Thursday, May 2, 2013

Increasing violence and other happenings in Guatemala

Okay, I try not to comment on homicides all year round in Guatemala and Central America. There's usually a lot in January when we have year end numbers and when something out of the ordinary happens. Well, unfortunately, April continued what has been a violent few months in Guatemala.

Carlos Mendoza at CABI has issued a red alert because of the statistically significant increase in homicides.

Carlos does a great job compiling and analyzing homicide statistics in Guatemala. You can follow him on Twitter at @camendoza72. See here for Carlos' report in PDF.

And May is not starting off any better with the government declaring a state of siege following a violent confrontation at the Canadian-owned Escobal mine.

Finally, the right has been claiming that the Attorney General's office has been pursuing politically-motivated charges against former military and former presidents. I have no problem with the AG's office going after guerrillas who committed war crimes and/crimes against humanity. However, I thought that the right shot itself in the foot by attacking the left for various crimes by naming people who weren't even born at the time of the alleged crimes.

Well, the AG's office arrested ex-guerrilla Fermín Felipe Solano Barrillas who was in charge of a group of ten ORPA who allegedly carried out a massacre of 22 campesinos in El Aguacate, San Andrés Itzapa, Chimaltenango. The Mutual Support Group (GAM) made the denouncement. I don't know anything about the guerrilla in question however the CEH attributed the massacre to the Javier Tambriz column of ORPA.

At the time of the 1988 massacre, the column was headed by Pedro Palma Lau. He, of course, is someone no longer associated with the Left. He won a congressional seat several years ago in the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) led by none other than Efrain Rios Montt. Coincidence?

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