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DOCUMENTO Íntegro

Cable en el que el candidato presidencial de Guatemala denuncia supuestas conspiraciones con funcionarios norteamericanos

ID: 170070
Date: 2008-09-16 17:26:00
Origin: 08GUATEMALA1163
Source: Embassy Guatemala
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno: 08GUATEMALA759 08GUATEMALA771
Destination: VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGT #1163/01 2601726
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 161726Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6092
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L GUATEMALA 001163

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/04/2018
TAGS: PGOV, SNAR, KCRM, PINR, GT
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES RULE OF LAW WITH OPPOSITION
LEADER OTTO PEREZ MOLINA

REF: A. GUATEMALA 759
B. GUATEMALA 771

Classified By: Ambassador Stephen G. McFarland for reasons 1.4 (b&d).

Summary
-------
1. (C) 2007 presidential runner-up General Otto Perez Molina
told the Ambassador September 4 that he is concerned about
Guatemala's deteriorating security situation and the GOG's
apparent inability to follow through on institutional
reforms. The state is institutionally unprepared to confront
rising security challenges posed by narcotrafficking,
corruption, and violent crime. President Colom announced a
substantial expansion of the army, but the GOG's draft budget
makes no provision for such an expansion. Perez and his
party's bench leader, Roxana Baldetti, also discussed the
GOG's social agenda and the ongoing congressional finance
scandal. Baldetti predicted that Congress would pass the
pending Freedom of Information Bill. Greater political will
is needed to address rampant criminal penetration of the
state's rule of law institutions. End Summary.

Security and Police Reform
--------------------------
2. (C) The Ambassador, DCM, and Pol/Econ Couns met September
4 with 2007 presidential runner-up General Otto Perez Molina
and the bench leader of his Patriot Party, Roxana Baldetti.
The Ambassador stated that the security situation and
narcotrafficking had gotten much worse in the last five
years; the Ambassador suggested that Guatemalans need to
transcend political differences. The government, political
parties, and civil society should collaborate in developing a
common security vision and strategy to confront this national
exigency. Allowing partisan differences to hamstring rule of
law reform efforts worked to the criminals' advantage. Perez
and Baldetti agreed that a united approach bringing together
all significant political actors was urgently needed. They
asserted that narcotraffickers had been allowed to gain a
firm foothold in the country under the previous Berger
Government, and ageed that security conditions had
deteriorated shaply under Berger. That trend was now
continuing under Colom. Deteriorating security could favor
Perez's political prospects for another presidential run in
2011, Baldetti said, given his security focus. However, the
country would pay a high price in the meantime.

3. (C) All state rule of law organs had been thoroughly
penetrated by narcotraffickers and other organized criminals,
Perez and Baldetti said. Continued cleansing of police ranks
was needed, but the police should not attempt to reform
themselves. Rather, the intervention of an outside party is
needed. Perez said that part of Guatemala's crime problem
could be traced to the inadequacy and criminal penetration of
investigative organs, particularly the PNC's Directorate for
Criminal Investigations (DINC), which he asserted was
implicated in the February 2007 murders of three PARLACEN
deputies and other crimes. The new General Directorate for
Civilian Intelligence (DIGICI) of the Ministry of Government
has not yet produced any results.

4. (C) Perez said Guatemala has just 300 police criminal
investigators, none of whom is specialized, assigned to
perform more than 200,000 pending criminal investigations.
This number is clearly inadequate, and pales in comparison to
the approximately 2,500 official criminal investigators in El
Salvador. Perez said that his party, working together with
the governing UNE, had drafted a bill for law enforcement
overhaul. Relevant actors, such as (now deceased) Minister
Qoverhaul. Relevant actors, such as (now deceased) Minister
of Government Gomez and former Attorney General Florido had
provided inputs to the plan. The bill, now pending in
Congress, would provide for, among other measures,
establishment of a new criminal investigation unit under the
direction of the Attorney General, rather than the National
Police. Perez and Baldetti said, however, that the UNE
government now appears to have disowned the reform plan, and
Minister of Government Jimenez has made clear he has no
intention of pursuing it. Without UNE support, the measure
is unlikely to pass.

5. (C) (Note: Embassy did not support creation of the
proposed new investigative unit because it would be redundant
to the DINC and be at odds with the new Organized Crime Law
and other elements of the legal architecture underpinning
rule of law institutions. We have urged the GOG to focus on
vetting and reforming the DINC rather than creating a new
unit. End Note.)

No Money for Announced Army Expansion
-------------------------------------

6. (C) President Colom's September 1 announcement of plans
to expand the army from 15,500 soldiers to approximately
25,000 by the end of 2010 appeared to have been aimed at
assuaging citizens' concerns about security, Perez and
Baldetti observed. Compared to the PNC, the army is
relatively uncorrupted, and enjoys much greater public
confidence than does the PNC. However, the GOG's draft 2009
budget makes no allowance for any expansion of the army, so
Perez and Baldetti concluded that Colom's announcement was
mere rhetoric. (Note: Embassy's own review of the draft 2009
budget identified no additional funding for the army, and the
Chief of the Army Joint Staff told PolMil Officer that he
knew nothing of a planned expansion. End Comment.) Perez
and Baldetti also noted that any plans to continue or expand
the army's active support for law enforcement operations
would likely draw condemnation from some elements of the
international community, particularly human rights NGOs.

Finance Scandal: Not Me
-----------------------
7. (C) Regarding the ongoing congressional finance scandal,
Perez said the entire institution had been tainted in the
public eye, and not just the culpable individuals (ref a).
The challenge ahead for Congress is to recover some of its
lost legitimacy. Baldetti said she and her party did not
believe that former President of Congress Eduardo Meyer had
personally stolen any substantial portion of the
approximately $11.2 million that is now missing from
Congress' coffers. She said, however, that in his capacity
as president, Meyer was charged with being the principal
custodian of congressional funds. He therefore must bear
personal responsibility, to include facing judicial
proceedings. In contrast to Meyer's situation, it was clear
that his predecessor, Ruben Dario Morales, had indeed stolen
congressional funds. The Superintendency of Banks' public
revelation that Perez had received a personal loan from MDF
manager Raul Giron was a politically motivated smear attempt,
Baldetti maintained, asserting that the loan was in no way
related to the money misappropriated by Congress. Asked
whether she was considering running for President of Congress
for 2009, Baldetti said she was, and that the election could
occur as early as mid-October.

Congress to Pass Freedom of Information Bill
--------------------------------------------
8. (C) Baldetti predicted that the Freedom of Information
Bill, now in its third and final reading, would pass.
Parties that had reservations about the bill, such as the
FRG, would pay too high a political price for making their
opposition publicly known, and so would therefore ultimately
vote in favor, she predicted. However, given Guatemala's
prevailing culture of lack of respect for laws, and
authorities' regular failure to enforce laws, she opined that
the law would achieve little in practice. It was in any case
redundant to Article Four of the Guatemalan Constitution,
which already provides for free citizen access to government
proceedings and records, Baldetti said. Perez opined that
the law might nonetheless have some positive impact.

CCT Fomenting Dependency
------------------------
9. (C) Baldetti said that PP was supportive of some elements
of the GOG's social agenda, and indeed had planned to
implement a Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program similar
to the Colom Government's "My Family Progresses" program if
elected (ref b). However, PP was concerned that the GOG's
Qelected (ref b). However, PP was concerned that the GOG's
program had become exclusively a vehicle for providing
handouts without providing accompanying incentives for
self-help. As a result, Baldetti believed the program is
fomenting a culture of dependency among its recipients.
Responding to Baldetti's point, the Ambassador noted that the
USG would continue its support for many GOG social
initiatives.

Comment
-------
10. (C) From the opposition, Otto Perez Molina and his
Patriot Party continue to highlight deteriorating security as
a top citizen concern. While the GOG has taken some steps to
remedy institutional deficiencies, more political will is
needed. Criminal penetration of the state's rule of law and
security institutions is generalized, and public confidence
in those institutions low (with the exception of the army).
Perez's loan from MDF manager Giron reportedly was drawn
against the same account into which Congress' funds were
deposited, leaving some to doubt his assertion that he had
nothing to do with the ongoing finance scandal. While
Baldetti's observation that Article Four of the Constitution
already provides for public access to government documents
and proceedings is accurate, the Freedom of Information Bill

would provide needed specificity and establish sanctions.
Embassy continues to urge congressional leaders to pass the
bill, as it would be a step toward the greater institutional
transparency Guatemala so badly needs.
McFarland