Guatemalan President Inaugurates Municipal Program against Violence

By Dialogo
February 17, 2012

On February 14, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez inaugurated the “Secure Municipality” program, which coordinates police and Military actions with the aim of reducing the violence that is plaguing the country, the local press reported.

The president launched the program in the municipality of Mixco, 20 km west of the capital and one of the most violent municipalities in the department of Guatemala, where the local Government is headed by his son, Otto Pérez Leal.

“Two Military detachments will now be functioning in Mixco, with which we hope to reduce violence,” the president affirmed, accompanied by his son and agents from the security agencies that are participating in the plan.

The program, which involves the National Civil Police, the Transit Police, and the Military, is inspired by plans implemented in Colombia during former president Álvaro Uribe’s administration, according to Pérez.

“We have a municipality with high levels of violence, and putting a police officer or a member of the Military on a motorcycle operated by a transit agent guarantees greater action by the security forces,” in Pérez Leal’s view.

The program, which the Guatemalan Government hopes to extend to several towns, seeks to fight crime with the support of tips from residents, for which purpose a telephone number will be set up.

The Control and Monitoring Center, sponsored by the United States to conduct camera surveillance of area streets and alert the authorities, is already functioning in Mixco.

Guatemala is suffering a wave of violence, chiefly generated by groups of drug traffickers and by gangs, with an average of 16 deaths a day.