Blog, This Week in Latin America

Guatemala’s Colom Apologizes for Dos Erres Massacre

December 16, 2011 By Staff

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom apologized Thursday for a notorious massacre that claimed the lives of 201 adults and children in the village of Dos Erres in December 1982, during Guatemala’s 36-year armed conflict. In a special ceremony at the Palace of Culture, Colom referred to the fact that none of the members of the military responsible for the massacre had been brought to justice until this August, when four former soldiers were sentenced to 30 years each for the murders. The Canadian government is currently under pressure to prosecute for crimes against humanity the U.S.-Canadian-Guatemalan citizen Jorge Sosa Orantes, a former member of the Guatemalan military unit that carried out the Dos Erres massacre, rather than extradite him to the United States to face lesser charges. Colom’s apology on Thursday comes less than a week after El Salvador’s Foreign Minister, Hugo Martínez, apologized for Salvadoran troops’ massacre of thousands of villagers in the Salvadoran town of El Mozote in December 1981. The El Mozote massacre in El Salvador and the Dos Erres massacre in Guatemala occurred within a year of each other, both carried out by U.S.-backed security forces who claimed to be fighting leftist guerrillas.

Read more from the BBC.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Days after two Mexican protesters were shot to death during a student protest in Guerrero, authorities discovered three unidentified bodies Wednesday at the headquarters of the Federation of Guadalajara Students in nearby Jalisco state.
  • U.S. Lawmakers are planning to introduce a BRAIN act that would give foreign students who have earned a Master’s or Ph.D. degree in the U.S. a fast track to a permanent visa.
  • An annual public opinion survey by the German Marshall Fund found that a slight majority of Americans support retaining birthright citizenship, a right guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, and that almost two-thirds support the Dream Act.


  • The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers extended its period of public comment for a draft report on a 90-mile oil pipeline to be built in Puerto Rico. The document hasn’t yet been translated into Spanish.
  • While Barack Obama reiterated his support of unrestricted remittances and visits for Cuban-Americans with family in Cuba, some Cuban-Americans worry about a rider to a spending bill that would impose stricter limits on both.

Central America


Southern Cone

Image: Surizar @ Flickr.

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