Recently, Barbara Schieber in The Guatemala Times
, published a piece which again highlighted the contradictions in Guatemala around state responsibility and state ability to tackle the endemic violence affecting that country.
The Association of Bi-national Chambers of Commerce (ASCABI) has requested that the Guatemalan government announces a state of prevention (Un Estado de Prevención
is its rightful term and doesn’t translate easily into English). It is, in fact, a decree suspending particular and named constitutional rights. The article states that the limitations to civil and human rights include the following: the right to organise meetings, the right to public demonstrations, and includes state censorship of the media. What is exercising the minds of ASCABI is the level of violence in the country and its effect on their ability to make money, sorry, to provide a better environment for foreign investment.
ASCABI constitutes the Chamber of Commerce of Brazil, Colombia, Israel, Canada, US, Germany, Spain, India, and Mexico. On the face of it this appears a strange mixture though off the top of my head, there is the Canadian interest in quelling any struggles against mining interests. It might be interesting to see what is of interest to, for example, India, Israel and Germany. This grouping sees the Estado de Prevención
as being an effective way to control delinquency and to promote security in Guatemala. What might also be an effective measure should they bother to look, would be fiscal reform. However, surprise, surprise, Guatemala´s private sector opposes any fiscal reform to support the justice and security sectors in their country.