Guatemala. On the evening of April 26, Catholic Bishop
Juan Gerardi was murdered on his way home to his home. He
was repeatedly struck in the head with a pebble. The murder
was a severe blow to the sensitive peace process that has
been going on since the peace treaty was signed in 1996.
Only two days earlier, Bishop Gerardi had presented a report
that charted human rights violations, and suspicions of
political motives behind the murder quickly gained momentum.
Several suspects were arrested and interrogated, including
one of the bishop's clergy, but no one has been bound by the
crime. In October, however, the Central American human
rights organization CODEHUCA said it had clear evidence that
Bishop Gerardi was murdered by military, including a
colonel. The charges were denied by Defense Minister Héctor
Mario Barrios Celada. Despite what happened, the UN decided:
Countryaah, the political parties began their preparations for the
1999 elections. the Liberación Nacional (MLN) and
The violent forest and grass fires that ravaged Central
America also hit G. and reached their peak in May-June. The
fires occurred as a result of the most severe drought in 70
years in combination with the weather phenomenon of El Niño.
In October, G., like many of the neighboring countries, was
affected by Hurricane Mitch's progress. At least 100 people
were killed and thousands lost their homes.