‎40% of All Crime in Guatemala Related to Drug Trafficking In 2008‎

By Dialogo
February 12, 2009

‎40% of the 6,200 murders committed in Guatemala last year were linked to drug ‎trafficking, President Álvaro Colom told the press today. ‎ ‎"Of all homicides committed last year, 26% were related to drug trafficking and 14% to ‎drug dealing-related violence," said the President. ‎ These numbers, Colom explained, prove "the disturbing presence" of international drug ‎trafficking groups within the country, such as the Mexican assassins known as "Los ‎Zetas," which are linked to the Gulf cartel. ‎ ‎"We have information from intelligence (services) that some 52 members of 'The Zetas' ‎are operating within the country, of which we have already captured twelve, and we ‎expect to catch more,” said the representative in an interview with local radio station ‎Emisoras Unidas. ‎ The President acknowledged the "horrific" violence statistics reported last year in the ‎country, but insisted that "more than 40% of crime is related to drug trafficking” and ‎most of the rest “is derived from it.” ‎ ‎"We did not have statistics earlier, and we had twelve or fifteen murders a day without ‎any classification that would allow us to tackle the original causes. Now we carefully ‎analyze the past year’s violence, and we know where it comes from," he said. ‎ Colom noted that "Guatemala is constantly under attack by organized crime," so "the ‎harder we attack organized crime, the harder its reaction will be." ‎ The government's fight against organized crime "is the top priority," he said, in which the ‎International Commission against Impunity (CICIG), supported by the United Nations, ‎‎"plays an important role." ‎ Guatemala, with a daily average of 17 murders and the apparent presence of drug ‎traffickers in the north and northeast, has become one of the most violent countries in ‎Latin America. ‎ Reducing levels of violence and combating impunity, Colom clarified, are "outstanding ‎priorities" for his administration, which completed its first year in office on January 14.‎