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Guatemala: The secret to a town's perfect potatoes? Its well-preserved forest.
11 February 2019 - Like the rest of Quetzaltenango, a department in southwestern Guatemala, Concepcion Chiquirichapa is known for the quality of its potatoes. The type of soil in western Guatemala is perfect for growing underground crops such as potatoes and other tubers, carrots, and radishes. The rise of potato agriculture there is due, in part, to the use of leaf litter as an organic fertilizer and a steady supply of high-quality water from the local forest, which the town began restoring and protecting four decades ago. (more)

Guatemala: Off-grid solar for rural communities
26 April 2018 - For the 1.2 billion people across the world who lack access to energy in their homes, Kingo -- a Guatemala-based off-grid solar company -- offers prepaid solar energy plans that cost less than candles and diesel. For actor and sustainability advocate Leo DiCaprio, the plan aligns with his work around climate change and the environment. (more)

Lasers reveal a Maya civilization so dense it blew experts' minds
3 February 2018 - They were hidden there, all this time, under the cover of tree canopies in the jungles of northern Guatemala: tens of thousands of structures built by the Maya over a millennium ago. ... But it is not only about protecting cultural treasures, Ms. Hernandez said. The project is part of a broad push to fight climate change, generate tourism dollars, and prevent illegal activities like border trafficking and deforestation in protected areas. (more)

Scientists find massive Mayan society under Guatemala jungle
2 February 2018 - Researchers using a high-tech aerial mapping technique have found 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 discoveries, which included industrial-sized agricultural fields and irrigation canals, were announced Thursday (1 February)... (more)

New technology reveals numerous ancient Maya structures in Guatemala
1 February 2018 - Thousands of previously unknown ancient Maya structures, including pyramids, palaces, and causeways, have been revealed in Guatemala following an investigation by a team of international archaeologists using ground-penetrating laser technology. The ancient Maya civilization was one of the most advanced to arise in Mesoamerica, marked by sophisticated mathematics and engineering that allowed it to spread throughout present-day Central America and southern Mexico. (more)

Indigenous Mayans win stunning repeal of hated 'Monsanto Law'
19 October 2015 - The success of the Guatemalan people in defending their food sovereignty and stopping 'Monsanto Law' is an inspiring example that people, when united, can overpower even the largest of corporations. A new law was passed in Guatemala in June 2015 that would have given exclusivity on patented seeds to a handful of transnational companies such as Monsanto. The opposition brought together a diverse set of people from across the Central American nation. On 2 September, a large group of Mayan indigenous people blocked several streets in front of the Congress and demanded the immediate overturn of the law. Coinciding with several court injunctions in order to stop the new law from taking effect, the peaceful protests finally ended on 4 September 2015, after ten days, when the Congress of Guatemala repealed the law. (more)

Guatemala: Organic farming revolutionizing Guatemalan communities
26 September 2014 - Aid group Blessing International is helping people in Guatemala grow tasty organic vegetables -- food to nourish their families and to sell in the market. The farming techniques the aid group teaches can literally revolutionize a low-income agricultural community. Upscale restaurants prefer organic vegetables, which enhance their menus and their profits. (more)

Guatemalan indigenous designs win new respect
22 September 2013 - With their brightly coloured fabrics filled with animals and landscapes, Guatemala's indigenous had long used textiles to tell stories and share their visions of the universe. Now, embroidered Mayan textiles known as huipiles are undergoing a revival in some of the country's finest boutiques as they become a haute couture fixture. Young Guatemalan designers are using them for everything from evening gowns and purses to handmade shoes sold as far away as Dubai. (more)

Giant Maya carvings found in Guatemala
11 August 2013 - Archaeologist Anya Shetler cleans an inscription below an ancient stucco frieze recently unearthed in the buried Maya city of Holmul in the Peten region of Guatemala. Sunlight from a tunnel entrance highlights the carved legs of a ruler sitting atop the head of a Maya mountain spirit. The enormous frieze-which measures 26 feet by nearly 7 feet (8 meters by 2 meters) -- depicts human figures in a mythological setting, suggesting these may be deified rulers. It was discovered in July in the buried foundations of a rectangular pyramid in Holmul. (more)

Guatemala's homicide rate falls for third year in a row
2 January 2013 - Homicides in Guatemala, which has one of the world's highest murder rates, fell in 2012 for a third year as authorities ramped up their battle against Mexican drug cartels and other organized criminals, the security ministry said on Wednesday 2 January. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
Short Summaries of Top Stories

Mayan community in Guatemala embraces Transcendental Meditation
15 November 2011 - In the past few years, hundreds of people in the Mayan indigenous community of Guatemala have learned the Transcendental Meditation Programme and one of its advanced techniques, Yogic Flying. This represents an important step forward, not only for the Mayan community, but also for the country. Guatemala has a history of war, conflict, and violence, but with the peaceful, coherent influence created by hundreds of practitioners of Transcendental Meditation and Yogic Flying, many feel this violence will soon come to an end. (more)

Programmes to support peace and stability bear fruit in Guatemala
23 August 2011 - The foundation for invincible peace, prosperity, and progress will soon be established in Guatemala, when sufficient numbers of people are practising Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programmes together in coherence-creating groups, including in schools and rehabilitation centres of the Mayan people. (more)

Guatemala: Youth in schools, probation centres thrive with Transcendental Meditation, promote peace in their nation
11 July 2011 - In the last six months, many young people in orphanages, probation centres, and schools in Guatemala have been learning the Transcendental Meditation Programme. The country has been plagued by high levels of violence, and through their group meditations, students are helping to create an invincible influence of coherence, harmony, and peace throughout the nation. (more)

Invincibility for Guatemala through the Mayan schools and families of El Estor
18 May 2008 - Speaking recently on Maharishi's Global Family Chat, Raja Jose Luis Alvarez, Raja of Latin America for the Global Country of World Peace, reported on the new programme to create invincibility in Guatemala that has started in the town of El Estor. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Guatemala town destroyed by volcano thought it was safe
8 June 2018 - Orlando Paez plans never to go back to his hamlet of San Miguel Los Lotes, where he narrowly escaped an onrushing river of superheated volcanic ash as his dying neighbors screamed for help. ... A good question is why authorities ever allowed it in the first place. Nestled on the flanks of the extremely active volcano, the village was square in the path of a gulch that channeled the downhill flow of fast-moving hot rock, ash, and debris when the mountain erupted Sunday (3 June), burying homes up to their rooftops. At least 109 people were killed and nearly 200 remain missing, according to the most recent official toll. ... the village was first settled in the 1950s as housing for coffee pickers who worked on local plantations ... (more)

At Guatemala volcano, search halted as death toll hits 109
7 June 2018 - Rescuers suspended search and recovery efforts Thursday (7 June) at villages devastated by the eruption of Guatemala's Volcano of Fire, leaving people with missing loved ones distraught and prompting some to do the risky work themselves with rudimentary tools. Conred, the national disaster agency, said climatic conditions and still-hot volcanic material were making it dangerous for rescuers, and it was also taking into account the fact that 72 hours had passed since Sunday's eruption. 'It rained very hard yesterday. ... The soil is unstable,' said Pablo Castillo, a spokesman for national police. (more)

Guatemala volcano alert too late to save lives, officials admit
7 June 2018 - A communication breakdown between a disaster agency and volcanologists in Guatemala delayed evacuations as gas and ash clouds cascaded down the Fuego volcano last Sunday (3 June) in its most violent eruption in four decades, authorities have admitted. Compounding the situation, rain and clouds hid signs of the toxic shower of debris, known as a pyroclastic flow, hurtling down the mountainside, hindering visual observation. (more)

Guatemala's Fuego volcano eruption kills 25, injures hundreds
3 June 2018 - An estimated 25 people, including at least three children, were killed and nearly 300 injured on Sunday in the most violent eruption of Guatemala's Fuego volcano in more than four decades, officials said. Volcan de Fuego, whose name means 'Volcano of Fire', spewed an 8-kilometer (5-mile) stream of red hot lava and belched a thick plume of black smoke and ash that rained onto the capital and other regions. (more)

Guatemalan mine dispute militarizes region
1 June 2013 - The neighbours of the San Rafael silver mine no longer come out of their homes for fear of the machine-gun toting troops and police who man checkpoints in these green, wooded mountains. The plaza in the town of San Rafael Las Flores, where the community used to mingle, is now deserted. The fear that rules this terrain, where residents are mostly Xinca Indians, recalls the bad old days of the country's three-decade-long civil war, which killed as many as 200,000 people. But what's brought in the troops this time are protests over plans by Vancouver-based Tahoe Resources Inc to tap what the company says is one of the five largest silver deposits in the world. Protesters say the project, called El Escobal, will drain or pollute the local water supply, and hundreds of people have blocked roads and burned buildings to stop it from going forward. That's tested President Otto Perez Molina, who sent in hundreds of troops and suspended the right to hold public gatherings in four townships near the mine in early May. It was the second time during his 16 months in office that he has declared a state of siege in response to protests against a foreign-run mining project. With violence rising, the mine protests have now emerged not only as a threat to Perez Molina's young administration but also a warning to other foreign companies seeking to invest in the region. The residents of San Rafael, however, say they're been left with no choice but to fight. They also accuse the government of favouring foreign investors over communities. (more)

Guatemala's top court annuls Rios Montt genocide conviction
20 May 2013 - Guatemala's highest court on Monday overturned a genocide conviction against former dictator Efrain Rios Montt and reset his trial back to when a dispute broke out a month ago over who should hear the case. Rios Montt, 86, was found guilty on 10 May of overseeing the killings by the armed forces of at least 1,771 members of the Maya Ixil population during his 1982-83 rule. He was sentenced to 80 years in prison. However, in a ruling on Monday, the country's Constitutional Court ordered that all the proceedings be voided going back to 19 April. Ana Caba, an ethnic Ixil who survived the civil war after fleeing her home, was stunned by the Constitutional Court's decision. 'I'm distressed,' she told Reuters. 'I don't know what's happening. That's how this country is. The powerful people do what they want and we poor and indigenous are devalued. We don't get justice. Justice means nothing for us.' (more)

Guatemalans live in fear again as drug gangs move in
7 October 2011 - Fifteen years after the end of a brutal civil war in Guatemala that sent tens of thousands of people fleeing to Mexico, refugees are again camping at the border. But these days they are running from a new kind of conflict -- the occupation by drug traffickers of large swathes of Guatemala's territory. Mexican cartels working with local gangs control around 40 per cent of Guatemala. ``There are parts of Guatemala that have been abandoned by the state, where there are no public services, that are being taken over by the capos,'' said Francisco Dall'Anese, who heads a special United Nations panel on corruption in Guatemala. 95 per cent of South America cocaine passes through Guatemala on its way to Mexico and then to the United States. The army says it is now outgunned by cartels after 1996 peace accords shrunk its ranks, and their job is made harder as the Zetas lure some of their former colleagues to their side. The Zetas were formed by deserters from an elite Mexican army unit and look to recruit other well-trained military men. (more)

Guatemala: Massacre work of Mexico drug gang Zetas
16 May 2011 - Guatemalan authorities on Monday blamed a weekend of violence in which 27 ranch workers lost their lives, on the Mexican drug cartel, the Zetas, which has set up shop in Guatemala and brought its terror tactics to the rural indigenous area along the Mexican border. Investigators are looking into ties between the ranch owner, Otto Salguero, and drug trafficking, but none of the victims had ties to drug cartels, authorities said. Rather they were innocent ranch workers and their families caught up in an increasingly bloody war mirroring the Zetas quest for territory in Mexico. Two women and two children were among the dead. Mexican drug cartels now operate virtually uninhibited in Central America. (more)

Guatemala extends state of siege in violent north
18 January 2011 - Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom says 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. Colom says the monthlong state of siege that began on 19 December when hundreds of police and soldiers were sent to Alta Verapaz province has been successful but that he'll extend it an extra month 'because more needs to be done.' The Zetas began controlling cocaine traffic in the area in 2008 after killing Guatemalan drug boss Juan Jose 'Juancho' Leon. (more)

Drug gang suspects threaten 'war' in Guatemala
28 December 2010 - 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, authorities said Tuesday. The message, which the radio broadcasters read out Monday, threatened violence if Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom does not fulfill unspecified promises. It said 'war will start in this country, in shopping malls, schools, and police stations.' Residents in the city of Coban say gangs roam the streets with assault rifles and armoured vehicles, extorting and kidnapping people. Shootouts have become a daily occurrence. (more)


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