Douglas Cuc, a 32-year-old clown, entered the courtroom with the same smile on his face as when he told jokes for coins on the buses in the town of San Miguel Petapa, near the Guatemalan capital. But this time there was no greasepaint on his face, he did not wear his clown's nose, and he was in handcuffs.
Fear and mistrust reign in Santa María Nebaj. The people of this Maya Ixil indigenous town in the highlands of northwestern Guatemala are worried about intimidation attempts to keep them from testifying again in a retrial of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt.
"People haven’t been coming in for the past month or so because they are afraid again, like during war-time," complained Juan Gaspar, a shopkeeper in the northwestern Guatemalan town of Santa Cruz Barillas, where a fierce battle is raging between locals opposed to a hydropower dam and the security forces.
Overwhelmed by climate change, worried about speculation in international prices and still hurting from the effects of the crisis in 2000, coffee growers in Guatemala are trying in various ways to recover the production levels they achieved 12 years ago.