San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

SICA Supports Gov’t of Guatemala’s Colom

MANAGUA – The presidents and government representatives at last week’s extraordinary meeting of the Central American Integration System (SICA) pledged their “support and solidarity” to Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, who is confronting a campaign by organized crime to topple his government.

Colom, who was supposed to attend the SICA meeting in Managua, canceled at the last minute due to the instability in Guatemala, where he is facing threats of a coup and alleged attempts against his life, reported Panamanian President Martín Torrijos.

SICA vowed to support Colom against “the destabilization campaign by organized crime and other sectors that oppose the democratic advances in Guatemala.”

In Guatemala, meanwhile, police and military struck back against suspected drug traffickers March 22 in a raid on a suspected terrorist training ground in northern Guatemala, according to EFE wire reports.

Guatemalan authorities seized a small plane, five vehicles, two motorcycles and arms belonging to suspected drug traffickers in northern Guatemala. Although no arrests were made and no drugs found, police believe the camp belongs to a group called “Los Zetas,” the armed wing of Mexico’s Gulf drug cartel, which threatened to kill Colom last month.

The Attorney General’s Office said in October that upwards of 300 Zetas might have entered the country, seizing control of the illegal drug trade in wide swaths of eastern and northern Guatemala.

Officials here began focusing on Los Zetas after the March 25, 2008, “narco-massacre” near the Caribbean resort town of Zacapa, where 11 people were killed, including Guatemalan drug kingpin Juan Jose “Juancho” León.

In December, Vice-President Rafael Espada acknowledged that as a result of the drug wars in the United States and Mexico, traffickers have moved their operations to Guatemala.

“Guatemala is the victim of groups of drug traffickers who have escaped from Mexico, because they see fertile ground here. The Mexican cartels are entering Guatemala,” Espada said.

–Nica Times and EFE



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