Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Update on killings in Guatemala

More information is available on the assassination of three Salvadoran members of the Central American parliament while they traveled in Guatemala. All three were members of El Salvador's ruling ARENA party, including Eduardo D'Aubuisson, one of the sons of Roberto D'Aubuisson, the party's founder.

1. At least two of the victims were killed with a single shot to the head, execution style. The car they were traveling in was riddled with bullet holes and completely destroyed by fire. The car was found on a remote back road, away from the main highway. More details can be found in this AP report

2. Statements from the Presidents of Guatemala and El Salvador pointed to potential dark motives:

It wasn't coincidental," the Guatemalan president, Óscar Berger, told reporters. "We have various theories, and we aren't ruling out the possibility that it was a political crime." The Salvadoran president, Tony Saca, decried the killing at a cemetery ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of the death of Roberto D'Aubuisson, who founded Arena.

"They burned their bodies several times," Saca said. "They killed them; they riddled their bodies with bullets. They made them suffer in a cowardly manner. This was directed by someone who wants to send a message, and if the message is to scare Salvadorans who love liberty, then that person is wrong." (quoted in International Herald Tribune).

3. El Salvador's legislature declared three days of national mourning for the victims.

4. The FMLN quickly denounced the assassinations and demanded that Guatemalan authorities mount a thorough investigation to bring the killers to justice.


El-Visitador said...

"demanded that Guatemalan authorities mount a thorough investigation to bring the killers to justice."

Regarding demands for investigations and justice, did we see such rending and tearing of clothes last year, when:

-4 Salvadoreans were murdered in Petén
-15 Salvadoreans were beaten and robbed in the highway in Guatemala
- An Assemblyman and his bodyguard were abducted and robbed in the highway in Guatemala

And these are a mere sampling of crimes occurred in the first half of the year.

The four recent murders are abominable, but are our political representatives to seek justice only when the mighty and the powerful are stricken?

What about the common man?

Tim said...

That is, of course, not a problem unique to El Salvador or Guatemala...


Let me stick up for ARENA's politicians and let El Vis. speak for the common man, right?

Look, the fact is that this was a heinous crime insofar as it appears to have targeted these particular individuals, and, in law, a targeted crime is more despicable than random crime. Plus, all the various theories being bandied about (admittedly, we don't know which one will pan out) -- drug deal, narco hit, political hit -- are all especially troubling to the region, and warrant the kind of investigation that people are rightly asking for.

Egalitarian topics aside for a minute, when people start brutally targeting politickos, it is a not a societal good sign.

Aislinn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aislinn said...

Has anyone touched on the coincidence(?!) that these murders took place not long after ARENA wanted to honour the father of one of the victims? I guess even if it is not just a coincidence that it is fairly irrelevant - what's done is done.

Larry said...

CoLatino is reporting that the Guatemalan authorities have arrested four (Guatemalan) police agents in this case. The article also says that the investigators believe ten people participated in the attack.

wally said...

Tim you commented that this is a problem not unique to El Salvador or Guatemala, which infers that these road robberies happen with the same frequency on both sides of the border. That´s not true. While El Salvador has a well deserved place in the high crime rate stratosphere, these highway robberies tend to take place mainly on the Guatemalan side of the border. Several church mission teams have been robbed and one Mormon worker killed. For a season there were police escorts leaving at 7 am and 1 pm from the Guatemalan border for the drive into Guatemala City, and you could travel in a convoy for safety. There have never been convoys on the Salvadoran side. What is strange is that the State department has a warning for travelers to El Salvador but not to Guatemala, or at least there wasn´t the last time I looked. I drive all over El Salvador and though I may be terrified of having a wreck, being highjacked isn´t on the radar. I have no fear of driving from San Salvador to the frontera but after I cross the border into Guatemala, I don´t relax until I get where I´m going.

Tim said...


My comment was meant to refer to the fact that there is often a greater outcry over the death of the rich and powerful than over the common and ordinary. That disparity is true wherever you go in the world.

With respect to the danger of the roads in El Salvador v. the roads in Guatemala, I have no reason to disagree with you.