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Guatemala: Student protests shut down uni

Protests against an attempt to stifle student participation in elections for representatives to faculty boards have triggered one of the most important student occupations seen in Central America in recent years.

The occupation, which began in August, has shut down Guatemala’s sole public university, the University of San Carlos (USC). It has become a direct challenge to the privatising agenda of successive governments and university administrations.

The USC has about 120,000 students and is a direct legacy of the progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, who was overthrown in a CIA-organised coup in 1954.

Arbenz introduced many progressive reforms, including redistributing land to peasants and creating the USC.

The USC was created as an institution open to all society and dedicated to study and research for the benefit of the people.

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Guatemala: Student protests shut down uni