Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Four Gunmen Arrested in Puerto Barrios

Police arrested four men after they shot and killed a taxi driver, 26 year old Walter González Agustín, and Oscar Flores. The incident took place at km 297 on the road to the Free Trade Zone / Zolic.

The victims were headed from Santo Tomas de Castilla to Puerto Barrios they were attacked. The taxi driver was found collapsed over the steering wheel. Flores was taken to the Hospital Nacional de la Amistad Japón Guatemala where he died.

The alleged killers were identified as 25 year old Deglyn Estuardo Pinto Eguizabal, 28 year old Edgar Rigoberto Martínez Vidal, 27 year old Eduardo Carlos Salazar Días, and 30 year old Juan Carlos Vicente Peña.

In the suspects' vehicle police found and seized five 9mm pistols, 21 high capacity 32 round magazines, and 210 rounds of .40 caliber and 9mm ammunition.

According to the PNC, the suspected thugs attacked Flores. When he attempted to escape in his vehicle, the gunmen sprayed the taxi because he did not yield right of way to the gunmen and because he might alert the police. The gunmen then engaged in a chase of Flores that continued for 3km with both vehicles exchanging gunfire.

All were licensed to carry firearms.

Closing the 10-year "gap" in infrastructure

On February 23, investment promotion agency Invest in Guatemala published a report addressing the country's 10-year "gap" in infrastructure development.

In addition to describing the country's infrastructure as "expensive and insufficient," the report says investment in the sector, in terms of GDP, is far less than the regional average.

BNamericas spoke with Invest in Guatemala executive director Mario Marroquín about the reasons for this gap and how the country plans to solve the problem.

Read a transcript of the interview here.

Guatemala opens National Police archive to civil war victims' families

Marylena Bustamante traveled 24 hours on a bus from Mexico City for a new chance at finding information about her brother, who disappeared 27 years ago during Guatemala's civil war.

Guatemalan human rights authorities recently opened a vast archive of police records that could contain information about Bustamante's brother, Emil, and thousands of other victims of state repression during the country's 36-year civil war.

"Like every family member of a detained/disappeared person, you have no idea how much I long to find the truth," said Bustamante, who arrived at the archive building holding a large portrait of Emil, whom she described as a "university intellectual."

Human rights officials discovered the archive by accident in July 2005 while investigating a complaint by neighbors about improperly stored explosives. Soon after, hundreds of workers set about cleaning up the rat-infested, mildewed building and restoring and organizing the estimated 80 million documents contained within.

The archive is considered the complete record of the National Police, with documents dating from 1881 until 1997. At the latter date, the police corps was replaced by the current National Civil Police.

Less than 10 percent of the documents have been digitized thus far, but victims' family members, investigators and academics can now file requests for information that may be contained in those documents, which primarily correspond to the most violent years of the war, 1975-85.

Read the rest of the story in the Miami Herald.