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Guatemala’s new leader Otto Pérez hopes to end United States military aid cutoff

Friday, January 13, 2012


Former general Otto Pérez Molina takes office as Guatemala’s new president Saturday with a top priority of ending a long-standing US ban on military aid imposed over concerns about abuses during the country’s 36-year civil war.

Pérez, who was a top military official during the war, has long insisted there were no massacres, human rights violations or genocide in a conflict that killed 200,000 civilians, mostly Mayan Indians.

But he won the presidency campaigning on a pledge to crack down on soaring crime, including one of the highest murder rates in the Western Hemisphere, and he will need US help to battle the Mexican drug gangs that have overrun Guatemala.

Original source: Associated Press