Guatemala ‘on brink of ruin’ after 40 murdered

By Philip Sherwell in Guatemala City, Sunday Telegraph

Last Updated: 1:42am BST 26/08/2007




Hector Montenegro took a break from election campaigning in Guatemala last
week – to bury his murdered teenage daughter. Her killers had pulled
out her fingernails, tied her hands behind her back, slit her throat,
then stuffed the corpse into the boot of a taxi with two other victims
of similarly brutal attacks.

  • In pictures: Guatemala’s election violence
  •   Guatemalan congressional candidate Hector Montenegro holds a picture of his murdered daughterwguat126a.jpg

    The distraught congressional candidate for the leading party was in no
    doubt that 15-year-old Marta Cristina was the latest victim of a
    particularly violent election campaign, even by the standards of a
    country that endured a bloody 36-year civil war.

    “I am sure that her killing was politically motivated,” said Mr Montenegro, 71, a veteran activist for the poor and elderly. “I am used
    to the threatening phone calls, the insults, the people calling me a
    communist. But what sort of animal could do this to a teenage girl?”

    Forty candidates or senior party officials have already been murdered during
    the campaign – a grim tally that does not include supporters or
    relatives such as Mr Montenegro’s daughter. With two weeks to go before
    the September 9 poll, the death toll makes this the bloodiest election
    in the country’s history, as drug lords, crime gangs and political
    rivals seek to buy power, settle scores and intimidate enemies….


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