Posts Tagged ‘Otto Perez Molina’

Retired general Otto Perez wins Guatemalan election

Monday, November 7th, 2011

The subheading of an article in the Sunday, November 6, edition of the UK Guardian says it all: “Rightwinger takes victory… after promising to send army into battle against drug cartels.”

“Otto Perez, a retired rightwing general who promised a crackdown on violent crime, has won Guatemala’s presidential election, becoming the first member of the military to take power since democracy was restored in 1986.”


“It is a clear move to the right for Central America’s largest economy and came after leftist President Alvaro Colom failed to contain violent crime or protect the country from Mexican drug cartels using it as a smuggling route.

“Perez, 60, won the runoff election after promising he would apply a ‘firm hand’ by deploying troops on the streets and increasing the size of the police force.

“Guatemala’s murder rate is about eight times that of the US and many of the country’s 14.7 million people want a tougher stance on crime.”


“Human rights groups have concerns about Perez’s crime-fighting message in a country with a history of military dictatorships and killings by security forces.

“The army murdered suspected leftists and committed massacres of peasants during the 1960-1996 civil war in a which about a quarter of a million people were killed or disappeared.”


“The election campaign focused mainly on Guatemala’s battle against street gangs and Mexican drug traffickers moving South American cocaine up through the country to the  US. Military experts say cartels and gangs control around 40% of Guatemala, a huge challenge for the next president.”

With a new president, will the situation improve for the average citizen of Guatemala? When I posed this question to several Guatemalan friends, they all answered, “It can’t get worse.”

Read the entire Guardian article here:


New York Times: “Desperate Guatemalans Embrace an Iron Fist”

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

This morning, I opened the New York Times to find this excellent front-page article by Damien Cave, about Guatemala’s upcoming presidential election.

Read it here: Desperate Guatemalans Embrace an Iron Fist.

The challenges faced by the country and people of Guatemala seem almost intractable. As one friend commented on my Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir Facebook page, “Notwithstanding the progress stated, can any sane person expect that corruption will be stemmed significantly?”

Another friend, a Guatemalan, said to me words to this effect, “Until I read your book, and saw your reaction to Guatemala–the fear you felt when going to court, the knowledge that someone on the sidewalk might stick a gun in your face to steal your passport–I forgot that what we experience every day is not normal in a lot of the world.”

Damien Cave’s article captures that reality.


Guatemalan election coverage from The Economist

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

From the September 10, 2011 edition of The Economist, The Return of the Iron Fist, about the upcoming presidential election in Guatemala:

FROM hoardings plastered all over Guatemala, the stern face of Otto Pérez Molina stares out beside the clenched-fist logo of his Patriot Party. General Pérez, as he was known until hanging up his rifle in 2000, was once the Guatemalan army’s intelligence director. After coming second in the 2007 presidential race, he is the front-runner in this year’s election on September 11th.

I urge you to read this comprehensive and timely article today. One chilling sentence:

So far at least 35 activists or candidates for public office have been murdered.

What happens in the election will affect people we care about in Guatemala, and their families. As this article emphasizes, much is at stake.