Saturday, May 16, 2009

INTERVIEW-Guatemala president sees plot behind murder claims

Source: Reuters
By Sarah Grainger

GUATEMALA CITY, May 15 (Reuters) - Guatemala's president said on Friday powerful enemies are behind a scandal about claims he ordered the murder of a prominent lawyer, as his government cracked down on military abuses and drug gangs.

President Alvaro Colom has tried to prosecute former military officials linked to massacres during the country's 1960-1996 civil war and at the same time is clamping down on drug cartels operating in the country with dozens of arrests.

"Opening the all the military files from the war was almost impossible but I did it," Colom told Reuters in an interview.

"There is a war we are fighting against different drug traffickers. We have made a lot of changes and some are causing anger," he said.

Colom was plunged into crisis this week when a videotape surfaced accusing him of ordering a murder, misusing government funds and turning a blind eye to drug money transactions at the local development bank Banrural.

Lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg, who represented a well-known businessman also killed this year, was gunned down in Guatemala City on Sunday. The next day a pre-recorded statement was delivered to Guatemalan media in which Rosenberg warned he might be killed and accused Colom of ordering the hit.

"It's a conspiracy and we still haven't found out who's at the heart of it, but we are looking," Colom said.

The video and written statement from Rosenberg also accused Colom's wife and his private secretary of crimes.

Se the rest of the story on Reuters AlertNet