Guatemalan president gets backing from Central American leaders at SICA meeting

May 15, 2009

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Beleaguered Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom thanked his Central American counterparts Wednesday for their “solidarity” and “objectivity” amid impassioned calls for his ouster in Guatemala.

Protests have rocked Guatemala for more than a week following a video tape released by family members of slain lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg, who alleged in a previously recorded statement, “ If you are watching this message, it is because I was assassi nated by President Alvaro Colom.”

Rosenberg, who was shot and killed May 10 while riding his bike in Guatemala City, said in his video message that the president and his aides were plotting to kill him because of information he had about a client, who was similarly murdered last month. Colom denies any involvement in the lawyer´s killing and blames the scandal on a conspiracy against his government, the country´s first left-leaning administration in 50 years.

“There are all types of interests involved in this – political, economic and banking interests,” Colom told The Nica Times Wednesday in Managua, following the presidential summit of the Central American Integration System (SICA).

Asked to expand on who or what specifically was conspiring against his government, Colom said that would be for the investigation to clarify.

At the behest of the Colom administration, the United Nations-affiliated International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) is heading the murder investigation to assure “independent” and “prompt” results.

SICA, for its part, released a five-point declaration to support Colom´s government, condemn the violence in Guatemala and reaffirm Central American solidarity.

“Threats to the democratic process in any of the member countries of SICA constitute a common threat to our shared democratic values,” reads the resolution, signed by the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Panama, as well as representatives of the governments of Costa Rica, Belize and the Dominican Republic.

This was the second time in three months that SICA has had to issue a declaration in support of Colom´s government. On March 25, SICA issued a statement expressing “all its support (for) and solidarity with President Alvaro Colom against a destabilizing campaign promoted by groups of organized crime and other sectors that are against the democratic advances in Guatemala and the politics of social justice and strengthening of the institutional democracy.”

Colom´s government this week also received the backing of the Organization of American States (OAS), which will be meeting for its annual meeting June 1 in Honduras.

Read the May 22 print or PDF edition of The Nica Times for more on this story.

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