Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Comprehensive List of Airports in Guatemala



Here's a list of Airports in Guatemala (at least what's left of them after the rain):
A Comprehensive List of Airports in Guatemala: http://www.all-about-guatemala.com/guatemala-airport.html


Read Mark Francis' blog and sign up for email updates; while I don't agree with everything Mark thinks or experiences, you won't be bored. And you will get a taste of what Guatemala is really like. Buckle your seatbelts!

Great blog on "All About Guatemala" and updated all the time.

More at:

Mark Francis
GuateLiving-Real Life in Guatemala
http://GuateLiving.com

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

INVITACION CONFERENCIA UVG-ALTIPLANO, MIERCOLES 29 DE SEPTIEMBRE 2010

de Universidad del Valle de Guatemala-Altiplano,

La Embajada de los Estados Unidos de América y la Universidad del Valle de Guatemala-Altiplano,  comprometidos en realizar aportes académicos en la búsqueda de soluciones a  la problemática que aqueja el departamento de Sololá.  Programa para el día miércoles 29 de septiembre de 2010, en las instalaciones de este campus en el horario de 9:00 a 11:00hrs,  la conferencia ¿Qué puede hacer el individuo y la comunidad frente al problema de contaminación y Cyanobacterias en el Lago Atitlán?, disertada por el Ing. Antonio Quiñones, Director Adjunto de la División de Ciencias y Apoyo a los Ecosistemas, de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de los EE.UU.

Se adjunta invitación,  agradeceré confirmar  de recibido la presente y confirmar participación  antes del 24 de septiembre de 2010.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
English:

The Embassy of the United States and the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Altiplano are committed to make academic contributions in the search for solutions to the problems plaguing the department of Solola. 

A conference has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 29, 2010, at the premises of the university campus in Solola between 9:00am to 11:00am hrs. How can an individual or community address the problems of pollution and Cyanobacteria in Lake Atitlán? Lectured by Mr. Antonio Quiñones, Deputy Director of the Division of Science and Ecosystem Support of the Environmental Protection Agency U.S.

Above you see the invitation, thank you and please confirm participation before September 24, 2010

(The program is in Spanish).

Guatemalan president seeks aid from UN

Guatemala's president says the Central American nation will need at least $1 billion in aid to recover from tropical storms that killed at least 259 people and destroyed hundreds of bridges throughout the largely rural, mountainous nation beginning in late May.

President Alvaro Colom told The Associated Press on Monday that several European countries and the United States have confirmed they will attend an October meeting of donor countries to help rebuild Guatemala after widespread damage caused by Tropical Storm Agatha and subsequent storms.

"Main roads are devastated," said Colom. "We have 69 important bridges and 410 small bridges that are destroyed." He said four entire communities have to be moved to new locations.

Now, Colom said, Guatemala needs to create rules that prohibit the construction homes in areas vulnerable to heavy rains and flooding. "We cannot keep constructing as we have been," he said.

Colom spoke on the sidelines of a three-day world summit that opened Monday to study progress in the U.N. Millennium Development Goals set a decade ago to cut global poverty rates in half.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

1er Simposio sobre Cianobacterias, cianotoxinas, el agua y la salud

1er Simposio sobre 
Cianobacterias, cianotoxinas, el agua y la salud

El evento se llevará a cabo en el auditorium de la Universidad Landivar, edificio H, Vista Hermosa III, Campus Central, zona 16. Estacionamiento no. 5, costará Q5.00 todo el día.


Universidad Rafael Landívar
Vista Hermosa III
Campus Central Zona 16
Guatemala City
Tel (+502) 2426-2626 (Extension: 2960 for Auditorium)
(Edificio H, Auditurium)


La inscripción al evento puede hacerse anticipadamente en AGISA, 0 calle 15-46 zona 15, Colonia El Maestro tel. 23693703 de 8 a 13 horas, o depositando su inversión en la cuenta 49-0017051-1, del BAM, a nombre de AGISA. El valor de la inversión es la siguiente:
· Antes del 20 de septiembre, profesionales Q300.00, Q150.00 estudiantes universitarios de pregrado de últimos años con
carné. Extranjeros US$50.00.
· Después del 20 de septiembre, la cuota será, respectivamente, de Q400, Q200 y US$60.00.
· El día del event o, la inversión será de: Q500, Q250 y US$75.00.
· Incluye almuerzos, coffee breaks, libro de resúmenes y diploma de participación.





AUDIENCIA
La actividad está dirigida a tomadores de decisión de diversos sectores y a:
* Usuarios de agua (industria, agricultura, ganadería, pesca, acuacultura, y biodiversidad)
* Autoridades del MARN, MSPAS, MAGA, INFOM, Municipalidades y Congreso de la República
* Encargados de calidad de empresas de agua privadas y municipales
* Laboratorios de salud y ambiente
* Ingenieros sanitarios, ambientales, y químicos, biólogos, agrónomos, veterinarios y zootecnistas, acuacultores, y profesiones afines
* Catedráticos, estudiantes e investigadores de carreras ambientales, recursos hídricos, salud pública
* ONGs que trabajan en gestión integrada del recurso hídrico

Si el clima lo permite, el jueves 30 de septiembre, los organizadores planear ir a Panajachel con algunos de los expertos internacionales. Estarán en el Porta Hotel del Lago esa tarde para dar un resumen sobre la actividad en Guatemala city, y contestar preguntas que la gente puede tener sobre cianobacterias, cianotoxinas, el agua y la salud.

1st Symposium on Cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, water and health

1st Symposium on Cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, water and health


Universidad Rafael Landívar
Vista Hermosa III
Campus Central Zona 16
Guatemala City
Tel (+502) 2426-2626 (Extension: 2960 for Auditorium)
(Edificio H, Auditurium)


The 3-day event will be held in the auditorium of:
University Landivar
Building H, Vista Hermosa III, Central Campus, Zone 16.
 
Parking can be done at No. 5 / costs Q5.00 per day.

Date: 27th, 28th and 29th of September 2010

Registration for the event can be done at AGISA
0 Calle 15-46 Zone 15, Colonia El Maestro
tel. 23693703 (from 08:00 to 13:00 hours), or by depositing you contribution in to account 49-0017051-1, BAM, on behalf of Agisa. 

The contribution value is:
° Before September 20, professional Q300.00 or Q150.00 for recent university  students that can show their inscription card. 
Foreigners: U.S. $ 50.00.
• After September 20, the fee will be, respectively, Q400, Q200 and $ 60.00.
• On the day of the event the fee is: Q500, Q250 and $ 75.00.
This includes lunch, coffee breaks, information book and a certificate of participation.

Symposium
The activity is aimed at decision makers in various sectors and:
* Water users (industry, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture, and biodiversity)
* Authorities MARN, MSPAS, MAGA, INFOM, Municipalities and Congress
* Responsible for quality of private water companies and municipal water
* Health and Environment ‘Laboratories’
* Sanitary engineers, environmental, chemists and biologists, agronomists, veterinarians and animal scientists and other related professions.
* Professors, students and researchers in environmental careers, water resources and public health.
* NGOs working in Integrated Water Resource Management

If the weather permits, on Thursday, September 30th, organizers plan to come to Panajachel with some of the international experts and will be at the Porta Hotel del Lago that afternoon to give an overview of the activities held in Guatemala city, and answer questions people may have on cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, water and health.

The Symposium will be in Spanish.

-Click- for full size
-Click- for full size

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guatemala's claim on part of Belize

Remember the special agreement between Belize Agreement, the so-called compromis? Well, it was signed on in December, 2008, and 21 months later on Thursday September ninth, the Guatemalan Congress unanimously approved it.


For those who framed the agreement, it is a significant accomplishment bringing Guatemala and Belize one step close to a referendum on whether or not to take the Guatemalan claim to the International Court of Justice. Speaking today from Guatemala City, Belize's ambassador to Guatemala Fred Martinez discussed the significance of this development:…
H.E. Fred Martinez, Ambassador to Guatemala

"It is significant in the sense that it shows a tremendous amount of political will on behalf of the 14 different political factions that are represented in the congress that the time has come to elevate this to a different level and a solution has to be found in an international court of justice. That has now been pass and that it's really a historic event in Guatemala."

Jules Vasquez
"While significant it is ultimately in substantial in term of the ultimate goal of resolving the differendum."

H.E. Fred Martinez, Ambassador to Guatemala
"Well I agree with you it is an important step, an historic step that has been past but it is only 1 step in the whole process, the biggest issue yet to come which is the referendum in both countries whether or not the people in both countries do so agree that it goes to the international court of justice. And then the biggest hurdle obviously is the presentation of the case if the people so agree at the international court of justice. We are just in the beginning of that process. We have been pleasantly surprise to put it very mildly that it should have pass the congress this quickly. But we have been pleasantly surprise, more so surprise by the fact that there was a unanimous vote and that there was very little debate in the congress itself."

Jules Vasquez
"How hopeful are you right now that it will happen within let's say medium term?"

H.E. Fred Martinez, Ambassador to Guatemala
"I think it is more feasible to talk about the medium term and not about the short term as I have explain about the political time tables. My personal guess and I am not talking for the government of Belize, but my personal educated guess on the issue is that this wouldn't be held until after the next general elections in Belize."

The agreement has already been approved by the House of Representatives here in Belize….

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Limit for Cash Transactions Lowered to $3,000 in Guatemala

From Central America daily news 14 September 2010

Limit for Cash Transactions Lowered to $3,000 in Guatemala

The Guatemalan Banking Superintendent (SOB) set in $3,000 the limit for transactions in cash without justifying the origin of the funds. From October on, the people that carry out money transfers over $3,000 should justify where the money comes from.

more:

Politics & Government
Limit for cash transactions decreased to $3,000

Topics::
Banking Authority (Guatemala), Edgar Barquín, Money Laundering, Prevention of Money Laundering, Banking, Government, Guatemala

©image: Daniel Borman

Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The Supervision of Banks (SOB) of Guatemala, set in $3,000 the limit for transactions in cash without justifying the origin of the funds. From October on, the people that carry out money transfers over $3,000 should justify the origin of the funds.
"The purpose of limiting the income of currencies in cash in the national financial system pretends to detect, in a more effective way, any monetary transaction that can have some criminal origin", indicated Edgar Barquín, holder of the SOB, to Elperiodico. com. gt

The new regulation also applies to financial companies, Exchange Money Houses and other banks.

Read more at the source article by Luis Lima Sanchinelli (only in spanish)

Related resources

Guatemala Unveils Committee Against Money Laundering - May 21 10 (56%)

Growing Economies subject to money laundering - Aug 20 08 (53%)

Guatemala to Oversee Prepaid Card Systems - Mar 9 10 (50%)

Guatemala Implements Rules Against Money Laundering - Mar 4 09 (49%)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Temporary-Protected Status: Does Guatemala Deserve It?

On May 27th, Guatemala’s volcano, Pacaya, located just 19 miles from the capital, erupted. Lava flowed and rocks spewed from the volcano’s mouth, killing at least two people and injuring approximately 50 more. Just two days later, Hurricane Agatha hit Guatemala, causing both extreme flooding and landslides that buried people alive. As a result of this latest savage act of nature, more than 170 people died and over 100,000 others lost their homes. The tropical storm also created a 200 feet deep sinkhole in Guatemala City.

To make matters worse, about two weeks later, on June 10th, Guatemala’s Constitutional Court dismissed Attorney General Conrado Reyes, who had only held the position since May 25th. But his questionable past already had made him into a controversial figure. Just three days before he was removed from office, the Spanish judge Carlos Castresana resigned from his post as head of a United Nations body responsible for fighting impunity in Guatemala. He left in extreme frustration, citing the appointment of Reyes, who he claimed had close ties to organized crime. He further emphasized that Guatemala was doing little to combat corruption.

In early June, Guatemala city officials asked Washington to grant it Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This status is issued when a country is being scheduled to be placed under the category’s protection. Any nationals from that country who currently are living within the U.S. are issued a stay on their being required to be returned to their homeland, even if their tourist visas have expired in the interim. As a result of their being granted such status, they can remain in the United States and even obtain authorization to work here while in the country. Countries that have received TPS usually have experienced some form of natural disaster or are witnessing the brunt of some form of armed conflict.

The volcanic eruption and hurricane that slammed Guatemala, affected as many as 400,000 people. As August ran out, Guatemala still had not been placed under TPS. Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had drafted a letter to President Obama in July, urging him to extend TPS to the Central American nation. Kerry highlighted the crises that had been visited upon Guatemala as a result of the two major acts of nature, but also stressed the extreme impunity that exists within the nation (made all the more evident by the frustrated resignation of Castresana), furthering his argument that Guatemalans residing in the United States should not be forced to return to a ransacked and almost dysfunctional nation.

In Latin America today, four countries currently benefit from TPS. Haiti, due to the tragic January 2010 earthquake, is under TPS until January 2011. El Salvador has benefited from TPS since 2001, after experiencing an earthquake that killed more than 1,000 people, and Honduras and Nicaragua received TPS after Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Responsible for nearly 11,000 deaths, Mitch was the strongest tropical storm of the 1998 hurricane season.

TPS has already expired for El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua numerous times, yet each time it was set to terminate, it has been renewed at the last minute. El Salvador is scheduled to be under TPS until March 2012, and Honduras and Nicaragua will enjoy TPS until January 2012. Yet, TPS seems unnecessary for these countries at this time. It has been nine years since the earthquake wracked El Salvador, and nearly 12 years since Hurricane Mitch tore through Honduras and Nicaragua. Since those events, these nations have made nearly full recoveries, at least from those acts of nature. Nicaragua, for example, has greatly expanded its tourism industry in recent years. With a growth rate of 70% over the past seven years, tourism is now Nicaragua’s second largest industry. If Nicaragua has now become an appealing place for foreigners to visit, it is highly unlikely that it is truly a derelict nation requiring a special status. Yet Nicaragua still benefits from TPS, whereas Guatemala, a country that is now actively suffering, does not enjoy that protection.

Even though the environmental disasters that plagued Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua caused more deaths than those in Guatemala, the number of people adversely affected by both the volcanic eruption and Hurricane Agatha cannot be trivialized. Furthermore, the precarious state of the Guatemalan democracy can only worsen if the nation’s recovery process is not assisted by the benefits of TPS.

Approximately 1.7 million Guatemalans live in the United States, and it is estimated that about 60% of them lack legal status. Since 2010 alone, more than 10,000 Guatemalan immigrants have been deported. It would be inappropriate to return more nationals to a ravaged homeland, where thousands are homeless and impunity is pervasive. President Obama should answer Guatemala’s plea and Senator Kerry’s request and place the country under TPS.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
View of Lake Atitlan and volcano from my apartment balcony in Panajachel. Taken by Catherine Todd June 2008.