Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Arrest in San Jose Pinula Murders

El Periodico
Last month two mayoral candidates for the municipality of San José Pinula were murdered. Augusto Enrique Ovalle Barrera of the Unionist Party was shot and killed in his car on June 11 and Enrique Dardon of the Commitment, Renewal and Order party (CREO) was shot and killed in a barbershop on the 16th. A few days later mayoral candidate Luis Marroquin of the Renewed Democratic Freedom party (LIDER) was shot and injured. He survived because he was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Today, Guatemalan authorities arrested Luis Marroquin. He is accused of having orchestrated his two competitors' murders and then faking the attack against him. Marroquin, Juan Carlos Gabriel Medina, and Manuel Enrique García Rodas are charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and simulating a crime (Prensa Libre) According to investigators, Marroquín and the two other candidates had conflicts over the removal of campaign propaganda (El Periodico). 

Attorney General, Claudia Paz y Paz and Interior Minister Carlos Menocal say that there is ballistic evidence linking Marroquin and his workers to the shootings. The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and National Institute of Forensic Science (INACIF) participated in the investigation.

Even with his arrest, Marroquin proclaimed that he remains a candidate for mayor. However, LIDER's presidential candidate Manuel Baldizón publicly stated said that Marroquin had ceased to be the party's mayoral candidate for San José Pinula as of two weeks ago.

Some would say that this is just an incredible story. A mayoral candidate had his two competitors killed and then simulated an attack against himself. However, just like the murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi (The Art of Political Murder) and the murder/suicide of Rodrigo Rosenberg (A Murder Foretold), nothing is as it ever appears in Guatemala. It's hard to be surprised anymore.

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