- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
- Grass-Whopper: Pan-fried cricket burgers go over big in New York City
Guatemala president hopes to regain U.S. military aid
Leader seeks to restore military assistance
Question of the Day
GUATEMALA CITY — Otto Perez Molina takes office as Guatemala’s new president Saturday with a top priority of ending a long-standing U.S. ban on military aid imposed over concerns about abuses during the Central American country’s 36-year civil war.
Mr. Perez, who was a top military official during the war, has long insisted there were no massacres, human rights violations or genocide in a conflict that killed 200,000 civilians, mostly Mayan Indians.
But he won the presidency campaigning on a pledge to crack down on soaring crime, including one of the highest murder rates in the Western Hemisphere, and he will need U.S. help to battle the Mexican drug gangs that have overrun Guatemala.
Close advisers say he supports meeting the conditions set by various U.S. congressional appropriations acts for restoring aid that was first eliminated in 1978 halfway through the civil war.
Among the required steps is reforming a weak justice system that has failed to bring those responsible for abuses to justice. A U.N.-sponsored postwar truth commission said state forces and related paramilitary groups committed most of the killings.
“I do believe Otto Perez Molina will pursue the lifting of the military ban,” said Harold Caballeros, the incoming foreign minister. “There is nothing that I hold to be more certain than Otto Perez Molina’s commitment to improving the justice system as a whole in Guatemala.”
Mr. Stein said Mr. Perez will keep the current attorney general, Claudia Paz y Paz, who is supported by the U.S. and human rights groups for her aggressive prosecution and reputation for staying above the country’s rampant public corruption.
“The president-elect has decided to continue with the current attorney general and to confirm some of these civil rights issues out of conviction, not because of a request from a foreign government,” Mr. Stein said.
The 61-year-old Mr. Perez, a member of the right-wing Patriotic Party, lost his first presidential bid in 2007 to Alvaro Colom, who he is succeeding Saturday.
He won handily this time with campaign promises to deal with criminals with an “iron fist,” a stand that resonated in a country of more than 13 million people where murders are committed at a rate of 45 for every 100,000 residents. That is almost three times higher than in neighboring Mexico.
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Federal deficit shrinks 20 percent in fiscal 2014
- EDITORIAL: Our ideological president
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Chris Matthews: GOP less patriotic than South African white apartheid leaders
- Sen. Rand Paul pushes 'Economic Freedom Zones' for Detroit
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!