Environmentalists Call on Guatemala to Veto Whale Law

October 7, 2005

GUATEMALA CITY (EFE) –Environmentalists and human-rights activists this week called on Guatemalan President Oscar Berger to veto legislation ratifying the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.“Guatemala has no whaling interests and it doesn’t make any sense that it ratify a convention geared toward regulating the hunting of whales,” said Carlos Albacete, of the Tropico Verde environmental group. “There is evidence of foreign influence to get the country to enter that commission, with the goal of getting it to vote in favor of opening up commercial whale hunts.”Two weeks ago, the Guatemalan Congress approved, at the request of the administration, legislation ratifying the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.Environmentalists said that if Berger signs the legislation, Guatemala could cast the deciding vote on reopening commercial whale hunts, which have been prohibited since 1986 by the International Whaling Commission.Colectivo Madreselva member Carlos Salvatierra said ratification of the convention came “only two weeks after a visit to Japan by President Berger” and after ruling party Congressman Victor Ramirez supposedly visited that country to learn about Japanese whale conservation programs.“That’s enough evidence to conclude that the signing of the convention has been induced to favor foreign interests,” Salvatierra said.Japan, Iceland and Norway are the main whaling countries in the world.

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