Two dead in Guatemala riots

Two residents, including an 11-year-old boy, are dead following riots at the village of Cubulco in Guatemala’s Baja Verapaz department. Protesters torched the home of the mayor, Rolando Rivera, and the village remains occupied by a large detachment of the National Civil Police (PNC) and elite Special Police Forces (FEP). Police used tear gas in clashes with residents who responded with Molotov cocktails. The deaths apparently occurred when Rivera’s private security force opened fire on protesters. The protests were sparked by Rivera’s plans to renovate the town’s central park two weeks before the municipal elections, in which he is running again with the right-wing Patriot Party (PP). (Prensa Libre, Aug. 28) Forty have been murdered nationwide in political violence during the presidential campaign now underway, in which a leading candidate is the PP’s Otto Perez Molina, a former military intelligence chief who promises a security crackdown under the slogan of “The Iron Fist.” (The Telegraph, Aug. 26)

See our last posts on Guatemala and Central America.

  1. Guatemala: another candidate assassinated
    From Reuters, Aug. 28:

    A candidate of the party of the presidential candidate Rigoberta Menchú, winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize, was shot dead by gunmen, the latest killing in the approach to the Sept. 9 election, in which 40 people have been killed. The candidate, Clara Luz López, was running for a seat on the Casillas City Council and was killed driving home after a day’s campaigning on Monday. The elections race has been the most violent since the country’s civil war ended a decade ago, as drug traffickers try to win political power to transport Colombian cocaine through Guatemala to Mexico and the United States.