Saturday, September 10, 2011

Guatemala's presidential election

The return of the iron fist

A former general promises a crackdown on violence

FROM hoardings plastered all over Guatemala, the stern face of Otto Pérez Molina stares out beside the clenched-fist logo of his Patriot Party. General Pérez, as he was known until hanging up his rifle in 2000, was once the Guatemalan army’s intelligence director. After coming second in the 2007 presidential race, he is the front-runner in this year’s election on September 11th. Should he win, he will be the first military man to become president since army rule ended in 1986. He promises to crush crime with amano dura, or iron fist, by extending sentences, hiring 10,000 police, expanding video surveillance and lowering the age of criminal responsibility.

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