, p.B4)
1999 Nov 3, In Guatemala City
two campaigners for Alfonso Portillo Cabrera were killed by gunmen.
(SFC, 11/4/99, p.A18)
1999 Nov 7, In Guatemala
Alfonso Portillo of the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) was in a
close race for the presidency with Oscar Berger of the governing
National Advancement (PAN). With 97.5% counted Portillo had 47.8% of
the vote vs. 30.3% for Berger. The FRG won 61 0f the 110-seat
Congress. Portillo was declared the winner with 68% of the vote.
(SFC, 11/8/99, p.A10)(SFC, 11/9/99, p.A13)(SFC,
11/11/99, p.A22)(SFC, 12/27/99, p.A14)
1999 Dec 21, In Guatemala City
a Cubana de Aviacion DC-10 skidded and crashed on landing. At least
26 people were killed.
(SFC, 12/22/99, p.C9)
1999 In Guatemala Candido
Noriega, a paramilitary from the Quiche region, was sentenced to 50
years in 1999 for dozens of killings while working for the army in
the 1980s. He was not tried for forced disappearances.
1999 Belize troops killed 2
Guatemalan civilians in a disputed border area.
(SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)
2000 Jan, The Pacaya Volcano
south of Guatemala City erupted and injured over 50 people with
(SFC, 1/22/00, p.A6)
2000 Apr 30, In Guatemala
villagers in Todos Santos Cuchuman stoned to death a Japanese
tourist, Tetsuo Yamahiro (40), and his tour’s bus driver, Edgar
Castellanos (35), in the belief that they had come to steal
children. The driver was cremated with gasoline.
(SFC, 5/1/00, p.A14)
2000 May 11, Mexico reached a
free-trade agreement with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
(SFC, 5/12/00, p.D2)
2000 May 15, It was reported
that archeologists had found the remains of a large Mayan city in
Peten state. The “El Pajaral" ruins dated to the post-classic period
from about 1200 to 1330.
(SFC, 5/15/00, p.A13)
2000 Jul 8, Some 200 Indian
villagers in Xalvaquiej burned alive 8 men suspected of kidnapping a
raping a young girl last year.
(SFC, 7/12/00, p.A12)
2000 Jul, The legislature
passed a 20% tax on alcoholic beverages. Rios Montt, head of
Congress, was later accused of changing the tax to 10%.
(SFC, 8/25/00, p.D2)
2000 Nov 28, Angry Q’eqchi’
Indians burned to death 5 men, aged 16-18, suspected in the fatal
shooting of a local man during a robbery in Las Conchas.
(SFC, 11/30/00, p.C7)(SFC, 12/1/00, p.D2)
2000 Dec 20, The Congress
approved the use of the US dollar for everyday business.
(SFC, 12/21/00, p.C6)
2000 Dec 24, Thieves stole
equipment in Guatemala City that included computer files of the “Out
of the Dump" project begun in 1991 by Nancy McGirr.
(SFC, 12/31/00, p.B10)
2000 Guatemala officials
claimed that the British mistakenly awarded to Belize some 4,739
square miles of Guatemalan territory.
(SFC, 11/2/00, p.A12)
2001 Mar 12, In Guatemala Judge
Hugo Martinez of Senahu was hacked to death and burned by a mob
after he ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to hold 2 rape
(SFC, 3/14/01, p.C12)
2001 Mar 21, The highest court
ordered former dictator Efraim Rios Montt and 5 ruling-party
lawmakers to give up their congressional posts to face impeachment
(SFC, 3/23/01, p.D2)
2001 May 5, Barbara Ann Ford
(62), a member of the Sisters of Charity of New York, was shot and
killed in an apparent robbery.
(SFC, 5/7/01, p.C4)
2001 Jun 8, In Guatemala 3
soldiers and a priest were found guilty of the 1998 murder of Bishop
Juan Jose Gerardi. The officers were sentenced to 30 years in prison
and Rev. Orantes was sentenced to 20 years. An appeals court in 2002
granted a new trial.
(SFC, 6/9/01, p.A8)(AP, 10/8/02)
2001 Jun 12, A judge ordered
investigations into criminal charges against ex-President Fernando
Romeo Lucas Garcia and Efrain Rios Montt.
(SFC, 6/14/01, p.A14)
2001 Jun 13, Pres. Portillo
fired the top 4 officials of the Communications, Infrastructure and
Housing Ministry following a report of $51 million of improper or
(SSFC, 6/24/01, p.A12)
2001 cAug 12, Two professional
soccer players were killed when lightning hit a metal rail and
electrified all who sat on it. 10 people were badly burned.
(WSJ, 8/13/01, p.A1)
2001 Aug 18, It was reported
that a month-long drought ravaged Central America. Honduras lost 80%
of its basic grains, El Salvador lost 80% of grains in its eastern
provinces, Nicaragua lost 50% and Guatemala lost 80% of its beans in
the eastern provinces. Hundreds of thousands of peasants were
(SFC, 8/18/01, p.A1)
2001 Dec 16, In Guatemala María
Isabel Veliz Franco left home for her job in a clothing store during
school break. She never came home. Her body was found two days later
in a vacant lot with head wounds, bite marks and signs of abuse. The
killing led to the creation in 2016 of the Isabel-Claudina alert, an
inter-institutional cooperation mechanism that has helped rescue
hundreds of missing women. The other name on the alert system is
that of Claudina Velásquez Paiz, a 19-year-old killed in 2005. In
2021 prosecutors said Gustavo Adolfo Bolaños Acevedo (39) was
pursuing a relationship with the teenager. When she rebuffed him, he
2001 In Guatemala Armando Llort
testified in 2011 at an embezzlement trial of Alfonso Portillo that
in 2001 he passed three loads of 30 million quetzales ($3.5 million)
apiece from the bank to the head of Pres. Portillo's security
detail, who took the money away in an armored car.
2002 Jan 9, In Guatemala City
the interior minister fired the civil police chief and replaced him
with Luis Arturo Paniagua, chief of the military academy from
(SFC, 1/10/02, p.A7)
2002 Feb 10-11, A 2,100 foot
stretch of lava flowed down from Volcano del Fuego near Antigua.
(SFC, 2/16/02, p.A26)
2002 May 21, It was reported
that scientists in Guatemala had found the source of jade deposits
used by the Olmecs and Mayans.
(SFC, 5/22/02, p.A2)
2002 Jun 10, Economic Minister
Arturo Montenegro unveiled a sweeping economic stimulus package
Monday designed to double the country's 3 percent annual growth
2002 Jun 15, In Guatemala
despite accusations that he oversaw massacres in the 1980s and
corruption scandals in the 1990s, durable former dictator Efrain
Rios Montt won yet another term as leader of the ruling party.
2002 Jun 17, In northern
Guatemala about 8,000 ex-paramilitary fighters, wielding machetes
and clubs, blocked roads, demanding payment from the government for
their services during the country's 36-year guerrilla war. They were
disbanded in 1996.
(AP, 6/17/02)(SFC, 6/18/02, p.A9)
2002 Jul 19, In eastern
Guatemala a passenger bus slammed head-on into a semi truck, killing
2002 Jul 29, Pope John Paul II
arrived in Guatemala. Thousands of young people packed into a soccer
stadium and spent the night waving candles and chanting "John Paul
II, Guatemala loves you.
2002 Jul 30, In Guatemala City
Pope John Paul II canonized his 463rd saint, Pedro de San Jose
Betancur, a 17th century Spanish missionary and Central America's
(SFC, 7/31/02, p.A2)(AP, 7/30/07)
2002 Aug 6, Surgeons in LA
completed a 22-hour operation on Guatemalan twins, Maria de Jesus
Quiej Alvarez and sister Maria Teresa, joined at their heads. UCLA
doctors donated their services in the $1.5 million operation. They
returned to Guatemala Jan 13, 2003.
(SFC, 8/7/02, p.A1)(SFC, 8/8/02, p.A3)(SFC,
2002 Sep 1, President Alfonso
Portillo announced plans to cut the size of Guatemala's armed forces
by 20% and convert the extra military installations into schools.
2002 Sep 8, In Guatemala local
media reported that anthropologists digging under a school in
Rabinal, in Guatemala's northern highlands, had unearthed the
remains of 47 people killed during the country's 1960-1996 civil
2002 Sep 9, In El Salvador a
small plane crashed into the slopes of a mountain, killing four
prominent Guatemala businessmen and the pilot.
2002 Sep 12, In western
Guatemala heavy rains loosened a mountainside, burying about 30
homes and killing at least 17 people. Officials said that nearly two
dozen others were missing.
2002 Sep 11, The Guatemala
Congress enacted a law that prohibited racial discrimination.
(SFC, 9/13/02, p.A11)
2002 Sep 13, In Guatemala
Miguel Angel Orozco (33), a policeman who had shot a woman, was
seized and burned to death by an angry mob in Coatepeque. Radio
stations quoted witnesses as saying Orozco had been drunk at the
2002 Sep 17, The foreign
secretaries of Belize and Guatemala announced a proposed border
settlement in their countries. The proposal retains the border
between the two countries established in a 1959 treaty, which
Guatemala has rejected, and suggests a series of measures aimed at
2002 Sep 29, In Guatemala a bus
carrying at least 45 passengers plunged into the Selegua River, and
23 of them drowned.
(AP, 9/30/02)(AP, 10/3/02)
2002 Oct 3, In Guatemala Col.
Juan Valencia was found guilty of ordering the killing of human
rights activist Myrna Mack in 1990 and sentenced to a maximum 30
years in prison. But two other military officials were acquitted.
2002 Dec 24, A brutal riot by
prisoners in a jail outside Guatemala's capital left 18 inmates dead
over two days, including one person by decapitation and 14 others
who were burned to death.
2002 Richard Hansen, part-time
archeologist and Idaho potato farmer, persuaded Pres. Alfonso
Portillo to declare the Mayan site of El Mirador a protected area.
Hansen hoped to help create a 525,000–acre Mayan national park.
(WSJ, 11/12/05, p.A1)
2002 In Guatemala anti-drug
forces led a bloody raid on Chocon, a corn-growing village. 2 locals
were killed but no drug seizures were made. In 2003 16 members of
the drug force were sentenced to 25 years in prison for the violent
2003 Jan 26, In Guatemala a
security guard opened fire with a shotgun at thousands of people
gathered for a political convention of the National Union of Hope
party. Isaias Caal Ichich wounded 5 people.
2003 Feb 8, Augusto Monterosso
(81), Honduras-born Guatemalan writer, died in Mexico City. His work
included “Perpetual Movement" (1972); “The Letter E: Fragments of a
Diary" (1987); and “The Magic Word" (1983).
(SFC, 2/10/03, p.B5)
2003 Feb 12, A bloody prison
riot near Guatemala City left at least 6 inmates dead, and a man
convicted in the high-profile murder case of Roman Catholic Bishop
Juan Gerardi was among the dead.
2003 Feb 26, In Guatemala
striking teachers seized a pumping station on the nation’s only oil
pipeline to press their demands for a hefty wage increase and better
schools. About 60,000 of the country’s 80,000 teachers are striking
to demand a near-doubling of salaries that now range from about $190
to $390 per month. They also seek improved school buildings, more
books and better school lunches.
2003 Apr 2, Guatemala City
police raided the house of a suspected drug lord and found $14
million in cash.
(SFC, 4/4/03, p.A18)
2003 Apr 23, A mudslide in
western Guatemala killed seven people and left more than a dozen
2003 Jul 24, In Guatemala
protesters demanding that former dictator Rios Montt be allowed to
run for president touched off a wave of violence that paralyzed the
2003 Jul 30, Guatemala's
highest court cleared the way for former dictator Efrain Rios Montt
to run for president.
2003 Sep 4, Mario Monteforte
Toledo, Guatemalan writer and activist, died. His work included the
1952 novel "En Donde Acaban los Caminos" (Where the Roads End).
(SFC, 9/5/03, p.A23)
2003 Oct 26, In Guatemala 4
journalists from the Prensa Libre newspaper were seized by
ex-paramilitary members and apparently were being held to press the
group's demand that the government pay them wages for their service
in the 1980s.
2003 Oct 28, Former Guatemala
paramilitary fighters released four journalists and three other
hostages after the government promised to pay the ex-soldiers for
their services during the 36-year civil war.
203 Nov 9, Guatemala held
presidential elections. Polls showed that former Guatemala City
Mayor Oscar Berger (57) was statistically tied with center-left
engineer Alvaro Colom (52).
2003 Nov 10, With 20 percent of
the vote counted, former Guatemala City Mayor Oscar Berger had 47.6
percent of the vote compared with 26.4 percent for center-left
candidate Alvaro Colom and 11.2 percent for retired Gen. Efrain Rios
2003 Nov 28, AIDS in Guatemala
was reported to kill an estimated 10 people a day.
(SFC, 11/28/03, p.C2)
2003 Dec 6, Guatemala former
president and Gen. Carlos Arana Osorio (85), a hard-line
conservative who ruled from 1970 to 1974, died in a Guatemala City
2003 Dec 7, Former Guatemala
Pres. Arnoldo Aleman, dogged by corruption allegations for years,
was convicted of embezzling millions of dollars from his
impoverished country and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
2003 Dec 17, The Bush
administration reached a free-trade deal with El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua for immediate duty-free access to
half of all US farm exports and 80% of consumer goods.
(WSJ, 12/18/03, p.A1)
2003 Dec 28, Guatemala's
presidential polls opened in a runoff featuring a former Guatemala
City mayor popular with the country's elite facing an engineer
backed by former leftist rebels.
2003 Dec 29, Oscar Berger, the
pro-business former mayor of Guatemala City won an easy victory in
the presidential run-off, four years after he left politics and
swore he would never come back. Berger won 54% vs. 46% for Alvaro
(AP, 12/29/03)(Econ, 1/3/04, p.24)
2003 Dec, Jane Fonda traveled
to Guatemala to attract media attention to the cases of over 700
women slain since 2001. Legal investigations had only produced 32
arrests and 11 convictions.
(SFC, 12/30/03, p.E1)
2004 Jan 7, Guatemala signed an
accord to let UN prosecutors handle organized crime and human-rights
(AP, 1/8/04)(WSJ, 1/8/04, p.A1)
2004 Jan 7, In southwestern
Guatemala men with automatic weapons hijacked a minibus carrying 13
American tourists, killing one passenger. In 2005 Henry Giovanny
Vicente (27), and Marvin Sebastian Berganza (29) were convicted by a
3-judge panel of being accomplices in the killing of Brett Richards,
a 52-year-old architect from Ogden, Utah, who died during a
confrontation with bandits who hijacked a bus of Mormon tourists
visiting Mayan ruins.
(AP, 1/8/04)(WSJ, 1/8/04, p.A1)(AP, 11/30/05)
2004 Jan 8, A Guatemalan court
ordered the government to stop providing back pay to members of
civilian defense patrols for their services in the 36-year civil
2004 Jan 14, Rios Montt lost
his parliamentary immunity when he had to give up his seat as
president of the Guatemalan Congress.
(WPR, 3/04, p.26)
2004 Jan 17, In Guatemala Nobel
Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu said she will become one of new
President Oscar Berger's top officials in charge of monitoring
adherence to the U.N.-brokered peace accords that ended 36 years of
2004 Jan 31, Pres. Oscar Berger
said Guatemala will distribute 970 tons of food to some 77,000
people in a bid to alleviate hunger in poverty-stricken towns.
2004 Mar 3, Guatemala's
Congress fired Oscar Dubon, the government's chief accountant, after
he fled the country amid allegations of political corruption.
2004 Mar 18, In northeast
Guatemala a bus collided with a tractor-trailer, killing at least 14
2004 Apr 1, Pres. Oscar Berger
said Guatemala will cut its army in half and slash the military
budget to comply with peace accords that ended a 36-year civil war.
2004 Apr 21, Otto Herrera (39),
a Guatemalan man described by U.S. authorities as Central America's
most-wanted drug smuggler, was captured by Mexican agents at Mexico
City's Juarez Int'l. Airport. Mexico made the arrest at the request
of U.S. authorities who had offered a $5 million reward for his
2004 Apr 22, Guatemala Pres.
Oscar Berger joined the heads of Congress and the Supreme Court in
publicly acknowledging government responsibility in the 1990 killing
of human rights leader Myrna Mack.
2004 May 28, US officials and 5
Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras and Nicaragua) signed a free trade pact (CAFTA), to be
later approved by Congress. The Dominican Republic would be included
(SFC, 5/29/04, p.A4)
2004 Jul 28, Francisco Reyes,
former Guatemalan vice president (2000-2004), was arrested on
charges of illegally taking over a government property worth $2.4
2004 Jul 31, In Guatemala the
number of murders for the year reached close to 2,000.
(Econ, 7/31/04, p.32)
2004 Aug 31, In southern
Guatemala landless farm workers resisted police attempts to remove
them from a farm they had occupied and at least four police officers
and three farmers died in the battle.
2004 Sep 7, Hundreds of angry
farmers seized Guatemala's largest hydroelectric dam, threatening to
shut off power to large parts of the country unless the government
agrees to return nearby lands to them.
2004 Dec 3, In western
Guatemala 2 buses collided head-on along a mountain highway, and one
toppled into a nearby ravine, killing 21 people and injuring at
2004 Dec 10, President Oscar
Berger said Guatemalan academics will create a university dedicated
to rescuing and developing the ancient knowledge of the country's
2004 In Guatemala 527 women
were murdered. Methods used in the murders were reminiscent of those
employed against the guerrillas and the residents of rural
indigenous villages during the 1960-1996 civil war.
2005 Feb 4, Guatemala's highest
court said it cannot try soldiers charged with participating in a
wartime massacre of more than 300 civilians until a separate court
determines if the country's postwar reconciliation law bars such
2005 Mar 1, In Guatemala City
some 8,000 protesters, most of them teachers, demonstrated in the
capital against a pending free-trade agreement between Central
America and the US.
2005 Mar 3, The seven Central
American nations (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) agreed to create a rapid-response
force to combat drug trafficking, terrorism and other regional
2005 Mar 8, In Guatemala City
hundreds of protesters blocked lawmakers from voting on a free-trade
agreement between Central America and the US and authorities said
they were prepared to send troops if the demonstrations continued.
2005 Mar 14, Protesters across
Guatemala denounced a regional free trade deal with the US closed
schools, blocked highways and clashed with police in confrontations
that left 19 people injured and two arrested.
2005 Mar 24, Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld announced the US will release $3.2 million
in aid to Guatemala for its progress in overhauling a military once
blamed for human rights abuses.
2005 Mar 31, A UNESCO team
arrived in Guatemala to push forward the candidature process
of El Mirador archaeological site as a World Heritage Site. In the
spring Pres. Oscar Berger repealed a 2002 decree by Pres. Alfonso
Portillo declaring the Mayan site of El Mirador a protected area.
(WSJ, 11/12/05, p.A5)(http://tinyurl.com/beeku)
2005 Apr 25, In San Pedro
Sacatepequez, Guatemala, gunmen killed Jose Victor Bautista Orozco,
a judge who ruled on drug smuggling cases, shooting him as he left
his home for work.
2005 May 20, In Guatemala an
angry mob in the remote settlement of Cruz Chich set fire to 6
people accused of forming a band of robbers, killing 4 as
authorities tried to stop the violence.
2005 Jun 15, In Guatemala a
rain-sodden hillside gave way and buried houses in seven
neighborhoods of a rural town, killing at least 21 people.
2005 Jun 18, In Guatemala huge
explosions rocked a weapons storehouse on a military base north of
Guatemala City. There were no casualties.
2005 Jun 30, In Honduras
Central American leaders agreed to create a regional special forces
unit to fight drug trafficking, gang violence and terrorism within
their borders. The 2-day regional meeting included the presidents of
Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico,
Nicaragua, and Panama.
2005 Jun, In Guatemala City
police files were discovered by human rights prosecutors while they
searched for explosives in a musty police building. The new files
were expected to shed light on details of the abuses and possibly
help relatives learn what happened to some of the estimated 40,000
people who disappeared during the war, most between 1975-85.
2005 Jul 18, Under orders from
an international court, Guatemala apologized for the
government-directed massacre of 226 people in Plan de Sanchez on
July 18, 1982.
2005 Jul 19, In Guatemala a
judge issued an arrest warrant for former President Alfonso Portillo
(2000-2004) in connection with the alleged misuse of millions of
dollars during his tenure. Portillo, who fled to Mexico, is accused
of authorizing the transfer of $16 million from the finance
department to the defense department, where investigators allege
much of it was converted to cash and pocketed by officials close to
2005 Aug 15, Near-simultaneous
attacks and riots at 7 Guatemalan prisons left 31 inmates dead. They
showed the organizational power of Central America's gangs, whose
members communicate between prisons through cell phones and
2005 Sep 6, Dominican Republic
legislators overwhelmingly approved a free-trade agreement with the
US and five Central American countries, rejecting arguments that the
pact would devastate the domestic sugar industry. The other five
countries are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and
Nicaragua. Costa Rica and Nicaragua had not yet ratified the pact.
2005 Sep 8, El Salvador said
that “Operation International" simultaneous raids this week in El
Salvador, the US, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico netted 660
dangerous gang members.
2005 Sep 10, In Mexico 7
Guatemala men were caught near the Guatemalan border with six
large-caliber rifles and 1,600 rounds of ammunition. They faced
charges of weapons trafficking.
2005 Sep 19, In Guatemala gang
members armed with guns and grenades burst inside a youth prison and
slaughtered 12 inmates, leaving behind a gruesome, bloody scene.
Members of the Mara Salvatrucha launched a well-organized attack on
imprisoned members of the rival Mara 18 gang as they slept at Etapa
II, or Phase II prison.
2005 Oct 5, Hurricane Stan
knocked down trees, ripped roofs off homes and washed out bridges in
southeastern Mexico, but it was the storms it helped spawn that were
far more destructive, killing more than 65 people in Central
America. Officials in El Salvador said 49 people had been killed,
mostly due to two days of mudslides sparked by rains. 9 people died
in Nicaragua, including six migrants believed to be Ecuadorians
killed in a boat accident. Four deaths were reported in Honduras,
three in Guatemala and one in Costa Rica.
2005 Oct 6-2005 Oct 8, In
Guatemala rescue workers searched for victims of a mudslide near
Lake Atitlan, a volcano-ringed lake popular with tourists. Panabaj
and Tzanchaz were entombed by a mudflow half a mile wide. The death
toll in the region from flooding sparked by Hurricane Stan soon
climbed to 617 with 42 dead in Mexico, 72 dead in El Salvador and 11
dead in Nicaragua.
(SFC, 10/7/05, p.A3)(AP, 10/9/05)(Econ, 10/15/05,
2005 Oct 9, A frantic search
for about 1,400 people believed to be buried alive by a mudslide in
the Maya village of Panabaj, Guatemala, was continuing as the death
toll from massive floods throughout Central America and Mexico rose
to a staggering 618.
(AFP, 10/9/05)(WSJ, 10/11/05, p.A1)
2005 Oct 10, Guatemalan
officials said they would abandon communities buried by landslides
and declare them mass graveyards as reports of devastation trickled
in from some of the more than 100 communities cut off from the
outside world after killer mudslides.
2005 Oct 13, Authorities said
the number of people missing in Guatemala after last week's flooding
and mudslides rose to 828, while the confirmed death toll held
steady at 654.
2005 Oct 22, At least 20
Guatemalan inmates considered to be extremely dangerous escaped from
a high-security prison through a tunnel 50 miles south of Guatemala
2005 Oct 29, In Guatemala City
a group of gang members opened fire on a prison truck, killing two
guards as they were leaving work at the end of their shift and
wounding a third.
2005 Nov 6, Adan Castillo,
Guatemala's top anti-narcotics investigator, said he plans to step
down in December, after just six months on the job. Castillo said
his country's anti-drug agents are no match for some 4,000 smugglers
operating in Guatemala.
2005 Nov 15, Guatemala police
found five packages of cocaine and thousands of dollars in cash in
the office of Adam Castillo, the country’s top anti-drug cop,
shortly after he was lured to America and arrested on charges of
conspiring to ship cocaine into the US. Deputies Jorge Aguilar
Garcia and Rubilio Palacios were arrested with Castillo.
2005 Dec 14, The US deported
Junior Vinicio Abadio Carrillo (32), the son of Guatemala's former
tax chief, to face charges of embezzling millions of public dollars.
2005 In Guatemala 624 women
were murdered this year up from 213 in 2000.
(Econ, 11/18/06, p.42)
2006 Jan 1, The Central America
Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) failed to start due to legal and
regulatory reforms. Juan Carlos Paiz of the Guatemalan Union of
Nontraditional Products blamed the US in large part for the delay,
saying Washington was requiring too much of its poorer partners. The
6 participating nations included, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El
Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua,
2006 Jan 23, Ugandan rebels
killed eight Guatemalan peacekeepers in Congo in an ambush near the
border with Sudan. The gunbattle also left 15 attackers dead.
2006 Feb 2, Guatemalan police
said they have arrested 7 Christian fundamentalist vigilantes who
extorted travelers and may have killed five people they believed
2006 Mar 30, In western
Guatemala 4 people were killed and 12 others were injured in an
explosion at a home-based fireworks factory.
2006 Apr 3, In western
Guatemala 4 young men accused of trying to rob a school were whipped
by their parents in a sentence dictated by Mayan elders.
2006 Apr 6, In Guatemala Mario
Pivaral, an opposition congressman, was shot to death as he stepped
out of his party's headquarters, the 2nd lawmaker assassinated in
the past two years.
2006 Apr 19, In Guatemala a mob
burned a man and a woman to death after accusing them of several
child abductions in the predominantly Mayan town of Sumpango, where
residents have long claimed youngsters are snatched and the police
2006 Apr, Archeologists
unearthed a major Maya Indian royal burial site in the Guatemalan
jungle, discovering jade jewelry and a jaguar pelt from more than
1,500 years ago. The tomb, found by archeologist Hector Escobedo
contained a king of the El Peru Waka city.
2006 May 27, Romeo Lucas Garcia
(81), former Guatemalan President (1978-1982), died in Venezuela.
His rule was marked by a bloody police raid on the Spanish Embassy.
2006 Jun 30, A US free-trade
agreement with Guatemala took effect.
(SFC, 7/1/06, p.A3)
2006 Jul 7, A Spanish judge
charged two former Guatemalan dictators with genocide and issued
international warrants for their arrest. National Court Judge
Santiago Pedraz issued warrants on charges of genocide, torture,
terrorism and illegal detention against Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, Gen.
Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores and six other men.
2006 Jul 11, Central American
presidents agreed on a plan to ease border controls and install a
common customs system on the way to negotiating an eventual
free-trade agreement with the EU. The agreement signed by Panama,
Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize
would allow residents to cross borders without passports or visas.
2006 Aug 28, Gunmen opened fire
with assault rifles in a Guatemala pool hall, killing eight people
including a 17-year-old boy. The attack occurred in the poor
Guatemala City suburb of Ciudad Quetzal.
2006 Sep 7, Gunmen held up a
truck in a restricted area of Guatemala City's international airport
and made off with $8 million of $22 million that was to be shipped
from the Bank of Guatemala to the U.S. Federal Reserve.
2006 Sep 25, Guatemalan
security forces took over the Pavon prison farm, which had been
controlled for more than 10 years by inmates who produced drugs,
lived in spacious homes with luxury goods and even rented space for
stores and restaurants. 7 prisoners died when 3,000 police and
soldiers firing automatic weapons stormed the prison just after
dawn. In 2018 Erwin Sperisen, Guatemala's former police chief, was
slapped with a 15-year prison sentence in Switzerland after being
reconvicted for the deaths of seven inmates in Pavon jail. Sperisen
held dual Swiss and Guatemalan citizenship and local rules allowed
Swiss citizens to be tried at home for crimes committed abroad.
(Reuters, 9/25/06)(AP, 11/14/10)(AFP, 4/27/18)
2006 Oct 8, In northern
Guatemala an overcrowded passenger bus driving in heavy rain plunged
off a cliff, killing at least 34 people.
2006 Oct 16, Guatemala topped
Venezuela in the first round of voting for a UN Security Council
seat, but it failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority to win
a two-year term on the decision-making body. The 192-nation General
Assembly elected South Africa, Indonesia, Italy and Belgium for the
four other open seats in a secret ballot. 10 rounds of voting failed
to anoint a winner to fill the spot reserved for Latin America.
(AP, 10/16/06)(AP, 10/17/06)
2006 Nov 1, Venezuela and
US-backed Guatemala agreed to withdraw from the race and support
Panama, a compromise reached after voting in the UN General Assembly
dragged through 47 rounds of balloting.
2006 Nov 3, In Guatemala
toddler Anyeli Hernandez Rodriguez (b.2004) was snatched. She was
later adopted by a Missouri couple. As of 2012 the US would not
return the girl because the two countries only signed the Hague
Abduction Convention on Jan 1, 2008. The girl left Guatemala on Dec.
(SFC, 5/15/12, p.A2)(http://tinyurl.com/btkmzc6)
2006 Nov 20, In Guatemala City
an enormous fire broke out at Central America's largest open-air
market killing 15 people, including three minors.
2006 Dec 12, A UN-backed
commission, the Int’l. Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala
(CICIG), was established to investigate rampant organized crime in
Guatemala, which authorities said has become a key point of transit
for smugglers bringing drugs into the US.
(AP, 12/12/06)(Econ, 3/13/10, p.39)
2006 Dec 24, In Guatemala 80
residents of a drug and alcohol treatment center escaped and 13
others were injured in a rebellion that started when patients were
told they could not leave to celebrate Christmas.
2006 Pentecostalism was
reported to be sweeping across Guatemala.
(Econ, 12/23/06, p.49)
2006 In Guatemala the police
force numbered some 20,000 officers with the population at around 13
million. 1.5% of the country’s farmers owned 62.5% of the farmland.
(Econ, 11/18/06, p.42)
2006 In Guatemala nearly 600
women were killed this year. The murder rate for the year was 47 per
100,000 people, the second highest in the Americas.
(SSFC, 3/25/07, p.E3)(Econ, 9/8/07, p.40)
2007 Jan 14, Guatemala's Pres.
Oscar Berger declined to read his state-of-the nation speech to
Congress, instead sending a written version to lawmakers after
violent clashes erupted between protesting teachers and police
outside the legislative building.
2007 Jan 26, Inmates rioted at
a prison on the outskirts of Guatemala City, leaving at least one
person dead before 3,000 riot police and soldiers stormed the
2007 Feb 12, In Guatemala
Rigoberta Menchu, Nobel Peace Prize winner, announced the formation
of an Indian-led political movement whose primary aim is to back her
probable bid for the presidency this fall.
2007 Feb 19, Police found the
charred bodies of three Salvadoran representatives to the Central
American Parliament and their driver on a rural road outside
2007 Feb 21, Nobel Peace Prize
winner Rigoberta Menchu announced that she will run for the
presidency of Guatemala in the country's September elections, a move
likely fuel talk about an Indian resurgence in Latin American
2007 Feb 22, In Guatemala a top
police official and three other officers were arrested in the
killings of three Central American Parliament members, including the
son of the alleged founder of El Salvador's death squads.
2007 Feb 23, In Guatemala a
330-foot-deep sinkhole killed two teenage siblings when it swallowed
about a dozen homes and forced the evacuation of nearly 1,000 people
in a crowded Guatemala City neighborhood. A 3rd body was found the
2007 Feb 25, Four imprisoned
Guatemalan policemen were killed in their cells, days after being
arrested in connection with the deaths of three Salvadoran
politicians. Rioting inmates also took the warden and other prison
2007 Feb 28, The fifth of six
former Guatemalan police officers suspected in the killings of three
Salvadoran politicians and their driver turned himself. Prosecutors
said the ex-officer allegedly bought the gasoline used to burn the
2007 Mar 6, Guatemala's
president ordered the national police to clean out corrupt officers
and upgrade training after six members of the force were accused of
killing three Central American Parliament members.
2007 Mar 17, Officials in
Guatemala City said China is seeking to join the Inter-American
Development Bank, Latin America's largest financing institution, as
a way to fuel its economic development and increase its influence in
2007 Mar 20, Guatemala police
arrested 4 people on suspicion of being among those who orchestrated
the killings of three Salvadoran politicians and their driver in Feb
2007 Mar 21, In Guatemala a top
human rights official said a newly created international council of
experts will oversee and protect extensive police archives exposing
atrocities committed during Guatemala's 36-year civil war.
2007 Mar 26, Guatemala's
interior minister resigned in the wake of a scandal over police
investigators' alleged involvement in the grisly murder of three
Salvadoran politicians last month. Rioting gang members fired dozens
of gunshots, killing three inmates, and took two guards and two food
service workers hostage in a southern Guatemala prison.
(AP, 3/26/07)(AP, 3/27/07)
2007 Mar 27, Guatemala named
Adela Camacho de Torrebiarte (57), an anti-crime crusader, as its
first female interior minister.
2007 May 22, Guatemala ratified
the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions, an international
adoption treaty, committing to bring adoptions under government
regulation and make sure babies are not bought or stolen.
2007 May 27, The inaugural
sermon was held at Mega Frater, Central America's biggest church.
The new center of the Fraternidad Cristiana, a Neo-Pentecostal
church based in the Guatemalan City, includes an auditorium that
seats 12,500, a seven-story parking tower topped with a helipad and
a day-care center for 3,000 kids.
2007 Jun 13, A magnitude 6.8
earthquake hit Guatemala, but casualties appeared light.
(WSJ, 6/14/07, p.A1)
2007 Jun 15, In Guatemala
villagers in Muyurco killed a woman and attacked two others after
accusing them of kidnapping a 9-year-old girl who was later found
2007 Jul 2, About 1,500
residents of a remote Guatemalan village rioted over the purported
kidnappings of two children, burning down a police station and
holding their mayor and another man hostage.
2007 Jul 10, Railroad
Development Corp., a Pittsburgh-based railroad company under Henry
Posner III, planned to shut down Guatemala's only train service
after years of fighting thieves, squatters and government-backed
lawsuits. Posner expected to take his case to int’l. arbitration
under CAFTA with a demand for $65 million in lost revenues and
(AP, 7/10/07)(WSJ, 1/23/07, p.A14)
2007 Jul 18, Guatemalan police
rescued a two-month-old boy who had been stolen from his home and
arrested four people who were allegedly preparing the baby for
2007 Aug 1, Guatemala's
Congress voted to create a commission of foreign experts to
investigate organized crime and police corruption.
2007 Aug 11, In Guatemala 46
children believed abducted or coerced from their parents were
rescued from Casa Quivira, an adoption home catering to foreigners
run by Clifford Phillips of Deland, Fla., and his Guatemalan wife
and attorney, Sandra Gonzalez.
2007 Aug 19, US Customs seized
a submarine-like vessel filled with hundreds of millions of dollars
worth of cocaine off the Guatemalan coast.
2007 Sep 5, In Guatemala 2
candidates from Nobel Laureate and presidential hopeful Rigoberta
Menchu's political party were shot dead amid a wave of
campaign-related violence that has claimed about 50 lives.
2007 Sep 9, Guatemala held
presidential elections. Front runners Alvaro Colom, candidate of the
center left National Unity of Hope party, and Otto Perez Molina, of
the conservative Patriotic Party, were virtually tied in recent
polls. The 2 candidates faced a presidential runoff in November
after a close first-round vote.
(SSFC, 9/9/07, p.A1)(AP, 9/10/07)
2007 Oct 8, In Guatemala City
the security guard and secretary of Otto Perez, the leading
presidential candidate, were shot and killed. Perez blamed organized
(SFC, 10/9/07, p.A3)
2007 Oct 16, A boat from
Guatemala with over 20 migrants capsized. Mexican authorities by the
end of the week recovered the bodies of 15 migrants. The vessel was
believed to be carrying more than 20 people. There were 2 survivors.
2007 Nov 4, In Guatemala Alvaro
Colom, a businessman promising to end Guatemala's desperate poverty,
won the country's presidential election. Otto Perez Molina (56), a
former general vowing a crackdown on rampant crime, had held a slim
edge in polls over Alvaro Colom. Only 48% of registered voters went
to the polls. Colom’s National Union of Hope will control only 52 of
158 seats in Congress.
(AP, 11/4/07)(Econ, 11/10/07, p.47)
2007 Dec 11, Guatemalan
legislators approved a new law that tightens adoptions, while
allowing pending cases, mostly involving US couples, to go through
without meeting stricter requirements.
2007 Dec 21, In Guatemala
congressman-elect Marco Antonio Xicay (42) of the conservative
Patriotic Party was shot to death by unidentified attackers outside
the popular Fuentes Georginas resort.
2007 In Guatemala 56
politicians or party activists were killed during the presidential
(Econ, 5/23/09, p.40)
2008 Jan 1, The US and
Guatemala formally ratified the Hague Abduction Convention.
(SFC, 5/15/12, p.A2)
2008 Jan 7, In Guatemala the
National Convergence Front (FCN) was formed by former military
officers. In March 2013, the party chose the popular comic TV actor
Jimmy Morales as its secretary-general.
2008 Jan 14, Alvaro Colom (56)
was sworn in for a four-year term as president of Guatemala, along
with Vice President Rafael Espada, who gave up a decades-long
medical career in Texas to return to Guatemala last year as Colom's
2008 Feb 5, In Guatemala 5 bus
drivers were shot dead, each while driving passengers on different
main roads into Guatemala City. 7 more were killed the following
day, prompting their colleagues to go on strike for several days.
(Econ, 3/22/08, p.40)
2008 Feb 22, An angry mob in
Guatemala, that took 29 policemen hostage a day earlier, released
the officers in exchange for talks with the government on legalizing
their lands and possibly dropping charges against a jailed farm
2008 Feb 25, In Guatemala
President Alvaro Colom announced that a new panel will work to
declassify military documents that should shed light on killings,
torture and other human rights violations during Guatemala's 36-year
2008 Feb 29, In Guatemala an
overcrowded bus plunged off a highway and rolled into a gully,
killing 45 people and injuring 20 more.
2008 Mar 10, Guatemala's first
trial on "forced disappearance" charges began in connection with six
civilians who went missing during the nation's 36-year civil war.
2008 Mar 25, In eastern
Guatemala at least nine people were killed and seven wounded in a
shootout that is likely tied to drug traffickers. Guatemalan drug
boss Juan Jose "Juancho" Leon was summoned by Mexican traffickers
for what he was told was business. Instead, dozens of attackers
ambushed his entourage with grenades and assault rifles, killing
Leon and 10 others in a brazen demonstration of power.
(AP, 3/25/08)(AP, 7/21/09)
2008 Apr 6, In southern Mexico
a truck carrying Central American migrants in a hidden compartment
plunged into a reservoir, killing at least eight people. Most of the
migrants were believed to be from Guatemala.
2008 Apr 8, In Guatemala gunmen
killed Victor Rivera, a former top government security adviser, a
week after he was fired by President Alvaro Colom amid complaints he
had become too powerful.
2008 May 5, Guatemala's
attorney general said 2,286 pending foreign adoptions have been
placed on hold for at least a month while officials review related
2008 May 7, Rosalina Rivera,
the sister of a Guatemalan congressman, was charged with running an
illegal adoption ring after police found nine children in her home.
Rivera is the sister of congressman Gudy Rivera, president of a
congressional committee on minors and family affairs.
2008 Jun 27, In Guatemala a
helicopter crash killed Interior Minister Vinicio Gomez and three
2008 Jul 12, President Hugo
Chavez said that he is expanding his Venezuela's Petrocaribe
oil-supply pact to include Guatemala.
2008 Aug 9, In northeastern
Guatemala robbers armed with machetes hacked a US tourist to death
and seriously wounded his wife in an attack aboard the couple's
sailboat on Lake Izabal.
2008 Aug 24, In Guatemala a
Cessna Caravan carrying humanitarian workers crashed about 60 miles
east of Guatemala City killing 10 people, including five Americans.
At least 2 people survived. The plane was headed to a village in the
area of El Estor to build homes for CHOICE Humanitarian, a group
based in West Jordan, Utah.
2008 Sep 17, The US Coast Guard
intercepted a submarine-like vessel carrying 7 tons of cocaine about
400 miles south of the Mexico-Guatemala border. The Coast Guard sank
the vessel after determining it was too unstable to be towed to
2008 Oct 7, Mexico extradited
former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo (2000-2004) to face
corruption charges, and the ex-leader told a judge there is no
evidence to support the allegations against him.
2008 Oct 22, In Guatemala City
Abel Giron (29), a layout designer for El Periodico newspaper, died
after being struck in the heart with an arrow fired by assailants
waiting for him outside his home.
2008 Nov 8, In Guatemala 15
bodies were found after a bus burned on an unpaved road in a
mountain valley about 90 miles (140 kilometers) east of the capital,
Guatemala City. The bus had originated in Nicaragua and all the
bodies had been shot before being set on fire. On March 31, 2009,
Investigators in Guatemala announced that a drug gang was
responsible for the grisly killings of 15 Nicaraguans and a Dutch
man aboard the bus. In 2010 Juan Carlos Policarpi was convicted
sentenced to multiple life terms. Rony Terraza was also convicted
and sentenced to three years in prison. Authorities arrested a
former police officer in connection with the attack and sought seven
more people in the case.
(AP, 11/10/08)(AP, 4/1/09)(AP, 6/9/10)
2008 Nov 22, A prison fight in
Guatemala has left seven inmates dead, including five who were
decapitated. The fight in the Pavoncito prison in Guatemala City
erupted because inmates were angry over the transfer of a group of
alleged gang members from another prison.
2008 Nov 22, In Guatemala the
head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia was among three
people killed in a boat accident on Lake Atitlan.
2008 Nov 30, In Guatemala
Mexican and Guatemalan drug traffickers, arguing about a horse race
in the rural border town of Santa Ana Huista, began a series of
gunbattles in which 17 people died.
2008 Dec 12, In Guatemala a
mob in San Pedro Solom beat and then shot to death five men
suspected of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl.
2009 Jan 4, A northern
Guatemala mudslide left at least 37 people dead. At least 50 people
were still missing in Aquil Grande.
(AP, 1/5/09)(AP, 1/6/09)(AP, 1/7/09)
2009 Jan 30, Guatemala's
government filed 3,350 criminal complaints accusing former soldiers,
paramilitaries and others of human rights violations against more
than 5,000 civilians during the country's 1960-1996 civil war.
2009 Mar 3, Guatemala’s
President Alvaro Colom announced that a new government commission
will organize and declassify military documents that could shed
light on torture, disappearances and other atrocities during
Guatemala's 36-year civil war. Inmates at a Guatemalan juvenile
prison killed Winter Vidaurre, one of their teachers, during a riot.
They removed his heart before police regained control of the prison
using tear gas. The prisoners had taken three of their teachers
hostage to protest the transfer of several of their fellow inmates
to another detention center.
2009 Mar 26, In northern
Guatemala a hitman training camp for Mexico's infamous Gulf cartel
was found, along with 500 grenades. Officials seized six rifles,
three motorcycles and several boxes of ammunition during the
operation. The hitmen were among those carrying out nearly daily
attacks on Guatemalan buses in which the driver is often killed.
2009 Apr 9, Guatemala banned
more than one person from riding on motorcycles in a policy aimed at
stamping out attacks by cycle-mounted hit men.
2009 Apr 25, In Guatemala
police announced that they had seized more than 500 grenades,
anti-personnel mines, machine guns, 350 kilograms (770 pounds) of
cocaine and two armored cars at a warehouse where five anti-drug
agents were killed in a shootout the previous day.
2009 May 8, In Ireland Dr. Yuri
Melini (47), a leading Guatemalan environmentalist who recently
survived an assassination attempt, won a human rights award for his
efforts to stop the rapid growth of mines in his mineral-rich
nation. Melini received the annual Front Line Award for Human Rights
Defenders at Risk in a Dublin City Hall ceremony.
2009 May 10, In Guatemala
lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg was shot to death by unidentified
assailants while riding his bicycle. The next day a video tape that
emerged alleging that if anything happened to him it would be at the
behest of Guatemalan Pres. Alvaro Colom with help from Gustavo
Alejos," the president's chief of staff, Gregorio Valdez, a
businessman, and the approval of Sandra Torres, Pres. Colom’s wife.
Rosenberg said on the tape that officials might want to kill him
because he represented businessman Khalil Musa, who was killed along
with his daughter Marjorie in March. Rosenberg said Musa, who had
been named to the board of Guatemala's Rural Development Bank, was
killed for refusing to get involved in purported illicit
transactions at the bank. On Dec 9 authorities ordered the arrest of
Francisco and Jose Valdes Paiz, cousins of Rosenberg, for allegedly
ordering the killing of Rosenberg. Eleven people had already been
arrested. On Jan 12, 2010, a special international group
commissioned by the government said Rosenberg had contacted cousins
of his first wife to help him find a hitman to deal with an
extortionist, when he really was orchestrating his own slaying amid
severe personal problems. On July 15, 2010, a judge convicted and
sentenced eight men to prison for Rosenberg’s killing.
(AP, 5/12/09)(AP, 5/18/09)(Econ, 5/23/09,
p.40)(AP, 12/30/09)(AP, 1/12/10)(AP, 7/15/10)
2009 May 14, A small plane
crashed into a yard in Guatemala City, reportedly killing six people
on board and setting a home on fire near the airport.
2009 May 17, In Guatemala
thousands protested to demand the resignation of President Alvaro
Colom over accusations that he ordered a lawyer killed, a scandal
threatening the rule of the country's first leftist leader more than
2009 May 18, In Guatemala
government opponents submitted 35,000 signatures to demand that
Congress start procedures to strip Pres. Colom of immunity from
prosecution over allegations that he ordered a lawyer killed.
2009 May 18, In Guatemala Rev.
Lawrence Rosebaugh (74) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was shot and killed
by masked gunmen who stopped a car carrying him and four other
missionaries to a meeting in Playa Grande. He had put an
international spotlight on human rights abuses in Brazil in 1977.
2009 Jun 4, Guatemala's
anti-drug prosecutor said that thousands of bullets and grenades
that were part of a Mexican drug cartel's weapons cache belong to
the Guatemalan army. In the April weapons seizure, police also found
eight anti-personnel mines, 11 M60 machine guns, bullet proof vests
and two armored cars that investigators say belong to the Zetas, a
group of assassins for Mexico's Gulf drug cartel.
2009 Jun 16, Guatemalan
authorities confiscated nearly 10 million pseudoephedrine pills
worth $33 million, the country's biggest seizure of the
2009 Aug 7, Guatemala's top
three police officials were fired after hundreds of pounds of
cocaine allegedly disappeared from a shipment seized by authorities.
Interior Minister Raul Velazquez said police made the 1-ton seizure
on Aug 6, but when federal prosecutors weighed the drugs, 258 pounds
(117 kilograms) were missing.
2009 Aug 31, A Guatemalan court
convicted and sentenced a former paramilitary to 150 years in prison
for the forced disappearance of six people who were abducted and
presumably killed during the country's civil war. The sentence
against Felipe Cusanero represents 25 years for each victim who
disappeared between 1982 and 1984 from the village of Choatalum.
2009 Sep 7, In Guatemala four
prison officials were shot to death in three separate attacks that
authorities believed were retaliation for a jail crackdown.
Officials over the weekend had seized cell phones and moved inmates
to different prisons to break up an extortion ring.
2009 Sep 8, Guatemalan
President Alvaro Colom declared "a state of public calamity" to help
mobilize funds and resources to confront a food shortage that will
affect thousands of families.
2009 Sep 11, Authorities in
Guatemala arrested nine suspects, including five police officers, in
the May 10 killing of lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg, who accused
President Alvaro Colom of involvement in his death in a posthumously
2009 Sep 15, In Guatemala the
bullet-ridden bodies of eight men suspected to be drug traffickers
were found in a frontier town near the Mexican border.
2009 Sep 27, In Guatemala
Adolfo Ich, a Maya Q’eqchi’ teacher and community leader who opposed
the Fenix mine outside the town of El Estor, was killed. Bystander
German Chub was shot and paralyzed by mine security personnel. In
2021 Mynor Padilla, ex-security chief at a mine, pleaded guilty to
2009 Oct 8, In Guatemala a
series of attacks on police in Guatemala City killed two officers
and wounded three.
2009 Oct 10, In Guatemala City
gunmen opened fire on a patrol car killing one police officer and
wounding 3 others. Assailants attacked another squad car hours later
in the capital, wounding three officers.
2009 Oct 30, In Guatemala an
assistant to the judge handling the case of a man who blamed his
death on Guatemala's president was killed by gunmen. Court employee
Mark Monzon died of gunshot wounds in his car.
2009 Oct 31, In Guatemala
gunmen killed one prison guard and wounded four others outside a
prison in Guatemala City.
2009 Nov 20, Guatemalan
officials announced the resumption of international adoptions after
a nearly two-year suspension prompted by the discovery that some
babies were being sold.
2009 Nov 27, In Guatemala a mob
of some 400 residents in Solola burned to death two men and a woman
suspected of killing a local bus driver.
2009 Dec 4, In Guatemala
retired Col. Marco Antonio Sanchez was convicted and sentenced to 53
years in prison in the forced disappearance of civilians during
Guatemala's civil war. The convictions for the 1981 abductions at
the village of El Jute were the first ever under charges of failing
to respect the rights of civilians.
2009 Dec 6, In Guatemala a mob
in Panahachel beat a suspected criminal to death and threatened to
burn three women who were with the victim. It was Guatemala's fifth
vigilante killing in three days.
2009 Dec 9, In Guatemala former
Pres. Kjell Eugenio Laugerud (79) died from complications related to
cancer. He is credited with helping rebuild Guatemala after the
devastating 1976 earthquake.
2009 Dec 21, It was reported
that gunmen in Guatemala have killed more than 170 bus drivers this
year to scare them and transportation companies into paying
extortion fees that fuel the country's multimillion-dollar organized
2009-2010 Guatemala suffered a severe drought
following be sever flooding that together caused losses of $1.5
(Econ, 4/16/11, p.28)
2010 Jan 25, In NYC Alfonso
Portillo (b.1951), the former president of Guatemala (2000-2004),
was charged with using foreign banks to launder millions of dollars
plundered from charity and government coffers. He was charged with
embezzling $15.7 million. Portillo’s whereabouts were unknown.
(SFC, 1/26/10, p.A4)(Econ, 6/19/10, p.42)
2010 Jan 26, Guatemalan police
captured ex-President Alfonso Portillo at a beach preparing to flee
the country by boat, a day after US authorities charged him with
laundering money stolen from foreign donations to buy children's
2010 Feb 5, Guatemalan police
say they have destroyed about 1,200 acres (500 hectares) of opium
poppies along the border with Mexico. The plants were valued at $950
2010 Feb 9, In Guatemala Manuel
Pop Sun and Reyes Collin Gualip, two former sergeants who belonged
to a military squad specializing in counterinsurgency, were arrested
for their roles in the 1982 massacre of more than 200 people in the
village of Dos Erres in the country's northern Peten region. They
were among 17 soldiers in the army's elite Kaibil unit blamed for
2010 Feb 28, Guatemalan Pres.
Alvaro Colom announced that he has fired Interior Minister Raul
Velasquez for alleged corruption and replaced him with Carlos
Menocal, a former journalist. Local media said that Velasquez
authorized a $6.2 million contract with a private company to buy
fuel for police but that the company embezzled the money.
2010 Mar 2, Guatemalan
authorities arrested Nelly Bonilla, the country’s anti-drug czar,
Police Chief Baltazar Gomez, and police officer Fernando Carrillo,
in a case involving stolen cocaine and slain police.
2010 Mar 17, A Guatemalan court
approved the extradition of former President Alfonso Portillo
(2000-2004) to the US to face money laundering charges. He is
charged in a New York federal court with embezzling $1.5 million in
foreign donations intended to buy school library books in Guatemala.
He allegedly endorsed checks drawn from a New York bank and
deposited them in a Miami account.
2010 Mar 29, A Guatemalan judge
sentenced a man to two years in prison for his role in the May 10,
2009, killing of lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg, who accused the country's
president of his murder in a video made before his death. Cardona
was convicted of illicit association, the first verdict among eight
people on trial in the slaying of Rosenberg.
2010 Mar 29, An American doctor
living in Guatemala was convicted of sexually abusing four
10-year-old boys and sentenced to six years in prison. Dr. Joshua T.
Kotouc was arrested in 2008 with the four boys in bed.
2010 Apr 12, In Guatemala Noe
Vasquez, the chief of the anti-drug office in the Peten region, was
arrested along with 2 other police agents for allegedly passing
information to Mexico's Zetas drug gang.
2010 Apr 15, Police in
Guatemala said a 13-year-old boy has confessed to shooting a woman
to death for a payment of about $12.50. The boy could face 6 years
in a juvenile custody facility if convicted.
2010 Apr 26, In Guatemala the
Santiaguito volcano showered sand and ash over a large western area
in an "unusual" and "violent" eruption.
2010 May 24, Guatemalan
authorities said they will require DNA tests for all babies offered
for adoption following allegations of child theft that led the
government to impose a two-year freeze on international adoptions.
2010 May 27, Authorities closed
Guatemala's international airport after the nearby Pacaya volcano
showered as much as 3 inches (8 centimeters) of ash over parts of
the city. A television reporter was killed by a shower of burning
rocks when he got too close to the volcano, about 15 miles (25 km)
south of Guatemala City.
(AP, 5/28/10)(AP, 5/29/10)
2010 May 29, Tropical Storm
Agatha made landfall near the border of Guatemala and Mexico
with wind speeds of up to 45 mph (75 kph), then weakened into a
tropical depression. The torrential rains in the first
tropical storm of the 2010 season triggered deadly landslides. The
death toll reached 15 but authorities said the number could rise. In
El Salvador rains delivered by Agatha triggered at least 140
landslides throughout the country killing two adults and a
2010 May 29, In Guatemala a
cavernous and almost perfectly round sinkhole swallowed an entire
intersection in Guatemala City during a tropical storm, spooking
people in the neighborhood but exciting geologists. The hole was 66
feet (20m) across and plunged nearly 100 feet (30m) deep.
2010 May 30, Authorities in
Central America struggled to clear roads of debris and reach cut-off
communities due to landslides and flooding triggered by Tropical
Storm Agatha. The death toll rose to include 165 people in
Guatemala; in Honduras at least 18 deaths were linked to the storm;
El Salvador President Mauricio Funes warned that the danger had not
yet passed and reported 10 deaths.
(AP, 5/30/10)(AP, 5/31/10)(AP, 6/1/10)(AP,
6/2/10)(AP, 6/6/10)(AP, 6/16/10)
2010 Jun 7, In Guatemala
Spaniard Carlos Castresana, the chief of a UN commission responsible
for battling corruption and crime in the country, resigned accusing
the country of failing to keep up its end of the deal. Castresana
said one reason for the resignation was the appointment of Conrado
Reyes as Guatemala's attorney general, accusing him of having a
history of ties to organized crime.
2010 Jun 10, Guatemala's
Constitutional Court removed the new attorney general amid
allegations of corruption. Conrado Reyes denied the allegations, but
promised to comply with the court's ruling and cede office.
2010 Aug 9, in Guatemala 7 of
19 suspects were detained after a court issued arrest warrants for
19 people including a former interior minister and a top police
official for allegedly participating in the killing of inmates
during a 2005 prison escape and a 2007 uprising. Those arrested
included two civilians, two former policeman and an officer still on
2010 Aug 13, Guatemalan police
arrested the former head of the national prison system, accusing him
of orchestrating the executions of seven prisoners during a 2006
government raid on an infamous jail. Alejandro Giammattei, in charge
of penitentiaries during the previous administration of President
Oscar Berger, turned himself over to authorities after trying to
seek asylum in the Honduran Embassy this week. On May 10,2011, Judge
Patricia Flores ordered the release of Alejandro Giammattei, saying
there was not enough evidence to prosecute him.
(Reuters, 8/14/10)(AP, 5/11/11)
2010 Sep 4, In Guatemala
torrential rains from a tropical depression caused mudslides killed
at least 48 people, most of them in separate disasters along the
(AP, 9/5/10)(AP, 9/6/10)
2010 Sep 5, In southern
California 7 people were shot at a house party in Lancaster,
including a girl (14) who later died of her wounds. Manuel Jamines,
a Guatemalan immigrant, was fatally shot by a Los Angeles police
officer. His death led to several days of violent protests. Police
and witnesses said Jamines was threatening people with a knife.
(SFC, 9/6/10, p.A4)(AP, 9/21/10)
2010 Sep 10, A Guatemalan court
sentenced 6 Mexicans and 8 Guatemalans, all members of Mexico’s
Zetas drug gang, to lengthy prison terms for the killing of 11
people two years ago.
2010 Oct 2, Guatemalan police
captured a suspected drug trafficker wanted in the US for cocaine
smuggling and seized nearly $2 million in cash that his brother was
carrying in two bags. Mauro Ramirez Barrios, alias "The Purple One,"
was arrested in the southern town of San Bernardino after a four-day
search. Ramirez, an alleged lieutenant of Juan Ortiz Lopez, was
arrested two weeks after he escaped police during a shootout at a
Guatemala City shopping mall that killed two officers.
(AP, 10/3/10)(AP, 3/31/11)
2010 Nov 23, A Spanish judge
ordered Carlos Vielmann, a former Guatemalan interior minister, be
freed because authorities in the Central American country failed to
request his extradition on charges he ordered the extra-judicial
execution of seven inmates. He resigned in 2007 after allegations in
one of those cases became known.
2010 Nov 24, In Guatemala
Francisco Dall'Anese, the head of a special UN-backed commission
(CICIG) prosecuting high crimes there, accused the government of
sabotaging efforts to bring back Carlos Vielmann, a former interior
minister, on charges of ordering extrajudicial killings of prison
inmates. On Nov 23 a Spanish judge freed Vielmann from prison.
2010 Nov 28, In Guatemala
police found the body of Mercedes Vasquez (27), a professional
football player, chopped up and left in five plastic bags in a rural
area. A message said the player was killed for "messing with other
women." He had been kidnapped a day earlier.
2010 Dec 1, A Guatemalan
ex-congressman, Manuel Castillo, was sentenced to 203 years in
prison after being found guilty of ordering the assassination of
three Salvadoran representatives to the Central American Parliament
and their driver in 2007. Two former police officers and four others
were also sentenced to between 99 and 210 years.
2010 Dec 19, The Guatemalan
military declared a state of siege in a northern province that
authorities say has been overtaken by Mexican drug traffickers.
2010 Dec 25, Guatemala captured
4 suspected drug traffickers on top of 18 arrested over the past
week, as well as automatic weapons and small planes in a
country-wide sweep to crack down on Mexican cartels smuggling drugs
through Central America.
2010 Dec 27, In Guatemala men
claiming to belong to the Zetas drug gang forced radio stations to
broadcast a threat of war in a northern Guatemalan province where
the government declared a state of siege last week.
2011 Jan 3, In Guatemala City 7
people were killed and 15 others injured from a fire inside a
passenger bus. Guatemalan authorities soon arrested four members of
the Mara 18 street gang, including a woman (19) who police say left
the bomb on the bus that was then detonated by cell phone. In the
following days 2 more people died of the injuries.
(AP, 1/3/11)(AFP, 1/4/11)(AP, 1/12/11)
2011 Jan 18, Guatemalan
President Alvaro Colom said he is extending a state of siege in a
violent province on the border with Mexico that has been taken over
by Mexico's brutal Zetas drug gang. A monthlong state of siege that
began on Dec. 19 in Alta Verapaz province has been successful but
that he'll extend it an extra month.
2011 Jan, In Guatemala work on
Paseo Cayala, an independent city just outside Guatemala City,
began. By 2013 developers said they have invested $66 million there
to date. Plans included a neo-classical church that seats about 700.
2011 Feb 8, Mexican soldiers
rescued 44 Guatemalan migrants who had been locked up by kidnappers
in a house in the northern city of Reynosa. 3 Mexican migrants were
2011 Feb 18, The Guatemalan
government lifted a two-month-old state of siege in a northern
province that authorities said was controlled by Mexican drug
traffickers. Xinabajul soccer club vice president Carlos Noe Gomez
was ambushed and shot to death by two men as he left a team meeting.
(AP, 2/18/11)(AP, 2/20/11)
2011 Mar 8, Guatemala's first
lady, Sandra Torres de Colom, announced that she will be the
presidential candidate of the governing National Unity for Hope
party in the September election.
2011 Mar 21, Guatemala's first
lady, Sandra Torres de Colom, began divorce proceedings ending her
eight-year marriage to President Alvaro Colom, so that she can seek
to succeed him as president. On April 1 a judge temporarily blocked
the divorce proceedings. On April 8 a judge dismissed a suit seeking
to block the divorce proceedings, clearing the way for her to run
for the presidency.
(AP, 3/21/11)(AP, 4/3/11)(AP, 4/8/11)
2011 Mar 30, In Guatemala Juan
Ortiz Lopez, a reputed top drug trafficker, was captured in a joint
operation involving the government and the US Drug Enforcement
Administration. A US federal indictment was unsealed in Florida
charging Ortiz with two counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
2011 Mar 30, In Guatemala three
men were publicly lynched by a mob after being accused of stealing a
truckload of coffee in the town of La Democracia. Police said some
3,000 people were involved in the lynching.
2011 Mar 31, Guatemala police
said some 400 people marched in support of Juan Alberto Ortiz Lopez,
a reputed top drug trafficker captured by the government and the US
Drug Enforcement Administration. Participant Juan Pablo Mendez said
the Ortiz did what the government doesn't, create jobs and support
2011 Apr 1, A Spanish court
issued an international arrest warrant seeking the extradition of
Jorge Sosa Orantes (53), a former Guatemalan soldier for his alleged
part in the massacre in the village of Dos Erres in 1982 in which
more than 100 people died. Sosa has been in custody in Canada since
January on US charges of lying about his role in Guatemala's war
when he applied for American citizenship in 2008.
2011 Apr 26, Guatemalan
authorities said police have arrested Waldemar Lorenzana Lima, a
rancher sought by the US government on an extradition warrant for
his alleged ties to Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel.
2011 May 9, A Guatemalan court
acquitted former president Alfonso Portillo on charges of embezzling
$15 million in defense funds during his 2000-2004 term of office. He
remained in prison facing an extradition request from the United
States, on charges of embezzling $1.5 million in foreign donations.
2011 May 14, In Guatemala
Haroldo Leon, the brother of alleged Guatemalan drug boss Juan Jose
"Juancho" Leon, was killed in Peten province. "Juancho" Leon was
killed in 2008 in an ambush that Guatemalan authorities blame on
Mexico's Zetas drug cartel.
2011 May 15, In northern
Guatemala assailants killed at least 29 people, decapitating most of
the victims, on a ranch in Caserio La Bomba, Peten province, an area
plagued by drug cartels.
2011 May 16, Guatemala declared
a 30-day state of emergency for the northern Peten region following
the brutal massacre of 27 people at a cattle ranch. President Alvaro
Colom called the killings sadistic and perverse, and said they were
the work of a drug gang believed to be part of a group called "Z
200." On Feb 21, 2014, nine men were convicted for the murders. They
included 3 Mexican men and six Guatemalans.
(AP, 5/17/11)(SSFC, 2/23/14, p.A4)
2011 May 20, In Guatemala Hugo
Gomez Vasquez, the main suspect in the May 16 drug-cartel massacre
of 27 farmworkers and relatives in Peten province, was arraigned on
charges including conspiracy to murder and kidnapping.
2011 May 24, In Guatemala
officials found the hacked-up body of an assistant prosecutor along
with a message allegedly signed by the Zetas. The interior minister
said police have arrested five Mexican members of the Zetas drug
cartel who are allegedly linked to the chief suspect in the May 15
massacre of 27 people.
2011 Jun 9, Guatemalan
authorities said they have arrested Hector Bol de la Cruz (70), a
former national police chief, for his alleged involvement in the
civil-war era disappearance of union activist Edgar Fernando Garcia.
(SFC, 6/10/11, p.A2)
2011 Jun 17, Guatemalan police
arrested retired Gen. Hector Mario Lopez (81), a former military
chief of staff in the mass killing of government opponents during
the country's 36-year civil war. He was the highest-ranking official
yet detained for massacres in the 1980s. Lopez was allegedly
involved in about 200 massacres committed while he was chief of
staff of the Guatemalan military between 1982 and 1983.
2011 Jun 22, In Guatemala the
World Bank unveiled a billion-dollar plan to fund security measures
in Central America, amid other hundred-million-dollar pledges from
donors bidding to cut a wave of drug gang-related violence sweeping
the region. The announcement came as leaders of Belize, Costa Rica,
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama attended the
Central American Security Conference aiming to curb crime fueled by
a spillover from Mexico's war on drug cartels.
2011 Jun 23, The Mexican army
discovered 117 migrants, mainly from Guatemala and El Salvador,
hidden inside a trailer truck in the southern state of Oaxaca.
2011 Jul 1, Guatemalan
villagers beat, shot and stabbed to death five men and a woman they
suspected of robbery in a remote mountain village.
2011 Jul 5, In Guatemala
Fernando Marroquin, a San Jose Pinula mayoral candidate, was
arrested in Antigua. His rival Enrique Ovalle was gunned down in a
car on June 11. Five days later Enrique Dardon, another mayoral
candidate, was shot to death in a barber shop. Ballistic evidence
implicating two of Marroquin's workers.
2011 Jul 9, Argentine singer
Facundo Cabral (b.1937), one of Latin America's most admired folk
singers, was killed in Guatemala when three carloads of gunmen
ambushed the vehicle in which he was riding. By 1970 became
internationally known through his song "No soy de aqui ni alla" (I'm
Not From Here Nor There). Authorities later said the target of the
attack was Nicaraguan businessman Henry Farinas, who was driving the
singer to the airport when they were ambushed.
(AP, 7/9/11)(AP, 7/31/11)
2011 Jul 12, Pedro Pimentel
Rios (54), a former member of an elite Guatemalan military force
suspected of carrying out a 1982 massacre, was extradited from the
United States and was flown on a government-chartered plane to
Guatemala and turned over to authorities.
2011 Aug 2, A Guatemalan court
sentenced three former special forces soldiers to 6,060 years in
prison each for the Dec 7, 1982, massacre of 201 men, women and
children at Dos Erres during the country's civil war. The sentences
for Manuel Pop Sun, Reyes Collin Gualip and Daniel Martinez included
30 years for each death, plus 30 years for crimes against humanity.
The three men are former members the Guatemalan military's elite
2011 Aug 8, In Guatemala former
first lady Sandra Torres’ bid to succeed her ex-husband came to an
end when the constitutional court ruled her ineligible to run
because of her relationship to the president.
2011 Sep 2, Officials announced
a joint US-Colombian operation against a major trafficker, in which
police arrested 30 people and seized 21 small planes that were
ferrying cocaine to Central America. Most of the planes were seized
this past week in Guatemala and Honduras. Officials also announced a
$2.7 million reward for trafficker Daniel "Loco" Barrera.
2011 Sep 11, Guatemala held
presidential elections. Otto Perez Molina, a former military general
who softened his image as the "iron fist" to promote social programs
and democracy, appeared to be the leading candidate. Preliminary
results showed Otto Perez Molina of the Patriot Party with 36
percent support, followed by businessman Manuel Baldizon with 24
percent and Eduardo Suger with 16 percent. Molina and Baldizon faced
a November runoff.
(AP, 9/11/11)(AP, 9/13/11)
2011 Sep 19, In Guatemala 4
earthquakes struck the southeastern part of the country in less than
two hours, causing at least one death. At least three people were
2011 Oct 12, Guatemalan
prosecutors arrested former Gen. Mauricio Rodriguez, another former
army general who was allegedly involved in dozens of massacres of
indigenous people during the Central American nation's civil war. He
headed the feared G-2 military intelligence force in 1982 and 1983.
A truth commission found the G-2 may have participated in as many as
71 operations against civilians.
2011 Oct 12, Hurricane Jova
slammed into Mexico’s Pacific coast killing 6 people. Farther south,
a low-pressure system continued to dump rain on southern Mexico and
Central America, where it was blamed for the deaths of 15 people in
(SFC, 10/13/11, p.A2)(AP, 10/13/11)
2011 Oct 14, Heavy rains
generated by a low-pressure system hammered Central America for a
third day. Mudslides and swollen rivers have already killed 36
people. At least 21 people have been killed in Guatemala, 6 in
Honduras, and 4 in Nicaragua.
2011 Oct 20, Heavy rains
generated by a low-pressure system hammered Central America for 10
days. Mudslides and swollen rivers killed at least 105 people
including 38 in Guatemala, 34 in El Salvador, 15 in Honduras, 13 in
Nicaragua and 5 in Costa Rica.
2011 Oct 24, A Guatemalan court
sentenced two women to 16 and 21 years in prison for trafficking a
stolen baby who was given for adoption to a US family. The girl,
Anyeli Liseth Hernandez Rodriguez was born Oct. 1, 2004, and
disappeared Nov. 3, 2006.
2011 Nov 6, Guatemala held
presidential elections. Retired general and former intelligence
director Otto Perez Molina (61) of the conservative Patriotic Party
won an easy victory, 54% to 46%, in a runoff race against
tycoon-turned-political populist Manuel Baldizon of the Democratic
Freedom Revival party.
2011 Nov 8, In Guatemala drug
trafficker Elio Lorenzana Cordon, wanted for extradition to the
United States, was captured outside Guatemala City by US and
2011 Nov 15, Guatemalan
President Alvaro Colom said he will grant a US extradition request
for former president Alfonso Portillo, who faces charges in the US
of embezzling $1.5 million in foreign donations.
2011 Dec 21, The US government
said it is suspending training for new Peace Corps volunteers in the
Central American nations of Guatemala and El Salvador while it
assesses security concerns. El Salvador has 113 volunteers, and
Guatemala, 222. It was also decided to pull all volunteers from
(AP, 12/21/11)(AP, 1/18/12)
2011 Some 250-350 tons of
cocaine, almost the whole amount heading for the US, was reportedly
passing through Guatemala each year.
(Econ, 4/16/11, p.25)
2012 Jan 13, Guatemala
congressman Oscar Valentin Leal Caal, who was reportedly negotiating
a switch to the law-and-order party of the conservative
president-elect, was shot to death, a day before the presidential
inauguration ceremony. Two attackers killed him and his brother
outside the headquarters of the legislator's current party, the
populist Democratic Freedom Revival.
2012 Jan 15, Guatemala began
Operation Martillo, a broad effort to stop drug trafficking along
the Central American coast. Guatemalan authorities signed a treaty
allowing the US military to conduct the operations on July 16.
2012 Jan 31, The US government
said it will give financial aid to Guatemala to help safely dispose
of seized chemicals that were destined for use in methamphetamine
2012 Feb 13, Guatemala’s
President Otto Perez Molina said the US inability to cut illegal
drug consumption leaves his country with no option but to consider
legalizing the use and transport of drugs, a remarkable turnaround
for an ex-general elected on a platform of crushing organized crime
with an iron fist.
2012 Feb 28, In Guatemala a
civilian helicopter crashed in bad weather, injuring three aboard in
northern Peten province. A Guatemalan air force helicopter sent to
help went down soon afterward, killing its 10 crew and passengers.
2012 Mar 12, In Guatemala Pedro
Pimentel Rios (54), a former member of the elite Kaibiles Corp team
of the Guatemalan military, was sentenced to 6,060 years in prison
for his role in the killings of 201 people in a December, 1982
massacre. Rios was extradited from the United States last
(AP, 3/13/12)(SFC, 3/14/12, p.A2)
2012 Mar 24, Guatemala's Pres.
Otto Perez Molina proposed that the United States and other
"consumer" countries pick up the tab for the cost of drug seizures.
He said the US has a "responsibility" because it has one of the
highest rates of drug use.
2012 Mar 27, In Guatemala
thousands of indigenous farmers finished an 8-day march to the
capital to protest government-backed land seizures by large land
(SFC, 3/28/12, p.A2)
2012 Apr 3, In Guatemala
leading drug trafficker Horst Walther Overdick (44) was arrested and
faced extradition to the United States. He helped Mexico's brutal
Zetas drug cartel expand into Guatemala.
2012 Apr 6, Guatemalan
authorities said they have begun to see new and disturbing evidence
of an alliance between the Mara Salvatrucha street gangs and Zetas,
the Mexican paramilitary drug cartel.
2012 Aug 29, A US military
spokesman said a team of 200 US Marines has begun patrolling
Guatemala's western coast this week in an unprecedented operation to
beat drug traffickers in the Central America region.
2012 Sep 12, In Guatemala Julio
Saquil (35) entered an elementary school in the northern province of
Alta Verapaz and slit the throats of two children with a machete.
Authorities said he was drunk. A mob lynched Saquil inside the
school and then set him on fire in the school's patio and he burned
2012 Sep 13, In Guatemala the
Volcan del Fuego, or Volcano of Fire, erupted in a ferocious lava
flow 6 miles from Antigua.
2012 Sep, In Guatemala Adolfo
Vivar, the mayor of Antigua, was charged along with several
relatives and members of his administration with establishing a
criminal network that stole nearly $3 million from the city’s
(SFC, 11/27/13, p.A4)
2012 Oct 4, In western
Guatemala at least six people were killed and 30 were shot in a
clash near Totonicapan between security forces and protesters
opposed to high energy prices. A seventh victim died later at a
hospital in the western city of Quezaltenango.
(AP, 10/5/12)(AP, 10/5/12)
2012 Oct 5, Thousands of
indigenous Guatemalans shouted in anger and some threw themselves at
the coffins of six local people who were shot to death during a
protest over electricity prices and educational reform in a poor
2012 Oct 11, Guatemala
prosecutors said they have detained 8 army privates and a colonel on
allegations of extrajudicial killings by opening fire on a peaceful
protests last week that killed 8 people and wounded 34.
(SFC, 10/12/12, p.A2)
2012 Nov 7, Guatemala was
struck by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake. It was centered 15 miles off
the coastal town of Champerico and 100 miles southwest of Guatemala
City. 40 people died in the state of San Marcos, 11 more were killed
in the neighboring state of Quetzaltenango, and one in Solola state.
22 people remained missing.
(AP, 11/7/12) (AP, 11/8/12)
2012 Nov 30, The Human Rights
Office of the Archbishop of Guatemala said that a probe has found
patients in the Federico Mora hospital suffering from a lack of
medical attention, along with abuse by staff and inmates from a
neighboring prison who were allowed into the hospital. Investigators
found more than 300 children in solitary confinement, and patients
in locked cells who died of preventable diseases due to lack of
2012 Dec 3, Software company
founder John McAfee, wanted for questioning in connection with the
killing of a fellow American ex-pat, said he has left Belize and is
still on the run. He escaped to Guatemala and requested asylum.
(AP, 12/3/12)(SFC, 12/5/12, p.E1)
2012 Dec 5, Guatemala police
arrested software company founder John McAfee for entering the
country illegally, ending his bizarre weekslong journey as a
blogging fugitive claiming to be persecuted by authorities in
2012 Dec 12, Guatemala released
John McAfee from a detention center and put him on a plan for Miami.
Authorities in Belize had sought McAfee for questioning about the
November slaying of neighbor Gregory Faull.
(SFC, 12/13/12, p.A7)
2012 Dec 23, Guatemala federal
prosecutor Irma Yolanda Olivares, who worked in one of the
prosecutor's regional officers, was slain along with an official
working for a government social service agency and five others in an
attack near the Mexican border. Drug traffickers were blamed.
2012 Swiss authorities arrested
Erwin Sperisen, a former police chief in Guatemala, for planning and
directing operations to kill detainees during his tenure from
2004-2007. Sperisen had dual Swiss and Guatemalan nationality and in
2014 was sentenced in Geneva to life in prison.
(SFC, 6/7/14, p.A2)
2013 Jan 14, In Guatemala
gunmen killed Jutiapa Mayor Carlos Castillo. His brother, former
congressman Manuel de Jesus Castillo, was serving a prison sentence
in the slaying of 3 El Salvador representatives to the Central
(SFC, 1/15/13, p.A2)
2013 Feb 21, In Guatemalan
residents of Peten province reported a gunbattle between drug gangs
and said one of the dead resembled Mexico's most-wanted drug lord,
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Soldiers and police scanning the area
found no sign of any confrontation.
2013 May 2, Guatemala's
government declared a state of emergency and banned public
gatherings in four townships east of the capital following several
days of violent clashes between police and anti-mining protesters.
2013 May 10, A Guatemala
tribunal convicted former dictator Efrain Rios Montt (86) of
genocide and sentenced him to 80 years in prison, a historic moment
in a country still healing from a brutal, three-decade civil war.
Montt was convicted of trying to exterminate the Ixil ethnic group,
a Mayan Indian community whose villages were wiped out by his
(AP, 5/11/13)(SFC, 4/5/18, p.D5)
2013 May 20, Guatemala's top
court overturned the conviction of former dictator Efrain Rios
Montt, and ordered that the trial be taken back to the middle of the
2013 May 24, Former Guatemalan
President Alfonso Portillo (61) was extradited to the United States
to face charges of laundering $70 million in Guatemalan funds
through US bank accounts.
2013 Jun 3, It was reported
that coffee leaf rust has devastated coffee plantations across
Central America and knocked half a million people out of work. Costa
Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were all severely
(SFC, 6/4/13, p.A2)(http://tinyurl.com/alqvfoc)
2013 Jun 4, In Guatemala the
Organization of American States (OAS) began its annual meeting.
(Econ, 6/8/13, p.42)
2013 Jun 14, Guatemala Pres.
Otto Perez said a heavily armed group, said to be part of a band of
drug traffickers, ambushed and killed 8 police officers 120 miles
west of Guatemala City.
(SFC, 6/15/13, p.A2)
2013 Jun 28, In western
Guatemala a small airplane crashed in a wooded area near the border
with Mexico, killing all six men on board.
2013 Sep 8, In Guatemala at
least 11 people were killed and another 15 injured in an armed
standoff at a liquor store in the village of San Jose Nacahuil.
2013 Sep 9, In Guatemala at
least 44 people were killed and dozens injured when a bus went off a
cliff on a hairpin bend, tumbling some 200 meters (660 feet) into a
river at the bottom of a ravine near San Martin Jilotepeque.
(Reuters, 9/9/13)(SFC, 9/10/13, p.A2)
2013 Sep 17, Guatemalan and US
law enforcement agents arrested Waldemar Lorenzana, a suspected
Guatemalan drug trafficker wanted for ties to Mexico's Sinaloa
Cartel, the gang run by drug lord Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.
2013 Sep 20, A Guatemalan court
sentenced Hector Bol de la Cruz, chief of police from 1983 to 1985,
to 40 years in prison for orchestrating the disappearance of a
student union leader in 1984 during the country's bloody civil war.
2013 Oct 4, Mexican police
arrested Eduardo Villatoro, alias "Guayo Cano," a suspected
Guatemalan drug trafficker accused of leading the June 14 slaughter
of 8 police officers in Guatemala's western highlands.
2013 Guatemala declared a
national emergency regarding its coffee production. Officials
estimated that coffee rust had affected 70 percent of the nation's
2014 Feb 8, In Guatemala 20 men
stormed a house in a village in Peten killing 9 people including a
girl (5) and baby (3 months). The area was know to be contested by
(SFC, 2/10/14, p.A2)
2014 Mar 18, In NYC Guatemala’s
ex-president Alfonso Portillo pleaded guilty in federal court to a
conspiracy charge saying he accepted $2.5 million in bribes to
continue to recognize Taiwan diplomatically during his 2000-2004
(SFC, 3/19/14, p.A2)
2014 Mar 29, German magazine
Der Spiegel reported that the US National Security Agency kept more
than 300 reports on Chancellor Angela Merkel in a special databank
about scores of foreign heads of state. Other leaders listed in the
databank include the heads of Peru, Somalia, Guatemala, Colombia and
2014 May 15, In Guatemala Jairo
Orellana Morales (40), a suspected local Zetas leader, was captured
in Zacapa province after a shootout with federal forces that killed
a police officer and two others. The US government last year imposed
financial sanctions against the alleged drug trafficker under the
2014 May 16, Dozens of
Guatemalan war survivors and human rights activists protested
against a congressional resolution that denies there was any attempt
to commit genocide during the country's bloody 36-year civil war.
2014 Jun 7, Arizona officials
said the US government has asked them to rush medical supplies to a
makeshift holding center housing hundreds of migrant children who
were sent to the state after crossing into the US from Mexico alone.
Jimena Díaz, consul general of Guatemala in Phoenix, visited the
center a day earlier and said about 250 children are from Guatemala,
with the rest coming from El Salvador and Honduras.
2014 Jun 15, The body of
Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez (15), a teenager from Guatemala, was
found in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. He had likely died
from exposure as he made his way north.
(SSFC, 7/13/14, p.A7)
2014 Jul 2, The US government
launched a $1 million international media campaign warning families
in Central America that it's best to stay at home, following a surge
in illegal immigration. The message was aimed primarily at Honduras,
Guatemala and El Salvador.
2014 Jul 4, A Guatemalan court
handed down the country's first conviction of a leftist guerrilla
leader for the killings of indigenous farmers during the 1960-1996
civil war. Fermin Solano got 90 years in prison for his role in the
1988 massacre that killed 22 pro-government indigenous farmers in
the town of El Aguacate.
2014 Jul 7, A magnitude-6.9
earthquake on the Pacific Coast jolted a wide area of southern
Mexico and Central America. At least 5 people were killed, 2 in
Guatemala and 3 in Mexico.
(AP, 7/7/14)(SFC, 7/9/14, p.A2)
2014 Jul 18, More than 40
Central American children were expelled from the United States on
flights to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, as the US government
stepped up its deportation of illegal child migrants.
2014 Aug 25, The Guatemalan
government declared a state of emergency in 16 of the country's 22
provinces because of a drought that has caused major agricultural
losses in Central America.
2014 Aug 28, In Guatemala a
community of 230 Orthodox Jews from several countries began leaving
the Indian village of San Juan La Laguna on the shores of lake
Atitlan, where they have lived for six years, after claims and
counterclaims of discrimination and threats.
2014 Sep 3, Former Guatemalan
army captain Byron Lima, sentenced to 20 years in prison for the
1998 slaying of a Roman Catholic bishop, was charged with money
laundering and organized crime for allegedly building an illicit
business empire behind bars.
2014 Nov 8, Guatemala's
President Otto Perez Molina apologized to 33 communities of
indigenous Achi people who were forced to abandon their homes to
make way for construction of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam during
Guatemala's civil war. The government agreed to provide $153.8
million in compensation for the damage inflicted on the Achi.
2015 Feb 25, Former Guatemala
President Alfonso Portillo (2000-2004) was released from a US
minimum security facility in Colorado and returned to his home
county. In 2014 he pleaded guilty in federal court to a conspiracy
charge saying he had accepted $2.5 million in bribes to continue to
recognize Taiwan diplomatically during his presidency.
(SFC, 2/26/15, p.A7)
2015 Mar 13, In Guatemala
journalist Guido Villatoro (20) was gunned down as he entered the
office where he worked in the southwestern department of
Suchitepequez. A wiretap soon led to the capture of suspect Antonio
Televario Navichoc, one of two leaders of a Mara 18 street gang cell
that runs extortion rackets in the region.
2015 Apr 23, In Guatemala Pres.
Otto Perez Molina, under pressure from the US, authorized a new term
for the Int’l. Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).
About this same time CICIG secured provisional charges against 22
people involved in a customs-swindling racket called La Linea.
(Econ, 5/30/15, p.35)
2015 Apr 25, In Guatemala
thousands marched to demand the resignation of President Otto Perez
and Vice President Roxana Baldetti as a corruption scandal rocked
the government. The marches became a weekly phenomenon.
(AFP, 4/25/15)(Econ, 8/15/15, p.25)
2015 May 16, Guatemalans jammed
onto the capital's streets to voice anger over corruption that
permeates the government, demanding jail time for the guilty and
calling for President Otto Perez Molina to resign.
2015 May 20, In Guatemala 17
people were arrested in a corruption case involving a $15 million
contract with the Guatemalan Social Security Institute to offer
renal-dialysis services. The Int’l. Commission Against Impunity in
Guatemala (CICIG) alleged that the contract to a Mexican firm was
linked to $2 million in bribes.
(SFC, 6/22/15, p.35)
2015 May 30, Guatemalans angry
over corruption scandals protested on the capital's main square,
pressing their demands that President Otto Perez Molina resign.
2015 Jul 24, Jairo Orellana, a
suspected Guatemalan drug kingpin with ties to the violent Mexican
cartel Los Zetas, was extradited to the United States to face trial
for conspiring to traffic narcotics.
2015 Aug 21, Guatemala's
attorney general sought to impeach President Otto Perez over a
customs fraud that led to the arrest of his former vice president
2015 Aug 27, In Guatemala
pressure grew on President Otto Perez Molina as protesters prepared
to march for his resignation and the attorney general's office urged
him to step down due to corruption scandals.
2015 Sep 1, Guatemala’s
Congress lifted Pres. Otto Perez Molina’s immunity of office opening
up to possible prosecution in a widening customs corruption scandal.
(SFC, 9/2/15, p.A2)
2015 Sep 3, Guatemala’s Pres.
Perez Molina (64) appeared in court after submitting his
resignation. A judge had issued an order to detain him in a customs
fraud case. Congress met in an emergency session to hand power to
the vice president.
(AP, 9/3/15)(Reuters, 9/3/15)
2015 Sep 4, Guatemala’s Pres.
Perez Molina resigned as president after prosecutors and a UN
comission investigation corruption alleged that he was part of a
multimillion-dollar graft ring.
(SFC, 12/10/15, p.A2)
2015 Sep 6, Guatemalans
streamed to the polls in general elections held amid public
disenchantment with government just days after the country's
president was jailed on corruption charges. Early returns put TV
comedian Jimmy Morales in the lead followed by businessman Manuel
Baldizon and ex-first lady Sandra Torres.
(AFP, 9/6/15)(SFC, 9/7/15, p.A5)
2015 Sep 18, In northern
Guatemala social activist Rigoberto Lima Choc was slain near a civil
courthouse in Sayaxche, Peten department. A day earlier, a court
ordered the temporary closure of a company that grows palm trees for
oil production. The ruling came in response to a complaint by Lima
Choc over the contamination of a local river known as the Rio de la
2015 Oct 1, In Guatemala a
massive landslide killed at least 253 people with 374 remained
missing in Santa Catarina Pinula.
(Reuters, 10/3/15)(Reuters, 10/4/15)(AP, 10/9/15)
2015 Oct 4, In Guatemala Juan
Carlos Monzon Rojas, the alleged leader of a customs corruption
scandal that has rocked the government, turned himself into
2015 Oct 25, Guatemala held
runoff elections. Comedian Jimmy Morales faced former first lady
Sandra Torres, a businesswoman and longtime political operative.
Morales (46) won after officials results showed him winning about
68% of the vote.
(AP, 10/2515)(SFC, 10/27/15, p.A4)
2015 Nov 29, In Guatemala
gunfire broke out at the Canada Rehabilitation Farm, a prison
designed to hold 600 inmates, but which housed 3,092. The death toll
in the brawl rose to 16, including 3 inmates who were decapitated.
2015 Dec 4, Guatemalan
prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Brayan Jimenez, president
of the country's football federation, who is accused in a widening
bribery investigation into FIFA.
2015 Dec 31, In Guatemala a
fight at an overcrowded prison in Puerto Barrios, killed at least 8
prisoners and wounded 20.
2016 Jan 6, Guatemala
prosecutors said they have arrested the brother of deceased former
President Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia in connection with killings
and disappearances during the country's 1960-1996 civil war. They
also arrested retired Gen. Francisco Luis Gordillo, who helped bring
former dictator Jose Efrain Rios Montt to power from 1982 to 1983.
Altogether 18 former military officers were arrested on charges
related massacres and disappearances during the civil war.
(AP, 1/6/16)(SFC, 1/8/16, p.A2)
2016 Jan 12, In Guatemala an
overnight battle between rival gangs in an overcrowded prison in
Chimaltenango left 6 inmates dead and another six wounded.
2016 Jan 13, After more than
three months stranded in Costa Rica, 180 of the 8,000 Cuban migrants
trapped there finally began their long-awaited trip north toward the
US border, flying into El Salvador and then travelling by bus to
2016 Feb 12, Guatemala
prosecutors and a UN anti-corruption commission said they've taken
down a network of public officials who made criminal complaints
against private business go away in exchange for bribes.
2016 Feb 26, A Guatemalan court
convicted retired officer 2nd Lt. Esteelmer Reyes Giron and former
paramilitary Heriberto Valdez Asij for the sexual enslavement of
women during the country's civil war. It sentenced them to 120 years
and 240 years in prison respectively.
2016 Mar 2, A Guatemalan court
ordered two former military officers convicted of holding indigenous
women as sex slaves during the nation's civil war to pay their
victims just over $1 million in compensation.
2016 Mar 28, In Guatemala at
least 19 people were killed after the bus they were traveling in
plunged down a 200-meter (660 feet) ravine near the town of Nahuala.
2016 Apr 8, Guatemalan
prosecutors raided the offices of a bank and froze some $20 million
worth of the bank's shares as part of a money-laundering probe
involving Hidalgo Rafael Socorro Urdaneta, a Venezuelan said to be
the legal representative of DHK Finance INC Panama.
2016 Apr 20, In Belize Julio
Rene Alvarado Ruano (13) of Guatemala was killed in a shooting
incident apparently involving Belizean soldiers on the Guatemala
2016 Apr 27, In Guatemala at
least 4 people died in a landslide at a trash dump in Guatemala
City. Two days later 24 people were listed as missing.
(http://tinyurl.com/hnqpobv)(SFC, 4/230/16, p.A2)
2016 May 27, The UN Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) said around 2.8 million people in
Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras need food aid after two
consecutive years of severe drought decimated crops and exacerbated
hunger among the poor due to prolonged dry spells since mid-2014,
linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon.
2016 Jun 2, The Int’l.
Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala and local officials
arrested 25 people and issued warrants for 27 more as they unveiled
that former Pres. Otto Perez Molina’s entire political party had
been a mere front plan to capture and run the state for personal
(Econ, 6/11/16, p.36)
2016 Jun 11, Three senior
Guatemalan cabinet ministers were arrested on corruption charges and
authorities said they were seeking to detain two more as part of a
continuing crackdown that has already seen a former president
2016 Jul 18, In Guatemala a
jail riot left 5 inmates dead, including Byron Lima, a former army
officer convicted in the 1998 killing of Bishop Juan Jose
(SFC, 7/19/16, p.A2)
2016 Aug 10, Former Guatemalan
soldier Santos Lopez Alonzo (64) arrived in Guatemala City after he
was deported from the United States. He maintained his innocence in
the face of accusations that he helped massacre more than 200 people
in the small village of Las Dos Erres in 1982 during his country's
grueling civil war.
2017 Feb 18, In western
Guatemala an 83-year-old woman and her disabled son were murdered in
Flores Costa Cuca, prompting calls for the army to patrol the
(Econ, 2/25/17, p.30)
2017 Feb 24, Guatemala's
immigration office ordered the expulsion of a ship run by a Dutch
nonprofit organization that performs free abortions onboard in
international waters. The ship, operated by Women on Waves, travels
the globe offering abortion services to women in countries where the
procedure is illegal.
2017 Mar 8, In Guatemala a fire
ripped through an overcrowded home for abused children following an
escape attempt from government-run Hogar Seguro (Safe Home) Virgen
de Asuncion home for youths. 19 people died at the scene, mostly
girls, and another 20 died later in local hospitals.
(Reuters, 3/9/17)(AP, 3/11/17)(AP, 3/12/17)
2017 Mar 19, In Guatemala
jailed Barrio 18 gang members rioted and took several guards hostage
to demand the return of 250 of the gang's members who had been
recently transferred to another juvenile detention center.
2017 Mar 20, In Guatemala three
policemen were killed late today and seven officers wounded in
attacks on police across the country, hours after a bloody gang riot
in a juvenile detention center was put down in Guatemala City.
2017 Apr 15, Guatemala detained
Javier Duarte (43), the former governor of Mexico's Veracruz state
(2010-2016), after six months as a fugitive. He was accused of
running a corruption ring that allegedly pilfered millions of
dollars from state coffers.
2017 Apr 24, Six people were
awarded the annual Goldman Environmental Prize. They included Mark
Lopez of southern California for work focusing on contamination from
a battery recycling plant; Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo of Congo DRC
for efforts to protect the Virunga National Park from oil
extraction; Prafulla Samantara of India for efforts to halt an
open-pit bauxite mine in Odisha state; Uros Maceri of Slovenia for
efforts to halt pollution by the Lafarge Cement Co.; Wendy Bowman of
Australia for her efforts to halt coal mining and pollution in the
Hunter Valley; and Rodrigo Tot of Guatemala for efforts to halt
evictions and government corruption related to nickel mining in El
Estor and Agua Caliente.
(SFC, 4/24/17, p.A10)
2017 Apr 26, In Guatemala
students were protesting a shortage of teachers at their school when
a car plowed into them and then fled. One of the victims, a
15-year-old girl, soon died from her injuries. The alleged driver, a
US citizen (25) and the son of an evangelical pastor, was later
taken into custody.
2017 Jun 2, In Guatemala a
court sentenced Rolando Antonio Jimenez to 23 years in prison for
the 2014 killing of journalist Felipe David Munguia Jimenez.
2017 Jun 14, A strong 6.9
magnitude earthquake hit western Guatemala along the border with
Mexico. Five people were killed with power cuts and damage to some
(AFP, 6/14/17)(SSFC, 6/18/17, p.C14)
2017 Jun 22, A magnitude 6.8
earthquake struck off the coast of Guatemala, damaging buildings and
downing trees as well as causing powerful tremors in neighboring El
Salvador. There were no reports of casualties.
2017 Jul 17, Mexican
ex-governor Javier Duarte was extradited from Guatemala to face
corruption and racketeering charges back home. Duarte left the
once-wealthy state of Veracruz on the verge of bankruptcy during his
governorship (2010-2016), allegedly stealing hundreds of millions of
dollars in public funds to buy luxury properties, Miami vacation
homes and thoroughbred horses.
2017 Aug 16, In Guatemala at
least two people were killed and five arrested when alleged gang
members shot up one of the country's largest hospitals to free a
2017 Aug 17, El Salvador and
Guatemala passed legislation that would outlaw marriage with minor
even in cases of parental consent or pregnancy.
(AP, 8/18/17)(SFC, 8/19/17, p.A2)
2017 Aug 25, Guatemala’s chief
prosecutor Thelma Aldana asked a court to strip Pres. Jimmy Morales
of his immunity so an investigation of alleged campaign finance
violations may proceed.
(SSFC, 8/27/17, p.A3)
2017 Aug 27, Guatemala’s
President Jimmy Morales announced he is expelling the head of a UN
anti-corruption commission (CICIG) that is investigating the
president's campaign financing. He also announced he was firing
Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales for failure to carry out the
expulsion. The constitutional court soon blocked the expulsion
(AP, 8/27/17)(Econ, 9/2/17, p.29)
2017 Sep 10, A five-member
commission of Guatemalan legislators recommended lifting President
Jimmy Morales' immunity from prosecution so he can face possible
trial on campaign-finance accusations. Prosecutors allege that about
$825,000 in financing for Morales' 2015 campaign was hidden and that
other expenditures had no explainable source of funding.
2017 Dec 24, Guatemala's Pres.
President Jimmy Morales announced that his country will move its
embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, becoming the first nation to follow
the lead of US Pres. Donald Trump in ordering the change. Guatemala
and Israel have long had close ties, especially in security matters
and Israeli arms sales to Guatemala.
2017 Dec 25, The Palestinian
foreign ministry slammed as "shameful" Guatemala's decision a day
earlier to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem after the United States
recognized the city as the capital of Israel.
2018 Jan 20, Former Guatemalan
presidential candidate Manuel Baldizon was detained while trying to
enter the United States without a visa and was awaiting deportation.
He faced graft charges upon his return home. Guatemala’s
prosecutor's office carried out 10 raids and arrested three people
as part of the Odebrecht investigation.
2018 Feb 1, Researchers
announced the finding of tens of thousands of previously undetected
Mayan houses, buildings, defense works and pyramids in the dense
jungle of Guatemala's Peten region, suggesting that millions more
people lived there than previously thought. The Mayan culture
flourished between roughly 1,000 BC and 900 AD.
2018 Feb 13, In Guatemala
former President Alvaro Colom (2008-2012) and Juan Alberto Fuentes,
a former finance minister who is now chairman of Oxfam
International, were arrested along with eight others as part of a
local corruption investigation.
2018 Mar 4, Guatemala said it
will relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem this May, two days
after the United States shifts its mission.
2018 Mar 20, The UN's
anti-corruption commission in Guatemala said the government has
removed 11 police investigators working with a panel to uncover
(SFC, 3/21/18, p.A2)
2018 Apr 1, Efrain Rios Montt
(b.1926), former dictator of Guatemala (1982-1983), died in
(SFC, 4/5/18, p.D5)
2018 Apr 15, Guatemalan voters
were called out to decide whether the International Court of Justice
(ICJ) should rule on a border dispute with neighboring Belize that
goes back more than 200 years.
2018 Apr 27, Former Guatemalan
Pres. Alvaro Arzu (72) died in Guatemala City. He served as
president from 1996 to 2000 and signed the 1996 peace accord ending
the country's civil war. He later became mayor of the capital.
2018 Apr 27, In Switzerland
Erwin Sperisen, Guatemala's former police chief, was slapped with a
15-year prison sentence after being reconvicted for the deaths of
seven inmates in Pavon jail (Guatemala) in September 2006. Sperisen
held dual Swiss and Guatemalan citizenship and local rules allowed
Swiss citizens to be tried at home for crimes committed abroad.
2018 May 4, Guatemalan
authorities said they have arrested three current and former army
officers on suspicion of corruption involving the Defense Ministry.
2018 May 10, Guatemala asked
both Sweden and Venezuela to remove their ambassadors and accused
them of interfering in its internal affairs. A few days earlier
Sweden's ambassador Anders Kompass had announced Sweden's financial
support for a United Nations-sponsored commission investigating
corruption in Guatemala.
2018 May 16, Guatemala
inaugurated its Israel embassy in Jerusalem, becoming the first
country to follow in the footsteps of the United States' deeply
2018 May 23, In south Texas
Claudia Gomez (19) of Guatemala was shot and killed by a border
patrol officer who opened fire after several people reportedly
attacked the agent with blunt objects in Rio Bravo.
2018 Jun 3, Guatemala's Fuego
volcano, near the colonial city of Antigua, erupted sending a
pyroclastic flow that engulfed the village of El Rodeo. At least 25
people were reported killed.
2018 Jun 4, In Guatemala a hot
flow of mud, ash and gas swept down from the Fuego volcano, after a
new explosion in the morning interrupted disaster workers pulling
bodies from the brown sludge known as a pyroclastic flow that
engulfed the village of El Rodeo. The national disaster agency
raised the death toll to 69.
(Reuters, 6/4/18)(SFC, 6/5/18, p.A2)
2018 Jun 7, The United States
said it is sending emergency aid, including financial resources, to
help meet food, water and sanitation needs for victims affected by
the eruption of Guatemala's Volcano of Fire. Guatemalan officials
have confirmed 99 dead, with many more missing.
2018 Jun 9, In Guatemala the
Volcano of Fire released a fresh flow of burning sediment almost a
week after the initial eruption left at least 110 people dead and
200 about missing.
(SFC, 6/11/18, p.A2)
2018 Aug 3, Former Guatemalan
president Alvaro Colom, arrested in February over corruption
allegations, left preventative detention after his $133,000 bond was
2018 Aug 31, Guatemalan
President Jimmy Morales announced that he is shutting down a
crusading UN-sponsored anti-graft commission that pressed a number
of high-profile corruption probes, including one pending against the
president himself over purported illicit campaign financing.
2018 Oct 9, Former Guatemalan
Vice President Roxana Baldetti (56) was sentenced to 15-1/2 years in
prison for fraud, influence peddling and illicit association related
to a government contract to clean up a polluted lake, in the first
of several cases she faces.
2018 Oct 18, US President
Donald Trump threatened to send the military to the Mexican border
and to imperil a trade deal in an intensification of his
anti-immigrant rhetoric ahead of congressional elections. Trump
threatened to close the US-Mexico border if authorities there fail
to stop an impromptu caravan, as about 3,000 Hondurans made their
way north through Guatemala.
(AFP, 10/18/18)(AP, 10/18/18)
2018 Oct 19, Members of a
3,000-strong US-bound migrant caravan massed in a Guatemalan border
town and prepared to begin crossing the muddy Suchiate River to
Mexico. Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said that members of
a caravan of Central American migrants heading north should proceed
individually if they decide to enter Mexico.
(AP, 10/19/18)(Reuters, 10/19/18)
2018 Oct 19, Hundreds of
Central American migrants bedded down overnight on a bridge
separating Guatemala and Mexico, many squeezed against a metal
border gate, as efforts to halt a trek north by a caravan of
thousands of people gathered pace under US pressure. A rush on the
border ended when Mexican security forces with riot shields and
pepper spray drove them back.
(Reuters, 10/19/18)(AP, 10/20/18)
2018 Oct 22, President Donald
Trump said the US will start cutting aid to Guatemala, Honduras and
El Salvador as a caravan of thousands of mostly Honduran migrants
rolled on regardless toward the US border.
2018 Oct 30, More than 1,000
migrants forged across the river from Guatemala and began walking
through southern Mexico reaching the city of Tapachula, some 250
miles behind a larger group moving toward the US border.
(SFC, 10/31/18, p.A2)
2018 Nov 19, Nearly 4,000
people were evacuated from areas around Guatemala's Fuego volcano,
which began violently erupting overnight.
2019 Jan 9, Guatemala's top
court overturned a decision by President Jimmy Morales to shut down
a UN anti-corruption mission to the central American country.
2019 Jan 12, Thousands of
Guatemalans marched against President Jimmy Morales's bid to close a
UN anti-corruption mission that sought to investigate him on
suspicion of campaign finance violations.
2019 Mar 7, In central Mexico
at least 25 Central American migrants died when the truck they were
traveling in overturned in Chiapas state. 23 of those killed were
2019 Mar 28, In western
Guatemala a large truck slammed into a crowd gathered on a dark
highway, killing 18 people and leaving bodies scattered on the
roadway. The truck driver fled the scene.
2019 Mar 30, The US government
cut aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras after President
Donald Trump blasted the Central American countries for sending
migrants to the United States and threatened to shutter the
2019 Apr 12, Some 350 migrants
broke the locks on a gate at Mexico's border with Guatemala and
forced their way into southern Mexico to join a larger group of
migrants trying to make their way to the US.
(SSFC, 4/14/19, p.A4)
2019 Apr, In Guatemala the
“Phoenix" case was made public. An investigation found that
businesspeople and others had conspired to launder about $50 million
in a huge fraud involving the country’s Social Security Institute.
The mastermind of the operation was reported to be businessman
Gustavo Adolfo Herrera Castillo, with the help of his son Sergio
Alfredo Herrera Acevedo, among others.
2019 May 7, In Guatemala
gunfire during a prison riot left at least seven inmates dead at the
Pavon Rehabilitation Model Farm in Fraijanes.
(SFC, 5/8/19, p.A2)
2019 May 13, Guatemala's top
court said that it had barred the daughter of former military
dictator Efrain Rios Montt from taking part in presidential
elections in June.
2019 Jun 16, Guatemalans went
to the polls to elect a new president after a tumultuous campaign
that saw two leading candidates barred from taking part and the top
electoral crimes prosecutor forced to flee the country, fearing for
his life. Businesswoman and former first lady Sandra Torres (63)
took 24% of the vote from the election, followed by four-time
presidential candidate Alejandro Giammattei with 14%. An August
runoff will determine the next leader.
(AFP, 6/16/19)(AP, 6/17/19)
2019 Jul 23, Guatemala's
Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel blamed unnamed "national actors" for
damaging relations with the United States and said they would be
responsible if US President Donald Trump puts tariffs on the poor
Central American nation.
2019 Jul 26, President Donald
Trump said US has reached a deal with Guatemala to stop migrants
from other parts of Central America from claiming asylum in the US.
Trump said Guatemala would sign a “safe-third-country" agreement
requiring migrants from nearby nations, such as Honduras and El
Salvador, to claim asylum in Guatemala instead of continuing to the
US border. Guatemala's government said the migration agreement will
last for two years and its implementation will be reviewed every
(Reuters, 7/27/19)(Bloomberg, 7/27/19)
2019 Jul 27, Hundreds of
Guatemalans gathered to protest an agreement that President Jimmy
Morales' government signed with Washington to require migrants
passing through the Central American country to seek asylum here,
rather than pushing on to the US.
2019 Aug 9, The World Food
Program (WFP) announced a plan to nearly quadruple the number of
people to receive food assistance in El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras, and Nicaragua due to five years of drought. The agency
planned assistance to some 700,000, up from 160,000 helped already
(SFC, 8/10/19, p.A2)
2019 Aug 11, Guatemalans voted
in a second round run-off election for a new president who is likely
to face a major challenge coping with a deal signed with Washington
in July to turn the country into a buffer zone to stem migration.
Former first lady Torres (63) was the candidate for the center-left
National Unity of Hope (UNE), a party she founded 2002 with her
ex-husband Alvaro Colom, president of Guatemala from 2008 to 2012.
She faced Alejandro Giammattei (63), a trained surgeon with years of
experience in state bureaucracies. Giammattei (63), who walks with
crutches because of multiple sclerosis, won a landslide victory over
Sandra Torres. Giammattei said he hoped he could make changes to a
controversial migration deal the Central American country signed
with the Trump administration last month.
(Reuters, 8/11/19)(Reuters, 8/12/19)
2019 Aug 13, Guatemala's Pres.
Alejandro Giammattei said his country is too poor to tend to its own
people, let alone those from other countries. This was in response
to a July agreement signed by the outgoing administration of Pres.
Jimmy Morales that would require migrants from other countries who
cross into Guatemala to apply for asylum locally rather than in the
(SFC, 8/15/19, p.A4)
2019 Aug 28, A UN commission
(CICIG) that spent the last 12 years probing graft in Guatemala
described the country as "captured" by corruption in its final
report, days before it is set to wrap up operations after President
Jimmy Morales refused to renew its mandate.
2019 Sep 2, Guatemalan police
arrested former presidential candidate Sandra Torres at her home on
charges of violating campaign finance rules, just hours before the
departure of a UN anti-corruption commission that shook the
2019 Sep 18, Guatemala's
interior minister said his country must now consider itself a
cocaine producing nation and not just a transit country for the
powerful narcotic after authorities discovered new coca processing
laboratories. Guatemala imposed a state of emergency earlier this
month after three soldiers were killed in what the government said
was an ambush by drug traffickers. This gave the military extra
powers in the east of the country.
2019 Oct 12, Guatemala's
president-elect Alejandro Giammattei was denied entry to Venezuela,
where he was scheduled to meet with opposition leader Juan Guaido,
according to Venezuela's opposition.
2019 Oct 15, A senior White
House official warned Guatemala that it must reach agreement with
the United States on accepting asylum-seekers from other countries
in order to benefit from a regional economic development plan.
2019 Nov 21, The first Honduran
asylum-seeker arrived in Guatemala from El Paso, Texas, under a
controversial US agreement that establishes Guatemala as a safe
third country to process people fleeing persecution in their
2019 Dec 12, Guatemala received
the first families of migrants sent by the US under an agreement to
return non-Guatemalans who passed through that country on their way
to the US border, 14 people arrived from Honduras and El Salvador
along with 119 Guatemalans deported from El Paso, Texas.
(SFC, 12/13/19, p.A2)
2019 Dec 21, In eastern
Guatemala a trailer truck collided with a passenger bus early today,
killing at least 20 people and leaving a dozen wounded. The national
disaster agency said nine of the dead were minors.
2020 Jan 16, Guatemalan police
accompanied by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swept
up the majority of some 300 migrants and returned them to the
Honduran border. At another border point some 600 migrants rested at
a shelter after crossing the frontier earlier in the day and
encountering no resistance.
(SFC, 1/17/20, p.A5)
2020 Jan 18, More than a
thousand Central American migrants surged onto a bridge spanning the
Suchiate River between southern Mexico and Guatemala as Mexican
National Guardsmen attempted to impede their journey north.
2020 Jan 20, Some 3,000 Central
American migrants made another attempt to walk across the border
bridge into Mexico, in a new test of US President Donald Trump's
“Central America" strategy to keep them away from the US border.
Hundreds of Mexican National Guard troops deployed to the bridge and
the banks of shallow Suchiate River that divides the country from
2020 Jan 21, The UN said rising
numbers of children in Guatemala are going hungry as drought linked
to climate change reduces food harvests, fueling child malnutrition
2020 Jan 31, Guatemala said it
is imposing travel restrictions on people who have recently been in
China to prevent the new coronavirus entering the Central American
2020 Mar 2, A Guatemalan court
sentenced Pedro Muadi, the former president of the country's
congress, to more than 30 years in prison for acts of corruption.
2020 Mar 15, Guatemala logged
its first fatality from the coronavirus.
2020 Mar 26, Nestle-owned N
espresso, the maker of coffee brewing pods and machines, said it has
found child labor at three farms where it buys coffee in Guatemala.
The company said it has implemented a prevention plan to ward off
potential further abuse.
2020 Apr 3, Guatemala said a
man deported from the US has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Guatemala has 49 confirmed cases and one death.
(SSFC, 4/5/20, p.A7)
2020 Apr 17, Guatemalan
President Alejandro Giammattei said a large number of migrants on a
deportation flight to Guatemala from the United States this week
were infected with the coronavirus, adding that US authorities had
confirmed a dozen cases.
2020 Apr 19, Guatemala said a
total of 50 migrants deported by the United States to the country
have tested positive for coronavirus.
2020 May 1, It was reported
that Guatemala's indigenous Maya towns are spurning migrants
returned from the US. Local health officials have said that nearly
one fifth of the 585 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Guatemala can
be traced to people deported from the United States, most of them on
two flights in a single day.
2020 May 31, Tropical Storm
Amanda pounded El Salvador with rain for days before moving ashore
as a tropical storm and pushing across Guatemala. The storm left at
least 17 dead and seven missing while causing extensive damage
across El Salvador and Guatemala that pushed thousands of people
into shelters amid the coronavirus pandemic.
2020 Jun 6, In Guatemala
Domingo Choc Che, a Mayan medicine specialist and traditional
healer, was murdered by a mob after he was accused of witchcraft in
his hometown of Chimay. Che, a collaborator on a University College
London (UCL) pharmaceutical project, was burnt alive.
(The Independent, 6/8/20)
2020 Jun 14, It was reported
that at least 58 employees of Guatemala's presidential offices have
tested positive for the coronavirus. Guatemala has reported 8,600
infections and 351 deaths.
(SSFC, 6/14/20, p.A8)
2020 Jun 20, Guatemala replaced
its health minister. The country has reported more than 11,000
coronavirus cases and 449 deaths.
(SSFC, 6/21/20, p.A6)
2020 Jul 15, It was reported
that death threats in Guatemala have driven two anti-corruption
prosecutors from the country in the past year, and their unit’s
leader has a protective order from a regional human rights
commission because he is constantly harassed and threatened.
2020 Jul 29, Guatemala's
government has reported more than 47,000 confirmed infections and
more 1,800 deaths nationwide. Local hospitals say they have had to
bury dozens of COVID-19 victims who have never been identified, and
one hospital is creating archives in hopes that once the pandemic
passes, their relatives will come looking for them.
2020 Sep 18, Guatemalan
President Alejandro Giammattei (64) said he has tested positive for
the new coronavirus, but he told a local radio station he feels
2020 Oct 1, About 2,000
Honduran migrants hoping to reach the United States entered
Guatemala on foot this morning, testing the newly reopened frontier
that had been shut by the coronavirus pandemic. Guatemala’s Pres.
Alejandro Giammattei quickly vowed to detain them and return them to
2020 Oct 3, Hundreds of
US-bound Honduran migrants, who had entered Guatemala this week
without registering, were bused back to their country's border by
authorities who met them with a large roadblock.
2020 Nov 5, The rain-heavy
remains of Hurricane Eta flooded homes in Honduras as the death toll
across Central America rose to at least 13. Guatemalan President
Alejandro Giammattei said at least 50 people had been killed in
landslides in his own country adding to seven victims in Honduras
and two in Nicaragua. Guatemala’s national emergency agency later
said only that at least 50 people were missing in San Cristobal
2020 Nov 7, Searchers in
Guatemala dug through mud and debris looking for an estimated 100
people believed buried by a massive, rain-fueled landslide, as the
remnants of Hurricane Eta strengthened and the storm churned toward
Cuba. 44 people were confirmed dead.
(AP, 11/7/20)(Econ., 11/14/20, p.32)
2020 Nov 21, Protesters in
Guatemala set fire to part of the Congress of the Republic of
Guatemala building, and participants in a student-led march set up a
guillotine outside. The demonstrators had taken to the street in
response to a controversial budget bill passed this week that will
make cuts to health care, education, human rights programs, and the
judiciary, while increasing lawmakers' stipends for meals and other
(NY Times, 11/22/20)
2020 Nov 22, In Honduras
thousands of victims from hurricanes Eta and Iota have taken shelter
under highway overpasses or bridges as shelters became overcrowded.
In all, some 200 people died and 7 million were affected by the
storms, most of them in Honduras and Guatemala.
(SFC, 11/23/20, p.A4)(Econ., 12/12/20, p.38)
2020 Nov 23, Guatemala's
Congress backed down on a federal budget that slashed social
spending and drew angry protests.
(SFC, 11/24/20, p.A2)
2020 Nov 29, It was reported
that El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have rounded up hundreds of
suspected street gang members as part of US-backed "Operation
Regional Shield." Arrest warrants had been issued for 1,152 suspects
of whom 572 were arrested in a week-long effort.
(SSFC, 11/29/20, p.A4)
2021 Jan 6, In Guatemala Mynor
Padilla was found guilty of homicide for the 2009 fatal shooting of
Adolfo Ich, a Maya Q’eqchi’ teacher and community leader who opposed
the Fenix mine outside the town of El Estor. German Chub was shot
and paralyzed by mine security personnel on September 27, 2009, the
same day Ich was killed.
(The Guardian, 1/7/21)
2021 Jan 17, Hundreds of mostly
Honduran migrants huddled overnight on a highway in eastern
Guatemala after domestic security forces used sticks and tear gas to
halt the passage of a US-bound caravan just days before U.S.
President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
2021 Jan 23, Mexico's President
Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that Pres. Joe Biden told him a day
earlier that the US would send $4 billion to help development in
Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — nations whose hardships have
spawned tides of migration through Mexico toward the US.
2021 Feb 5, Guatemala's foreign
ministry said the US government has ended a controversial deal with
Guatemala that sent asylum-seekers processed at the US-Mexico border
to the Central American country to await hearings.
2021 Feb 6, US Secretary of
State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration has notified El
Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that the US has suspended, with
immediate effect, the Asylum Cooperative Agreements and will begin
the process of terminating them.
2021 Mar 2, Guatemala’s
Congress began reshaping the country’s highest court, selecting a
new magistrate and an alternate in decisions that could have grave
consequences for the battle against corruption and impunity.
2021 Apr 12, The Biden
administration announced that it has reached deals with Mexico,
Honduras and Guatemala to increase border enforcement, aiming to
reduce migrant flows.
2021 Apr 13, Guatemala's
Congress refused to appoint a graft-fighting judge as president of
the Constitutional Court, a move critics say could set back the
fight against corruption.
2021 Apr 16, Guatemala said it
will restrict entry to visitors who have recently been to Brazil,
the United Kingdom and South Africa in an effort to control a jump
in coronavirus cases. Confirmed cases reached 210,667.
(The Telegraph, 4/17/21)
2021 Apr 21, Guatemalan
prosecutors requested that former President Jimmy Morales be
stripped of his immunity so he can be prosecuted for violating the
mandate of the United Nations-backed anti-corruption mission then
working in the country. Morales, who led Guatemala from 2016 to
2020, has immunity because after his term he immediately became a
representative to the Central American Parliament.