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#407897 - 05/16/11 05:15 AM Peten, Guatemala: 27 people found murdered.
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27 people found dead at a Guatemalan farm

(CNN) -- Security forces in Guatemala have found 27 bodies, the majority of which were decapitated, at a farm in the northern region of Peten, Col. Rony Urizar, an army spokesman, said Sunday.

Among the victims were two women and 25 men, he said. Peten is the northernmost part of Guatemala, which borders Mexico. Urizar declined to say what might be behind the killings, but did not rule out the possibility they could be related to drug trafficking. He said the military is assisting police in the investigation.

Guatemala has seen a significant spike in drug violence, including clashes between authorities and members of the Zetas drug cartel, Guatemalan Interior Minister Carlos Menocal told CNN en Espanol last year. In December, the government declared a state of siege and sent hundred of troops to Alta Verapaz where officials say the Mexican drug gang is overtaking towns and threatening residents. Alta Verapaz is the region directly south of Peten.

More than 200,000 people have been killed in Guatemala since 1970, mostly as a result of organized crime, drug-trade violence and a 36-year civil war that ended in 1996. The vast majority of murders in the country are never solved.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/05/15/guatemala.violence/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn
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Live and let live

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#408134 - 05/19/11 01:52 AM Re: Peten, Guatemala: 27 people found murdered. [Re: Short]
Marty Online   happy
In fact the massacre took place NOT near the Mexican border but near Caserio La Bomba village, which is a little southwest of San Benito. San Benito is essentially part of the Flores-Santa Elena-San Benito urbanized area. By car San Benito is probably about 2 hours from your house (Hillview).

From, say, Santa Elena (where the Flores bus station and airport are) you can drive around the lake in either direction making the circle back to your starting point. Parque Tikal is maybe 40 minutes east of Santa Elena.

The farm where the workers were massacred is owned by Otto Salguero, who owns several others farms and ranches in the area. Local people say Salguero is just a rancher, but authorities think he has drug connections. Relatives of Salguero have been kidnapped and killed recently near San Benito.

One update: Not that it matters much to the 27 to 29 men, women and children who were murdered, but reports now are that the attack was by 25 to 50 armed men, not 200, and they arrived in trucks, not in buses. Police say they believe the murderers were members of Z-200, a part of the Zetas drug cartel.

--Lan Sluder

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#408139 - 05/19/11 03:06 AM Re: Peten, Guatemala: 27 people found murdered. [Re: Short]
SP Daily Offline
Guatemala: 27 massacred, decapitated in Petén by paramilitary drug gang Los Zetas (UPDATED)
http://www.boingboing.net/2011/05/16/guatemala-27-massacr.html

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#408175 - 05/19/11 02:39 PM Re: Peten, Guatemala: 27 people found murdered. [Re: Short]
Marty Online   happy

Belizean Vehicle Used In Guatemalan Massacre

The Guatemalan state of Peten which directly adjoins western Belize is under a state of emergency tonight, as Mexican drug gangs have carried out unprecedented violence there.

On Sunday, 27 people - including two women - were killed - 25 of them beheaded - on a remote jungle ranch west of Flores, Peten.

International news reports are that the assailants, moving in several vehicles, stormed the ranch sometime late Saturday.

Well according to reports in Prensa Libre, which we have confirmed with a senior Belizean official, one of the two vehicles carried Belize plates. Belize's Ambassador to Guatemala Fred Martinez told us that the vehicle carried Belizean diplomatic plates, to be precise, and it was attached to the OAS Adjacency Zone office at the Belize-Guatemalan border.

The driver of the vehicle who is a Guatemalan was driving from Flores to Melchor when he was car-jacked at the halfway point. He reported that a crew of bandits snatched him out of the vehicle and were about to kill him with knives when he begged for his life and one of the group of assailants gave the order to spare him. He managed to escape alive but the vehicle was used in the massacre.

The OAS AZ Office as it is called is on the Belize side of the border, between the Belize immigration office and the Guatemalan border office. The office was established in 2004 as part of the confidence building measures between Belize and Guatemala.

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has declared a state of siege - the second time he has had to do so in half a year as his country has been forced to escalate efforts to combat Mexican drug gangs.

Channel 7


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#408176 - 05/19/11 03:03 PM Re: Peten, Guatemala: 27 people found murdered. [Re: Short]
Katie Valk Offline
Right Lan, news reports misidentified the location of the farm, close to a farm owned by a friend of mine who sold a few yrs ago because of the trafficking going on in the area back then. The stolen vehicle is not Belizean, but registered in Belize with diplomatic plates for the OAS and belonged to a friend of mine here with OAS, working on the border resolution issue with BZ-Guate. I have canceled all my clients trips to this area for the immediate future.


Edited by Katie Valk (05/19/11 03:05 PM)
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www.belize-trips.com
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#408206 - 05/19/11 08:27 PM Re: Peten, Guatemala: 27 people found murdered. [Re: Short]
Marty Online   happy

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#408208 - 05/19/11 09:16 PM Re: Peten, Guatemala: 27 people found murdered. [Re: Short]
elbert Offline
I bet they make Hillary's hit list soon!
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The Dive Shops Daily Blog
http://scubalessonsbelize.blogspot.com/

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#408396 - 05/21/11 02:39 PM Re: Peten, Guatemala: 27 people found murdered. [Re: Short]
Marty Online   happy

Peten massacre by Zetas too close for comfort!


Belize’s Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar “Gapi” Vega met Thursday in Antigua, Guatemala, meeting with Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom and other Central American leaders as they discussed the implications of the worsening drug wars in the region, in the wake of Sunday’s outrageous Zetas massacre of 27 persons in the state of Peten, which adjoins Belize’s porous western border, as well as strategies for combating the rising tide of violence perpetrated by drug gangs.

Colom has declared a 30-day state of emergency in Peten, according to official Guatemala government information. The situation is tense—and too close to Belize for comfort.

Amandala has been provided with a photo showing that the name of the paramilitary gang, Zetas—which was formed in Mexico by defected Special Forces officers, and whose name, the 6th letter of the Greek alphabet, was actually derived from its first leader, Lieutenant Arturo Guzmán Decena, whose Federal Judicial Police radio code was “Z1”—has been carved on a tree inside the Caracol Archaeological Reserve in Cayo, Belize, close to the Belize-Guatemala border.

Sunday’s mass killings are of particular interest to Belize, since it has been widely reported by sources out of Guatemala that a vehicle bearing a Belizean license plate was found at the camp that had been used by members of Los Zetas cartel which executed laborers of Otto Salguero, a ranch owner in the La Libertad area of Peten, to whom the massacre, including 26 decapitations, and bold writings in human blood, was supposed to send a strong message.

The Belizean four-wheel-drive diplomatic vehicle found at the Zetas camp in the area of La Libertad was reportedly stolen from the Guatemalan driver of the adjacency zone office of the Organization of American States (OAS), posted at the Belize-Guatemala border.

Kim Osborne, OAS representative in Belize, told Amandala when we contacted her today that she is not able to comment at this time, but she indicated that the vehicle is not yet back in OAS possession. She told us that any comment to the media would have to come from Raul Lago, OAS Special Advisor in Washington.

Incidentally, the leaders of Central America who attended today’s meeting in Antigua, Guatemala, have agreed to solicit anti-narcotics help from the OAS. (Only Costa Rica and Panama were not represented at the meeting in Guatemala today, according to foreign news sources.)

Speaking with Amandala from Antigua Thursday night, Belize Minister of Police and Public Safety Doug Singh said Belize security forces have been upping their vigilance, looking out for suspicious movements that may be linked to Los Zetas, but Colom has indicated that there is “no tangible evidence” that the Zetas came over to Belize, and they believe they have all fled north, towards Mexico.

Singh said that before the main meeting with the Central American leaders, Belize had a bilateral meeting with Colom, in which they expressed sympathies with Guatemala, and underscored the fact that Belize is vulnerable, and that both parties will need to act cooperatively and share information.

Singh also said that Guatemala has set up security checkpoints on the corridor to Belize, and that Belize will step up efforts at the border, as well as through Customs and Immigration checkpoints in “more vulnerable areas.”

Minister Singh said that one of the primary reasons for today’s meeting in Guatemala is to prepare for a regional security summit on June 22 and 23, which, he said, will deal with efforts to raise the funds necessary for a regional security strategy.

“It is absolutely important that everybody gets on the same page,” said Singh.

Guatemalan vice minister Carlos Raúl Morales has been quoted as saying that what happened in Guatemala on Sunday is not Guatemala’s problem alone—it is a problem for the countries of the region, which are small countries, and which, as a result, have to coordinate actions and strategies.

Concerns have been raised that drug gangs may target Belizean forests as safe havens they can use in any crackdown across the border. Executive Director of Friends for Conservation and Development, Rafael Manzanero, told Amandala today that whereas they have not yet found any evidence of Zetas hiding out in the Chiquibul, a forested area of Belize with unique cave systems, they have previously found carvings of faces and markings of gang numbers on trees in the forest, as well as threatening notes, which, he said, are intended for intimidation.

Learned observers have expressed concerns to our newspaper multiple times this week that there is not enough concentration by Belize security forces on the western border, as increased manpower has been sent to Belize City to help support the fight against crime.

Commander of the Belize Defence Force, Dario Tapia, told Amandala this week that they have not reduced patrols on the border, but have brought in soldiers to the city who would ordinarily be on routine training.

Amandala was made to understand from reliable sources that some of this training would take place in the western jungles, which could help to deter illegal activities out west.

As we have highlighted in our midweek paper, law enforcement authorities in Belize continue to be challenged in efforts to stave off illegal milpa incursions, as well as illegal logging, lootings and poaching, allegedly by Guatemalans.

Amandala

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