Sunday, November 6, 2011

Some thoughts while we wait

Guy Adams has Former general set to win Guatemalan presidency for The Independent. Yes, the murder rate doubled from 2006 to 2009, but it's decreased dramatically since that peak year (hopefully).There were 6,451 killed in 2009 and 5,960 2010. Guatemala's on pace for somewhere between 4,000-4,500 in 2011. Time to update the numbers.
Perez's pledges of "expanding the police, moving the army into trouble zones, and building more high-security prisons" is pretty similar to what President Colom has done and probably what any president after him would have done.
Finally, while Perez denies that troops under his command committed any atrocities, I find that hard to believe that neither Perez nor any other military official somehow avoided taking part in human rights violations from 1981-1983. Oh and the fact that he played an important role in helping to end the war in 1996 is not proof that he wasn't involved in any atrocities fifteen years earlier.
Edgar Calderon of AFP has Ex-general favorite as Guatemalans vote in run-off. Calderon mentions that Perez criticized President Colom of using state resources to influence today's vote. 
Amid a typically tense electoral climate, Perez accused government officials of handing out vouchers for roofing and food supplies to the poor in exchange for their votes for Baldizon.
"I am asking the president... to take his hands off this vote, and stop using Guatemalans' money to try to buy votes in favor of a candidate," said the white-haired ex-general, who long ago traded his military fatigues for civilian garb.
The allegations are probably true. I can understand why he wants to prevent Perez from winning but that doesn't make it right. And there are reports that the PP and LIDER were buying votes throughout the country, particularly in Solola. The PP was allegedly giving out food for votes in Totonicapan.
Elinor Comlay and Mike McDonald have more or less the same stories for Reuters in 
I'm still having trouble understanding what the human rights procurator recently said in that the 2011 election cycle has been the "most violent" in recent history with 43 dead in campaign-related killings. They are working off a number of 32 for 2007. A CRS Report for (US) Congress had 56 dead in 2007 and an EU report over 50. Have we all been exaggerating the violence in 2007?
Well, the polls are now closed and the counting has begun. Some violence, allegations of vote buying, and a higher level of abstention as expected. 

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