Security & Strategic Review - April 2024

GUATEMALA: Addressing indigenous demands

In March Guatemala’s new President Bernardo Arévalo inked a development agreement with authorities from three indigenous Ixil Mayan municipalities in Quiché department. The communities were a key target of genocide perpetuated by state forces during the 1960-1996 civil war, in which some 250,000 civilians were killed or disappeared, some 80% of which were indigenous. Arévalo hailed the new accord as “historic” and a sign of his government’s commitment to the long marginalised indigenous sector which, at some 44% of the population, is the biggest in Central America. Having no doubt identified a prospective government led by anti-corruption outsider Arévalo as its best prospect for addressing the rampant inequality which it faces, the indigenous sector played a key role in the huge protests against efforts by the corrupt establishment aimed at reversing his electoral victory [SSR-24-01]. The new government, which took office in January, is now under pressure to address the sector’s demands.

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