By Mayra Beltran de Daetz
GUATEMALA: Guatemala is living through a series of events forcing us all to face the issue of insecurity. So much so, that it has caused Guatemalans to think deeply about it and say, “And now…what else can happen?”
A morning headline appears in the first edition of all the newspapers declaring that in Rio Hondo, Zacapa, a shooting took place that left 11 people dead. It is thought this event could be related to the Cartel del Golfo.
The images show destroyed cars — scenes like you can see in a Hollywood move….
The killers had assassinated Juan Jose Leon ArdÃ³n, alias “Juancho.” He was considered head of the Cartel Los Leones. He also was owner of the Agroganadera Company del Norte, S.A., according to the information provided by the media.
He had prior arrests for the selling, trafficking and storage of drugs in 1997 and 1998, but he was free. The surprising thing out of all this is that, according to what people said, he always went accompanied with a strong contingent of well-armed bodyguards.
It overwhelms and frightens us to know that if a person who was so heavily protected could be killed like this then anything could happen to the common Guatemalan who leaves their home every morning to go to work, takes public transportation — all without any protection.
It doesn’t take long for another headlining story to appear in all the newspapers about another average Guatemalan who is killed. He is the ex-advisor to government security, Victor Rivera.
Mr. Rivera was driving when his car was intercepted by two vehicles. The occupants of the other cars shot Rivera’s car from both sides. Rivera died several meters from the place where they shot him. His assistant, who was also accompanying him, took several bullet hits as well but survived and was transferred to a hospital where he’s still recovering.
Victor Rivera arrives at the Tribunal to testify about the case of the assassinated Salvadorian delegation by Guatemalan police.
Victor Rivera had lived in Guatemala for 13 years. He was born in Venezuela and had served during three government administrations (ArzÃº, Portillo and Berger).
He had demonstrated a commitment to investigating the kidnappings that frequently occurred during the ArzÃº Administration. He also investigated homicide and extortion cases. However, the new administration simply felt that his services were no longer needed and he was dismissed.
With his death, returns the question, “How safe can Guatemalans expect to be if we do not have bodyguards or carry guns?”
Rivera assassinated by unknown gunmen.
Unfortunately, with both Rivera’s and “Juancho’s” deaths, they demonstrate that neither bodyguards nor guns make a difference. We are living in dangerous times where human life has little value and everyone just waits for the next Hollywood-style murder to happen.
It’s gotten to the moment in time where all we can do is ask for God’s protection, because if what is happening in Guatemala is any indication — nobody but He can take care of us all.
Learn more about Mayra:
Mayra Etna BeltrÃ¡n Molina de Daetz is a native-born Guatemalan who lives in Guatemala City with her husband and teenage son. After attending one of the most noted secretarial schools in the country, Mayra graduated with a secretarial certification — and the ability to speak and write English, as well as, know French.
Yet, she wanted more of a career and so she took architect and graphic design classes at a local university in Guatemala City. Unable to finish her university studies due to finances, Mayra became a stewardess and has over 100 hours in the air.
Yet, she always wanted to be involved with the media and so she returned to school and was able to get a degree in sales and marketing.
As a result, she has worked for a weekly magazine and a newspaper.
I have had opportunity to attend International congresses, in which I have known very important people at the more important international newspapers, which has been a very gratifying experience and has allowed me to have friendships outside of my country.