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  1. Wealth
May 19, 2009

Murder in the Presidential Palace

By Spear's

The man in the video says: “If you are watching this message, it’s because I was murdered by Pres. Álvaro Colóm.”

It’s a plot out of a Tom Clancy novel, as well as a sad comment on the state of Latin America politics. “Good afternoon. My name is Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano,” says the man in the navy suit and pale blue tie.

“Unfortunately if you are watching this message, it’s because I was murdered by [Guatemalana] Pres. Álvaro Colóm with the help of [Cabinet Chief] Gustavo Alejos and Gregorio Valdez.” He goes on to implicate the First Lady, too. This extraordinary video is now a YouTube hit — and it’s absolutely real.

See the video at the end of the post

Mr. Rosenberg, a Guatemalan solicitor, was indeed murdered last week, as he predicted. He represented Guatemalan businessman Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie, both of whom were also murdered for the truth they uncovered in Banrural, a state bank to help Guatemalan farmers, which was used by members of government (particularly the First Lady) for fraud and money laundering of narcodollars, Rosenberg alleged.

Money laundering of drug revenues and three murders is not a small accusation to lob and it makes a little expense fiddling seem sweetly small-fry in comparison. The tale continues to evolve.

Unable to live down the scandal, Pres. Colóm has claimed he has “asked” the FBI to investigate, when, quite frankly, they would have to investigate anyway because of the  money laundering of narcodollars angle. Pres. Colóm was not so much cooperative and welcoming as forced by international law. What is sadder still is the division in the country that echoes class struggles throughout Latin America.

The middle and upper classes, intellectuals and Chamber of Commerce have called for the President’s resignation with protests chanting “Get out! Get out!” before the National Palace, saying they are tired of violence, corruption and ineptitude in their government.

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Meanwhile many of the rural poor have come into Guatemala City to show their support for the President by staging their own competing marches, chanting: “He’s staying! The president is staying!” “He’s with the poor,” they say, pointing to Mr. Colóm’s social programmes, which are conducted through the Social Cohesion Cabinet at the centre of the corruption and money laundering allegations.

As is typical and regretful in Latin American politics, this has devolved into nothing more than class divisions. The poor typically suspect the wealthy of wanting to eliminate a president they think helps them.

But if the allegations are true, and the Colóm administration has been harbouring drug traffickers, then he has harmed his country more than he has helped it in the long-run.

There’s a saying that we get the government we deserve, but no one deserves the violence, murder and mutilation that follows the drug trade, as I have witnessed myself first-hand in Colombia.

Unfortunately, until poverty is addressed by candidates that represent the country as a whole, ending the rival accusations across the class divide, the poor will continue to settle for violence and corruption in exchange for a few meager handouts far below the equal opportunity and social justice they deserve — and everyone everywhere will suffer the consequences of the drug trade and false democracies.

And, that, more than three deaths, is the ultimate tragedy.

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