IV. Governance issues
In February 2005, a bill (No. 3165 to the Guatemalan Parliament was presented, titled "Public Information Access and Classification and Declassification of Classified State Information."1 The bill regulates the right to access public information and personal data contained in public and private records. The bill also gives the state the power to classify and declassify sensitive state information.
Article 40 of Bill No. 3165 establishes, that every person whose personal data appears in archives, files, records, data files, databases or any form of information storage held in private or in public records, has the right to know everything that appears in his file; to know the identity of the data controller; know the purpose for which his information is collected; to correct wrong personal information, or have false or inaccurate data erased or amended; and to delete sensitive data. The information requested must be provided within 72 hours of the request.
Guatemala has undertaken a freedom of information bill.2 The bill establishes that any person may generally gain access to public administrative activities. This bill is still in discussion in the Parliament. During the discussion, members of the Guatemalan Republican Front (a political party in the opposition) introduced a series of amendments that promote secrecy instead of improving access to information.
Guatemala signed the American Convention on Human Rights (the Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica), the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights3 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.