Date: Sun, 4 Oct 98 12:52:55 CDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Centr-Am News 10/3/98
/** reg.nicaragua: 42.0 **/
** Topic: Centr-Am News 10/3/98 **
** Written 7:05 PM Oct 3, 1998 by wnu in cdp:reg.nicaragua **
On September 30 some 3,000 Guatemalan campesinos blocked highways to Retalhuleu, Totonicapan and Quetzalenango, to demand approval of changes to the Guatemalan constitution that would benefit the indigenous people.
The campesinos and indigenous people, represented by the Coordinator of Mayan People of Guatemala and the National Coordinator of Campesino Organizations burned tires on the highways and shouted slogans, blocking traffic, particularly trucks and inter-city buses.
The demonstrations began at about 5:00 a.m. and ended at about mid-day with promises that the changes would be approved that same day. However, they were not discussed in the congress due to internal problems in the governing National Advancement Party (PAN).
Edgar Perez Lopez, one of the campesino leaders, said the peace accords signed on December 29, 1996 ending the 36-year long civil war were in danger of falling apart, because without constitutional reforms, there is no legal basis to enforce the accords.
Meanwhile, on October 1 various political blocs announced that on October 6 they will begin discussion of constitutional reforms, but that Articles 281 and 186, which prohibit anyone who has participated in a coup from being a presidential candidate, will not be touched.
There are some 50 reforms to the constitution contemplated in the current proposed bill, as opposed to the previous bill proposed the government of President Alvaro Arzu, which contained only 12 reforms. (Prensa Libre, Guatemala City, 10/1/98; La Nacion from AP, Costa Rica, 10/1/98)