Gus Van Harten


Guatemala was officially "at peace." The last of twelve peace accords

had been signed. putting in place a broad mandate for reform to address

many of the historical grievances of the country's marginalized and

impoverished majority. Real hopes were born that a time of democracy

and progressive change had finally arrived in Guatemala, after thirtysix

years of terrible conflict.

Alongside the internal peace process, Guatemala has taken part in

negotiations toward a hemispheric free trade zone, the Free Trade Area

of the Americas (FTAA), along with the thirty-three other countries

that launched the project in Miami in 1994. Their declared purpose in

pursuing an FTAA is a laudatory one. According to the opening words of

the Miami Declaration: "The elected Heads of State and Government of

the Americas are committed to advance the prosperity, democratic

values and institutions, and security of our Hemisphere. For the first

time in history, the Americas are a community of democratic societies."