Latin America

Violence and arrests compound swirling crisis in Guatemala

Unpopular head of state Alejandro Giammattei was shot at during a visit to Guatemala's western highlands, while he faces criticism over arrest of prominent journalist

Violence and arrests compound swirling crisis in Guatemala
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei’s entourage was attacked last week. Photo: Daniel Hernandez-Salazar

Guatemala shares several similarities with its Central American neighbors. Of its 17.6 million residents, 43.8 percent self-declare as indigenous; the banana trade makes up for almost 10 percent of all exports, and the open wounds of revolutions, massacres, corruption, and a U.S.-backed coup mean crisis is never too far around the corner.

The latest chapter of plight was written at the end of last month, when Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei’s entourage was attacked with gunfire in the western highland department of Huehuetenango. The head of state narrowly escaped unharmed.

Immediately, fingers were pointed at local indigenous groups....

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