September 12, 2011--
No clear majority winner was declared in yesterday’s Guatemalan Presidential Election. Mr Perez Molina, a former army general, had 36% of the vote, with businessman Manuel Baldizon only 23%.
While both candidates promised an improved security platform The bbc.co.uk.com reports, “Mr Perez Molina, running for the right-wing Patriotic Party, focused his campaign message on the need for an "iron fist" to tackle violence.
He had led the opinion polls throughout the campaign but that support did not translate into the 50% plus one vote needed for a first round victory.”
Mr. Perez would be the first former military leader elected in the Central American nation since the end of its military dictatorships should he win in November as many predict.
The Renewed Democratic Liberation Party candidate Manuel Baldizon advocates creating a new national guard and supports the death penalty for serious crimes.
Yesterday’s election marked Guatemala's fourth democratic presidential election since the signing of the 1996 Peace Accords bringing an end to decades of civil war and military rule. Perez Molina is a former general who headed the military during the early 1980s, a time of massive human rights violations particularly against indigenous peoples.
The campaigns have focused on who will do the best job in controlling Guatemala's out-of-control crime, primarily linked to drug trafficking. The murder rates in both Guatemala and El Salvador are higher today than during their civil wars (1960-1996 and 1980-1992).
The current president of Guatemala Alvaro Colom has stated he believes Los Zetas the drug trafficking, kidnapping and extortion gang controls “seven to eight provinces—35-40% of our territory.”
The United States, Mexico and neighboring countries continue to experience the effects of wars building in Central America by the continued violence in Mexico from the drug cartels as they advance to the lucrative American border states to off load drugs and where interdiction and deaths continue.
Jerry Brewer CEO of Criminal Justice International Associates believes the criminal entities have access to unimaginable wealth, corruption potential, firepower, and forced influence on the masses in virtually every example of crime conceivable threatening economic stability. He warns, “These insurgents do not represent a narcotic’s industry, but quite simply an organized criminal empire.”
Jerry Brewer CEO of Criminal Justice International Associates