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Daily Beast: President, Murderer, or Both?

Author: Constantino Diaz-Duran
May 13, 2009

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The Guatemalan president's alleged role in a recent murder there shows how Mexico's drug violence is infecting other parts of Latin America--and threatening to destabilize the entire region.

Excerpt: I left Guatemala under duress eight years ago. My work as a journalist had earned me threats, and I believed it was no longer safe for me to live in that country. In the years since, I have grown distant, to the point that I now feel more American than Guatemalan. But every now and then, you come across a story so powerful that you cannot help but be moved. That is the case with the death of Rodrigo Rosenberg, a Guatemalan lawyer who has shocked his country from the grave, prompting a civic uprising that may bring down an increasingly unpopular president.

Rosenberg, a 47-year-old father of four, was gunned down on Sunday while he rode a bike near his home in Guatemala City. The following day, at the funeral, his family released a video recorded by the victim just days before his death. In it, he accuses Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom of planning and ordering the murder. "If you are listening to this message," said Rosenberg, "it's because I was murdered by President Alvaro Colom, with the help of [the president's private secretary] Gustavo Alejos and [alleged drug dealer] Gregorio Valdez."

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