Guatemala Peace in Jeopardy

THE award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Guatemalan human rights activist Rigoberta Menchu drew international attention to her native country but appears to have done little for its long-stalled peace process.

Since Ms. Menchu was announced as the winner, the Army has unleashed an offensive in the north of the country against leftist rebels, while both press and human rights groups complain of increased government aggression.

Indigenous leaders had hoped the award would make the government more agreeable but so far there has been little sign of change. Diplomats say that instead of empowering indigenous groups, the Nobel prize appears to have antagonized the military and President Jorge Serrano Elias.

Mr. Serrano accuses the press of unfair news coverage and hints at links between the Roman Catholic Church's human rights office and leftist rebels.

One of the few signs of hope was the scheduled return next month of 40,000 refugees who have been living in Mexico to escape the long war. But even those are doubtful because of the recently launched military offensive in the remote north.

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