Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More good news out of Guatemala

Sorry, I haven't posted much for the last few days. It was my son's birthday. I was granted tenure. And now we're on spring break. It's been tough to concentrate on the blog even though a lot has been happening in Central America. Here's some good news on Guatemala. I should have a post on El Salvador's elections later in the week as well.

After being extradited from the US last July, Pedro Pimentel Rios was the fifth former special forces soldier sentenced to 6,060 years for his participation in the December 1982 Dos Erres massacre. 

A Costa Rican man, Alejandro Jimenez Gonzalez, was expelled from Colombia to Guatemala for having entered the country with false documents. Jimenez is wanted in connection with last year's murder of Argentine folk singer, Facundo Cabral, Authorities say Jimenez may have links to the Sinaloa drug cartel.
Costa Rican officials allege Jimenez is head of a criminal group that launders money in Central America, and they believe Cabral was the unintended victim of an attack on another man in the same car related to a rift over stolen drug money. Drug cartels, some from Mexico, have established themselves in Central America and grow and ship drugs in the region.
Costa Rican Security Minister Mario Zamora told RCN radio that Jimenez's arrest is "important because he is someone who plays a major role in the leadership and direction of organized mafias in Central America." Zamora has said Jimenez is wanted in Costa Rica for money laundering and drug trafficking.
In other news, Danilo Valladares has a depressing article on the failure of the Guatemalan government to extend reparations to victims of the armed conflict. Paula Dear at the BBC has a bit more uplifting piece on Maria Tulia Lopez Perez's effort to heal her pain and those of other Guatemalans who suffered during the war.

Jeffrey Dywood has an article on Drug legalization debate gaining momentum in Central America that is posted at The Guatemala Times. I should have an op-ed up on Al Jazeera Wednesday or the next day arguing in some ways the opposite - Otto Perez Molina killed the chance to make decriminalization a reality.

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