Guatemalan Mayoral Candidate Killed

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A candidate for the mayoralty of a suburb of Guatemala City was murdered on Thursday, making him the second candidate for the position to be gunned down in recent days.

Enrique Dardon was having his hair cut on Thursday in San Jose Pinula, located some 15 miles from the nation’s capital, when at least one gunman entered the shop and opened fire, killing Dardon and wounding a barber.

This came hours after a leader from Dardon’s party, Commitment, Renovaction and Order (Compromiso, Renovación y Orden – CREO), denounced threats against his party’s candidates ahead of the September 11 general elections, in which Guatemala will choose a new president, vice president, and congress, in addition to electing various local positions.

Dardon’s killing follows the Saturday murder of Augusto Enrique Ovalle Barrera, who was seeking the same post for the Partido Unionista, or Unionist Party. According to one human rights NGO, so far this year there have been 19 murders linked to the upcoming electoral contests.

Public security and governmental integrity have long been as precarious in Guatemala as anywhere in Latin America. The massacre of dozens of laborers in the northern province of Peten last month increased worries about the incursion of the Zetas.

The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Comision Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala – CICIG), a United Nations (UN) sponsored organization, recently called on the Guatemalan people to prevent crime and corruption from turning the country into a “narco-state”.

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