September 3, 2015 archive

Banana Republic Part II

Guatemalan President Resigns in “Huge Victory” for Popular Uprising

President Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala Resigns Amid Scandal


SEPT. 3, 2015

Mr. Pérez Molina, a former general who was the military’s negotiator during talks to end of the nation’s brutal 36-year civil war, offered to present himself for possible charges in a multimillion-dollar customs fraud case, saying he would “face justice and resolve my personal situation.” Before, he had denied wrongdoing and refused to budge from office even as tens of thousands of Guatemalans took to the streets.

Mr. Pérez Molina, 64, is the first president in Guatemalan history to resign because of corruption, experts said, offering a rare example in a region long marked by the impunity of its political class. And though the economy and reform efforts in Guatemala have lagged compared with those in other countries in Latin America, the move put it firmly within a wave of efforts elsewhere in the region to make political systems more responsive toward the public, especially the middle class.

That peaceful protests have managed to oust a powerful leader who many say was connected to the dark history of the war, in which a United Nations panel concluded that the government was behind the majority of the 200,000 deaths in the conflict, has left those outside and within Guatemala stunned. Even before sunrise, protesters were starting to gather in the Plaza Central of Guatemala City, the nerve center for the widespread protests that started in April.

Guatemala president appears in court as congress accepts resignation

by Jo Tuckman and Nina Lakhani, The Guardian

Thursday 3 September 2015 14.42 EDT

Pérez Molina’s decision to step down is a huge victory for an unprecedented anti-corruption protest movement that has swelled in recent months with regular marches in major cities, road blockades in rural areas and a general strike last Thursday.

Noisy celebrations erupted across Guatemala City on Thursday morning as news of his resignation began to spread. Fireworks were set off in public squares and gardens, while people on their way to work honked their car horns. Homes, cars, buses and shops were immediately draped in the blue and white national flag.

“We did it, the people did it,” said 33-year-old Gabriel Wer in a phone interview from the main square in the capital. But Wer, one of the organisers behind the huge weekly protests that started in April, warned: “But this is not the end, now we’re looking for justice.”


Bad Blogging

Stupid relatives.  I find myself in a place with no cell service and less internet.

The people who told me it’s not so easy from a smart phone are exactly right (I’m now in a Dunkin’ Donuts getting coffee).

I’ll see what I can do, but don’t expect much until tomorrow evening when I return from the back end of beyond.

On This Day In History September 3

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

September 3 is the 246th day of the year (247th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 119 days remaining until the end of the year.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

On this day in 1783, the Treaty of Paris is signed ending the American Revolution

The treaty document was signed at the Hotel d’York – which is now 56 Rue Jacob – by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay (representing the United States) and David Hartley (a member of the British Parliament representing the British Monarch, King George III). Hartley was lodging at the hotel, which was therefore chosen in preference to the nearby British Embassy – 44 Rue Jacob – as “neutral” ground for the signing.

On September 3, Britain also signed separate agreements with France and Spain, and (provisionally) with the Netherlands. In the treaty with Spain, the colonies of East and West Florida were ceded to Spain (without any clearly defined northern boundary, resulting in disputed territory resolved with the Treaty of Madrid), as was the island of Minorca, while the Bahama Islands, Grenada and Montserrat, captured by the French and Spanish, were returned to Britain. The treaty with France was mostly about exchanges of captured territory (France’s only net gains were the island of Tobago, and Senegal in Africa), but also reinforced earlier treaties, guaranteeing fishing rights off Newfoundland. Dutch possessions in the East Indies, captured in 1781, were returned by Britain to the Netherlands in exchange for trading privileges in the Dutch East Indies.

The American Congress of the Confederation, which met temporarily in Annapolis, Maryland, ratified the treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784 (Ratification Day).[1] Copies were sent back to Europe for ratification by the other parties involved, the first reaching France in March. British ratification occurred on April 9, 1784, and the ratified versions were exchanged in Paris on May 12, 1784. It was not for some time, though, that the Americans in the countryside received the news due to the lack of communication.