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Posts Tagged ‘Media Reports’

World Bank Approves $100M Emergency Relief Loan for Guatemala

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

In a sign that foreign interest in relief efforts from this spring’s Guatemalan disasters hasn’t disappeared, the World Bank on Friday approved a” US$100 million loan to provide emergency assistance to preserve health and education services in Guatemala following this series of natural disasters, which caused an estimated US$1.55 billion in damages and losses (4.1 percent of the nation’s GDP).” In addition to showing a continuing commitment to assisting Guatemala’s recovery, the new loan is a clear reminder of the continuing need for further aid.

Perhaps this loan can serve to help return Guatemala’s request for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) the Obama Administration’s attention. While the World Bank certainly uses its own criteria and has no official influence on US policy, it is our hope that this latest example of support by a globally respected institution will help guide the administration to the right decision.

Aruturo Valenzuela to Meet with President Colom Today (UPDATED)

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo A. Valenzuela is scheduled to meet with President Colom today during the second day of his two-day visit to Guatemala.  The visit is part of Mr. Valenzuela’s five-day tour of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, a trip that is “designed to discuss ongoing security cooperation, strengthening of democratic governance and renewed efforts to advance coordination on citizen security.

While there has been no official mention of TPS associated with this trip, we expect that the matter will be discussed during today’s meeting.  Stay tuned for any developments.

UPDATE (4:01 PM PST):  Mr. Valenzuela has completed his meeting with President Colom and the head of CICG (International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala), Francisco Dall’Anese.  The meeting apparently focused on security, crime, and impunity, serious issues in Guatemala today.  As of yet, there have been no official announcements of any TPS-related discussions.

Obama Calls for Review of Protection for Medical Subjects

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

A bit of news on US-Guatemalan relations caught our eye, courtesy of the LA Times’ “La Plaza” blog. Yesterday, the blog reported on a directive issued by President Obama to conduct a “comprehensive review of medical research guidelines.” The review is a direct result of October’s revelations on the inhumane and unethical studies conducted by US doctors on Guatemalan prisoners in the 1940′s.

While this news has little to do with the TPS request, at least on the surface, it is an indication of a commitment by President Obama to ethical and humanitarian goals.  It is also a sign that issue of the 1940′s studies has not been swept under the table, and that the administration is working to resolve the diplomatic problems raised by the discovery of those studies.  There has been a lot of pressure on President Colom to use the issue as additional pressure in support of the TPS request, something he has publicly denied to do.  Of course, as the recent WikiLeaks release of diplomatic cables shows us, the public and private faces diplomacy are often worlds apart.

Colom para Reunirse con Obama para Descutir el TPS

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

El 11 de noviembre de 2010,

El Presidente de Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, está programado para reunirse con el Presidente Obama y discutir la solicitud de su país para el TPS. La reunión está programada para la primera parte de diciembre durante una cumbre en la República Dominicana, de acuerdo con un informe publicado por Prensa Libre.  Regulares de este blog recordarán que hemos mencionado la posibilidad de esta reunión un tiempo atrás, pero no hemos podido obtener mucho para confirmarlo hasta ahora.

Esta es una noticia excitante, y da crédito a la sugerencia de que el liderazgo de guatemalteco había sido intencionalmente tranquilo sobre este tema durante la temporada de elecciones del E.E.U.U.  Ahora que las elecciones están detrás de nosotros, es probable que la administración de Colom vea una ventana estrecha durante el cual podrá concederse la solicitud TPS.  Manténgase en contacto para más noticias.

Colom to Meet with Obama to Discuss TPS

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom is scheduled to meet with president Obama and discuss his country’s request for TPS. The meeting is scheduled for the first part of December during a summit in the Dominican Republic, according to a report posted a few minutes ago by Prensa Libre.  Regular readers of this blog may recall that we mentioned the possibility of this meeting a while back, but we have been unable to obtain much in the way of confirmation until now.

This is exciting news, and it lends credence to the suggestion that the Guatemalan leadership had been intentionally quiet on this topic during the US election season. Now that the elections are behind us, it is likely that the Colom administration sees a narrow window during which the TPS request may be granted.  Stay tuned for more news.

Progress?

Monday, November 8th, 2010

We made it through the election and are getting into the now-or-never phase of the TPS request.  The two months leading up to the election were remarkably silent, with nearly no TPS news and absolute silence from the official channels.  But now that the election is behind us, things may finally be on the move.

The first sign of this was a short statement from Guatemalan Foreign Minister Haroldo Rodas, who was quoted in Prensa Libre as stating that the TPS process is in American hands now. Guatemala has complied with all the application requirements, has gathered broad support for its request, and can now only wait for a decision from President Obama’s administration.

The statement itself holds little news, but the fact that Mr. Rodas has finally said something is far more exciting.  As we noted, the official channels were silent leading up to the election, and it appears that our suspicion that discussion of TPS pending the vote may have had some weight.  We now have the first official comment in months coming from the Guatemalan government just two days after the US elections.

Is this a sign of progress? We can’t say for sure, but we certainly hope so.

President Colom Did Not Press TPS In Call With Obama

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Many of you have noticed that our site has stayed quiet for the last week on the biggest story in US-Guatemalan relations; the discovery that US researchers, with help from Guatemalan health officials, intentionally infected Guatemalan prisoners with Syphilis.  Our decision to not report on this issue was a difficult one, but it was intentional, as we felt that the story had little to do with either TPS or immigration in general.  Still, we held some hope that either the Obama or Colom administration would use this opportunity to press home the other main issue in US-Guatemalan relations: TPS.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case. Prensa Libre recently reported that President Colom has clearly stated that TPS did not come up during his recent conversation with President Obama.  The conversation occurred when Mr. Obama called Mr. Colom to formally apologize for the abhorrent research. Very little detail was given on the content of the call, and there was some speculation that President Colom may have asked that some progress be made on the TPS issue. However, the Guatemalan president’s statement on the issue makes it clear that this was not the case.

We keenly understand the sensitive nature of international relations, and would not presume to judge what one president should say to another, especially at such a delicate time. We do, however, hope that both sides considered the elephant in the room, even if nobody mentioned it explicitly.

Progress on TPS: McFarland Sends Report to Washington

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Stephen McFarland submitted a report to Washington on the effects of Tropical Storm Agatha and the volcanic eruption this spring.  While the report itself is not available at the moment, the fact that the report was submitted is a clear indication that progress is being made on the TPS request, and that the Obama administration has not completely forgotten about Guatemala.

The report follows a visit by Ambassador McFarland to San Lucas Tolimán, which was seriously impacted by Agatha. About 120 families are still without permanent shelter there, with rebuilding efforts being led by USAID and the local Catholic diocese. The official story on Ambassador McFarland’s visit to San Lucas is available here (in English) and here (in Spanish).

The submission of the report is a good sign for everyone awaiting TPS, and will hopefully lead to more progress on the request.  It is still unlikely that a final decision will be reached before November, but November keeps getting closer, so news like this is certainly a positive sign.

New Analysis Supports TPS for Guatemala

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Eurasia Review , an online news and analysis magazine, has published an article by Carly Steinberger, who writes for the Council for Hemispheric Affairs. Carly’s analysis compares the situation in Guatemala with that of the Central American countries that have been granted TPS, and comes to the same conclusion as Senator John Kerry, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and just about everyone else who has looked at this issue: Guatemala should be granted TPS.

It is always encouraging to read about new support for the TPS request, and we can only hope that this latest bit of analysis will be yet another weight that pushes the scales in Guatemala’s favor.  Stayed tuned for additional news.

P.S. Carly’s article was reprinted by EnerPub, a syndication site primarily focused on energy-related news.

Hopes for TPS Not Dead (yet)

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

We have received several emails from our readers asking if there is any hope remaining that the Obama administration will grant the Guatemalan request for TPS.  It is quite understandable that people are getting impatient, as the Obama administration has taken a long time to respond to the request.  However, as the saying goes, hope springs eternal.

This hope exists not only here, but in Guatemala as well. Prensa Libre reported recently that President Colom is seeking to meet with president Obama in order to press the case for Guatemalan TPS. While the date for this meeting has not been set yet, it appears most likely to occur in November, when president Obama is scheduled to travel to a summit of Central American presidents in the Dominican Republic. Other possible dates for the meeting include the scheduled UN summit in September, or a standalone bilateral meeting before then. This last option is unlikely, at the presidents have had some trouble reconciling their agendas. The Prensa Libre report suggests that the meeting in November has already been scheduled, so this is the most likely time for a TPS discussion between Colom and Obama.

Unfortunately, this seems to suggest that we won’t have an answer on TPS before late November at the earliest.

El original esta disponible en Español aqui.