Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Few Guatemalans Blame Colom for Murder

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Very few people in Guatemala think Álvaro Colom is guilty of the assassination of lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg, according to a poll by CID-Gallup. Only eight per cent of respondents believe the president is responsible for Rosenberg’s murder.

Three-in-five respondents say they do not know who is behind the crime.

Guatemalan voters elected a new president in November 2007. Final results gave Colom of the left-leaning National Union of Hope (UNE) 52.82 per cent of the vote. His run-off contender, Otto Pérez Molina of the right-leaning Patriot Party (PP), finished second with 47.18 per cent of all cast ballots. Colom was sworn in as president in January 2008.

On May 10, Rosenberg—a prominent lawyer and businessman—was killed in Guatemala City. Days earlier, Rosenberg had videotaped himself accusing Colom and his wife, Sandra Torres, of plotting to assassinate him. The lawyer considered himself a target due to his involvement with two clients—Khalil Musa and daughter Marjorie Musa—who were killed on Apr. 14. Rosenberg claimed that the Guatemalan government ordered the assassinations to cover corrupt dealings in which Khalil Musa was involved.

Since the Rosenberg videotape surfaced, thousands of people have marched on the streets of Guatemala City either showing support for Colom or asking him to step down. The president ordered an investigation into Rosenberg’s death. Both the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) are studying the case.

On Jun. 10, Colom said that Rosenberg’s assassination has tarnished the image of Guatemala around the world, declaring that the negative impact of the case on his credibility is "very low" domestically, whereas "the real problem is abroad."

Polling Data

Who is guilty of the murder of lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg?

Organized crime 11%
The president 8%
Common criminals 5%
Groups opposed to the government 5%
Others 11%
Not sure 60%

Source: CID-Gallup
Methodology: Interviews with 1,213 Guatemalan adults, conducted from Jun. 5 to Jun. 15, 2009. Margin of error is 2.8 per cent.

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