A civilian government is now in place in Guatemala, and Peace Accords have been signed to end the 30-year civil war. However, there is very little actual commitment on the part of the government to implement the Accords.
The present situation in Guatemala is not safe; there is an increase in the levels of violence, particularly directed at those who organize for non-violent change. For this reason, Felipe and Elena are still with us -- working for their refugee brothers and sisters here in the United States, and forging the links of solidarity with their people in Guatemala.
The rise in violence is compounded by the deteriorating economy of Guatemala and other Latin American countries, reducing many families to abject poverty, and convincing many young people that they will not have a viable future in their own country.
This deterioration is due in large part to the austerity measures imposed by international monetary organizations.
Anti-immigrant sentiments in the United States, urging the closing of our borders and discrimination against immigrants already here, are an affront to the traditions of welcome which found our nation. Immigration and refugee policy must no longer serve as a tool of national self-interest or an expression of xenophobia, but must implement our responsibilities under international law.