Citizen Action is calling on Guatemalan electoral authorities to suspend the campaign in San José Pinula because of the recent attacks against three of the town's mayoral candidates. Augusto Enrique Ovalle Barrera (Uninionist Party) was shot and killed on Saturday, June 11. Enrique Dardon (CREO) was shot and killed on Thursday, June 16. And on Saturday, Luis Marroquin (LIDER) was shot and injured. A fouth candidate, Mario Solares (Patriotic Party), has received death threats and has had his property vandalized multiple times. Therefore, while he is going to remain on the ballot, he is suspending his campaign.
According to Citizen Action, the Electoral Act permits the suspension of a campaign in the event of sabotage or destruction. The recent violence in San José Pinula has sabotaged the fairness of the campaign and disrupted the climate of peace. Therefore, the campaign should be suspended until the state captures and prosecutes those responsible for the recent shootings.According to the Human Rights Prosecutor’s Office, 26 candidates and campaign workers have been murdered and another 15 injured since campaigning officially began on May 4. Twenty-seven have also reported having received death threats.
Sixty-eight candidates and campaign workers were murdered during the 2007 campaign. Everyone expected this year's campaign to be just as dangerous if not more so. It's too early to tell if 2011 will in fact be more violent, but it is clearly shaping up to be another violent campaign season.