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Guatemala: tough on crime

Thursday, May 10, 2012

WHAT Murder rates in several districts of Guatemala City have been cut by up to 75%, as the government calls out the troops. Guatemalans are happy with Otto Pérez, six months into his presidency.

WHY Elected on a law and order platform, Pérez has put 1,500 soldiers on the streets of the capital, as part of a commitment to stop street crime.

WHAT NEXT Creating a strong military has been a problem in some Latin American countries. An ex army general, Perez may understand the gamble he is taking. A bigger issue could be corruption, since a soldier in most cases earns less than half the salary of a police officer. For now, the plan is working, in a country, which until last year was the world’s murder capital. In a poll taken last month, nearly 80% of Guatemalans said they were “very satisfied” with Perez’ performance.

For more information, please contact Esteban Alvarez, at [email protected]