Anita Isaacs

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de Marzo de 2008. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

Migrants deported from the United States arriving in Guatemala City on Tuesday.CreditCreditJohan Ordonez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Aug. 11’s elections in Guatemala may have thrown a wrench into the Trump administration’s plans to convert Guatemala into a beachhead against migration from Central America. This is partly because President-elect Alejandro Giammattei is wavering over the “safe third country” agreement negotiated with the current president, Jimmy Morales, though he has fallen short of rejecting it outright. The new government is also poised to generate intensified migration of Guatemalans fleeing poverty, gang and organized criminal violence, and political persecution.

Undoubtedly catching the Trump administration off guard, Mr. Giammattei has publicly conceded what everyone already knows. Guatemala does not meet the qualifications of a safe third country, a designation grounded in international law that implies that prospective refugees apply for asylum in the first country they pass through that can guarantee their rights and provide them basic services.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un joven en Tijuana, México, que dice que vivió desde los 5 años en Estados Unidos antes de ser deportado Credit Mario Tama/Getty Images

Cuando uno escucha al gobierno estadounidense de Donald Trump hablar sobre los migrantes que ha deportado a México, se podría pensar que todos eran criminales y lastres potenciales para la economía y el sistema de asistencia social de Estados Unidos, sin ningún interés en participar en lo que se solía llamar el “sueño americano”.

De hecho, nada de eso es cierto. Lo sabemos porque las dos hemos platicado con cientos de migrantes deportados.

Las últimas semanas estuvimos en México para empezar un proyecto de historias orales con el fin de documentar la experiencia de los migrantes. Durante tres semanas, nuestro equipo sondeó y entrevistó a más de doscientos migrantes mexicanos que habían regresado a ese país; la mayoría como deportados.…  Seguir leyendo »

Soldiers preparing to confront demonstrators in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in January. Opposition groups were protesting the re-election of President Juan Orlando Hernández.CreditOrlando Sierra/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Over the last decade, the United States has pursued a foreign policy toward Latin America that married regional security and stability with democracy promotion and economic development. Under the Trump administration, that has begun to change — in an echo of the Cold War, narrowly defined national security concerns increasingly occupy center stage, with fear of invading migrants replacing fear of invading Communists.

The word is out within the corridors of power in Latin America. Authoritarian and corrupt leaders and their allies are exploiting the new environment to discredit their opponents and position themselves as partners of the United States. Allowing them to advance their repressive and criminal agenda unchecked would be disastrous for Latin American citizens and American security.…  Seguir leyendo »

Guatemala se enfrenta a un momento político decisivo. El 26 de agosto, el país se despertó con la noticia de que el presidente Jimmy Morales había ordenado expulsar a Iván Velásquez, el comisionado que encabeza al pánel de las Naciones Unidas encargado de erradicar las redes de delincuencia organizada del país. Unas horas después, la Corte de Constitucionalidad de Guatemala bloqueó provisionalmente el decreto de Morales. El futuro de la ya frágil democracia de Guatemala depende de que el presidente acate la decisión de la corte.

El momento que eligió Morales para hacer esto no es casualidad. En una conferencia de prensa que tuvo lugar horas antes, Velásquez y la fiscala general Thelma Aldana habían solicitado a los tribunales guatemaltecos dar inicio a un proceso de destitución en contra del presidente por no informar sobre 825.000 dólares en contribuciones ilegales a su campaña electoral en 2015.…  Seguir leyendo »

Guatemala is facing a moment of political reckoning. Last Sunday, the country woke to the news that President Jimmy Morales had expelled Iván Velásquez, the commissioner heading the United Nations panel charged with eradicating the country’s organized-crime networks. Within hours Guatemala’s Constitutional Court provisionally blocked Mr. Morales’s decree. Whether the president follows the court’s ruling will determine the future of Guatemala’s already fragile democracy.

The timing of Mr. Morales’s move is not accidental. At a news conference held hours earlier, Mr. Velásquez and Attorney General Thelma Aldana had asked Guatemala’s courts to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president for failing to report $825,000 in illicit contributions to his 2015 electoral campaign.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un miércoles reciente, cerca de 75 guatemaltecos descendieron de uno de los tres vuelos chárter programados para ese día. El grupo, conformado por personas deportadas de Estados Unidos, fue llevado a un hangar donde las autoridades les dieron una bienvenida indiferente: un saludo, algunos alimentos y un boleto de camión para llegar a su destino.

La relación del gobierno guatemalteco con los deportados terminó ahí. Al considerarlos una carga, e incluso una vergüenza, la sociedad y el Estado guatemaltecos no tienen ni la capacidad ni la voluntad de ayudar a los cientos de migrantes que han sido enviados de regreso a casa.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesting in June in Guatemala City against corruption involving the former president Otto Pérez Molina. Esteban Biba/European Pressphoto Agency

At first glance, Guatemala’s recent steps to root out organized crime look impressive: Working with the United Nations, the country’s attorney general has dismantled a major criminal network tied to the political party led by the former president Otto Pérez Molina, who now sits in jail — along with his vice president and some 200 other disgraced cabinet ministers, congressmen, civil servants, businessmen, bankers, lawyers and judges.

But looks can be deceiving. Guatemala still faces formidable resistance to change from organized crime, powerful business executives, and corrupt judges and politicians. Ordinary citizens, meanwhile, are reluctant to participate in transforming a political system that they don’t yet trust.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una protesta contra la corrupción en junio en Ciudad de Guatemala Credit Esteban Biba/European Pressphoto Agency

A primera vista, los pasos que da Guatemala en la lucha contra el crimen organizado parecen impresionantes: trabaja con las Naciones Unidas y la fiscal general ha desmantelado una red criminal relacionada con el presidente anterior, Otto Pérez Molina, encarcelado con su vicepresidenta y otros 200 miembros del gobierno, diputados, funcionarios, empresarios, banqueros, abogados y jueces caídos en desgracia.

Pero las apariencias engañan. Guatemala todavía se enfrente a una resistencia formidable al cambio por parte del crimen organizado, jueces corruptos, políticos y empresarios. Los ciudadanos, mientras tanto, no se muestran demasiado favorables a participar en la transformación de un sistema político en el que aún no confían.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Wrong Turn for Guatemalan Democracy

Given how dramatic Guatemala’s politics have been of late, it’s fitting that an actor, Jimmy Morales, would cruise to victory over a former first lady, Sandra Torres, in last week’s presidential elections.

Mr. Morales’s election came after six months of political upheaval, set off by the exposure of a customs fraud ring operating at the highest levels of government. In response, hundreds of thousands of outraged citizens took to social media and the streets in an overwhelming display of popular unity, culminating in the resignations of Guatemala’s president, Otto Pérez Molina, and Roxana Baldetti, its vice president, who now face charges of corruption and bribery.…  Seguir leyendo »

It has been only a year since a court convicted Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, a former president of Guatemala, of genocide, a step hailed as a breakthrough for the country’s fragile democracy. And yet Guatemala’s hard-won progress is starting to falter; if nothing is done, it could easily slip back into authoritarianism, violence and disregard for basic human rights.

The trial of General Ríos Montt, who as the unelected president from 1982 to 1983 oversaw the murder of tens of thousands of Guatemalans, was the first time in history that a head of state anywhere was tried and convicted of genocide in a domestic courtroom.…  Seguir leyendo »

For over a week Guatemala has been consumed with the court proceedings against Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, who led the country in the early 1980s, on charges of genocide. But he isn’t the only one on trial.

I have spent the past 15 years researching and writing about postwar justice in Guatemala. I am encouraged that, a decade and a half after peace accords ended 36 years of civil war, Guatemala is being given a chance to show the world how much progress it has made in building democracy. The trial gives the Guatemalan state a chance to prove that it can uphold the rule of law and grant its indigenous Mayan people, who suffered greatly under Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

The impossible has happened in Guatemala. The onetime dictator, Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, is going on trial for crimes of genocide committed during a civil war in which the army massacred more than 200,000 civilians. This is a landmark event not only for Guatemala but also for the cause of justice worldwide.

As the first ever domestic trial of a head of state on charges of genocide, the case shows that international tribunals are not the only avenue for postwar justice. It is also a sign that, in the long term, building democracy does not have to come at the expense of accountability for war criminals.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ecuador’s decision to grant asylum to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks wanted in Sweden for questioning over claims of rape and sexual molestation, has put the country in a political standoff with Britain, where he is holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy.

But the confusion in London has, in fact, little if anything to do with Ecuadorean-British relations and everything to do with regional and local politics in the Western Hemisphere. And it has little to do with protecting Mr. Assange’s right to a fair trial or freedom of the press — which Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, has trampled upon at home.…  Seguir leyendo »