Christopher Looft at InSight Crime has a story on police involved in kidnapping. In this particular story, eleven cops were arrested after they botched the kidnapping. Looft thinks that police corruption might help explain why kidnappings decreased by 42 percent over the last three years.
If police are carrying out kidnapping themselves, this would force down the number of crimes that are reported to the police.That's possible but I'm not sure there's much evidence that we can gather to support this conclusion. Are the police more corrupt today than they were three or four years ago? I don't know how much better they are but I'm not sure that they are more corruption which would lead Guatemalans to have less faith in them and would lead them to report kidnappings at a slower rate.
Geoffrey Ramsey, also at Insight Crime, argues that it is difficult to see much progress in Guatemala despite increased efforts. I'm not entirely sure that I agree. I guess it depends if by "little progress" he means a little progress or no progress. I'd go for a little progress - bringing the murder rate down from 46 per 100,000 to 39 per 100,000 is impressive. He notes in the article that a recent report indicates that the Zetas operate in more than one-third of the country. I have no idea how this compares to earlier reports about the Zetas such as this one.
Former Special Prosecutor for Counter-Narcotics Leonel Ruiz told the BBC in June 2009 that the Zetas operated in 75% of the country. And the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute said last year that the influence of organized crime groups rivaled or exceeded that of the Guatemalan government in 40% of the countryWhat we read today and what we read a few years ago, just doesn't add up. It depends really on how each organization is coding "presence" or "control" or if they are coding them at all. Don't you just get the feeling that they are making up the numbers?
Guatemala remains one of the most violent countries in the world for trade unionists. It's not safe to be a student or teacher as the government continues to repress protesters violently. While the femicide against women in Guatemala is down, it remains a dangerous country for women. Plaza Publica has a story and a map on reported reported throughout the country. It doesn't paint a pretty picture.
And then there's President Otto Perez Molina's attack on the country's Peace Archives...