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Released on 2012-03-01 20:00 GMT

Email-ID 1782561
Date 2011-05-19 16:39:07
if she becomes the real president, you have a de-facto narco-state, just
more official

ill gather more on this for an SI piece on her potential presidency


From: "Karen Hooper"
To: "Analyst List"
Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2011 9:30:32 AM

I'd love to see what evidence we have on her that leads us to believe
she's so much more corrupt than the rest of the elite, or than her
husband. All I've heard so far is "rumors" and "more than rumors."

And since she's also rumored to be the current real president, what
changes if she becomes the real president?

I'm not at all convinced that any leader of Guatemala would be able to
resist pressure from the narcos when there is money to be made and their
own skins to save.

On 5/19/11 10:24 AM, scott stewart wrote:

Ia**d love to see SI do a high level political piece on Sandra Torres
and the implications of her potential election.

[] On Behalf Of Karen Hooper
Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2011 9:34 AM
To: Analyst List

Threats and mass killings are a different breed, and I think something
should be said in the analysis that indicates this is a bit of a game
changer. But I agree entirely that it needs to be in context of previous
actions. They have indeed been threatening the administration since it
came in.

What counts as more than a rumor?

On 5/19/11 9:28 AM, Reva Bhalla wrote:

this isn't the first instance of overt MX cartel presence in Central
America. Look at the Zeta threats to Colom just a few months ago.
saying that this development transforms the geopolitics of Guatemala and
Central America is a huge overstatement

The allegations against Sandra are more than just rumors from what I've
been able to pick up since I first heard about it around 2 yrs ago.
She's made a lot of enemies, she's also made a lot of money. Wouldn't
discount the allegations.. it's just something to keep in mind.


From: "Karen Hooper"
To: "Analyst List"
Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2011 8:22:14 AM

While we may want to caveate or tone it down, I do not think it's
unreasonable to indicate that the influx of overt Mexican cartel
presence in Central America is a game changer. These countries don't
have the resources to fight the cartels, and the impact of this kind of
violent message shouldn't be understated.

Btw, I'd like to know more about why we think Sandra Colom is
particularly corrupt. I know there have been rumors, but let's not
forget that a) the elite in Guatemala is invested in discrediting
outsiders like her, and b) they're all dirty. What do we actually have
on her?

Karen Hooper

Latin America Analyst
o: 512.744.4300 ext. 4103
c: 512.750.7234

On 5/19/11 8:59 AM, Reva Bhalla wrote:

also 'grisly', 'horrific', etc.

the elite landowners don't 'represent' the state.... in fact, Sandra has
a real problem on her hands with the landed elite the more she tries to
go down the populist/indigenous vote grabbing route. The landed elite
are a powerful part of the state, but represent is not the right word

i also don't see the basis for this claim "We expect this to be the
beginning of a trend which will have dramatic effect upon the
geopolitics of the country and the greater Central American region. "

what is this supposed dramatic effect on the geopolitics of Guatemala
and CA? The Zetas have been there for a long time, likely with the
cooperation of Sandra Torres and her allies. The Zetas also use messages
like this to intimidate all the time. This analysis treats the event as
if something radically new is happening. The mass killing is notable
for sure, but I really do not see this at all having a fundamental
impact on Central American geopolitics


From: "Sean Noonan"
To: "Analyst List"
Cc: "Writers@Stratfor. Com" , "scott stewart"

Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2011 7:55:48 AM

Please take these loaded words out of the analysis as I suggested
massacre (it's a mass murder)
sadistic (this is now a 'personality disorder' and we are not shrinks.
Please describe in dry, tactical terms)
slaughter (we simply don't use words like this)

On 5/18/11 6:42 PM, Victoria Allen wrote:

On the night of 14/15 May, 27-29 Guatemalan laborers were slaughtered on
the farm of a regional landowner near the village of San Benito, Peten
Department, Guatemalaa**s northernmost province. The mass killing
appears to be the work of Mexicoa**s Los Zetas cartel, due to the
combination of the cartela**s known presence in the region, its control
of Chiapas and Campeche states [LINK:]
bordering Peten on the north and west, and the grisly display of
beheaded and dismembered victims. Somewhat out of character, though, was
that they wrote the narco-message on a wall of a building with blood a**
using a victima**s leg as the writing implement a** which is not common
for Los Zetas. However it has become clear over the last two years that
Los Zetas tend to kill victims in particularly sadistic ways when time
allows and a message needs to be sent a** the result being a fearsome
reputation. That this event occurred and involved Los Zetas, is not what
makes the massacre significant. When taken together, several unusual
aspects of this event present the probability that a significant shift
is in progress in the dynamics of Zeta activities in northern Guatemala.

Peten Department is remote, underdeveloped, and the people are strongly
independent and distrustful of the Guatemalan government (this will be
rewritten/reworked by Colby to convey more accurately in a single
sentence the significance of the culture of the region vis-A -vis
outsiders, govt, kaibiles, etca*|). It is known that Los Zetas over the
years have recruited many Guatemalan kaibiles [LINK:],
current or former Guatemalan special forces soldiers, to the point that
there is a high likelihood that Zetas operating in Guatemala, the
Yucatan, and southern Mexico are from Guatemala. Based upon reported
testimony of two of the survivors of the massacre the attackers wore
military-style fatigues (not uncommon), and that they had Mexican
accents. The presence of a large group of Mexican Zeta enforcers leads
to the possibility that this group was sent into Peten Department for a
specific purpose. In the context of a long presence of Guatemalan Zetas
in the region, we ask why this change in operations came about.

Further, the surviving witnesses indicated that the gunmen were
demanding to know the whereabouts of the landowner, Otto Salguero, and
as the peasants had just arrived to work for Salguero the previous week
they would not have possessed any useful knowledge to extract a** as
opposed to that which long-time employees likely would possess. While
interrogating the peasants regarding the whereabouts of Salguero a** who
was not on the property at the time a** the peasants were killed, then
methodically decapitated. But there are large anomalies evident in the

According to reports from Latin American media, the Zeta force was
camped in a what was described as a redoubt nearby for several days a**
most likely in surveillance of Salgueroa**s residence and activities,
judging by the proximity of their camp to the targeta**s house a** and
as such probably knew that their apparent target was not on the property
when they attacked. Additionally it was reported that, at the time the
attack began, Salguero was attending the funeral of his niece and her
father-in-law a** who had been killed the previous day by Zetas when the
pair were delivering ransom money for another family member. The Zetas
killed and beheaded the people they were interrogating, presumably
because the peasants could offer no information, but the Zetas likely
knew where their target was a** and why. The conflicting information
then points to the potential that Los Zetas slaughtered the peasants
knowing they were not relevant to whatever activities Salguero was
engaged in that made him a Zeta target in the first place. There are
indications in the media that Salgueroa**s activities have been counter
to Zeta interests for several years, however as there is little clarity
yet in this aspect of the chain of events, STRATFOR is in the process of
corroborating rumored connections before giving them credence in
analysis on this situation.

Regarding the contradiction of reported information and historical
evidence, another element in play is the leaving of witnesses: Los Zetas
typically does not do so unless the group wishes to deliver a pointed
message, though there have been occasions when a victim has a**played
deada** until the Zetas depart, as occurred at the massacre of the
Central American migrants in San Fernando last year [LINK:].
As reported in Guatemalan news on the event, while one survivor did so
by a**playing deada** after he was wounded, a woman was specifically and
pointedly spared. She apparently was told by the Zeta leader that she
would be spared because of her daughters, who were with her and
reportedly whom she had attempted to protect by covering them with her
body. As it happens the woman is pregnant as well, but that may not have
played into the decision to allow her to live. What is not known at this
point about the Zetas sparing her and her children, is what message she
may have been specifically instructed to convey after the event came to

There remains a great deal of uncertain or uncorroborated information
surrounding the massacre in Peten. STRATFOR is monitoring the
developments closely, for there are many questions to be answered. It is
clear though, from the known facts and the identified anomalies, that a
profound message was being sent. Based upon the available information
STRATFORa**s initial take is that the message was the violence, that
because Mexicans were used rather than Guatemalans, Los Zetas are there,
no one is safe a** from the average peasant to the elite landowners (who
represent the state). The more gruesome the scene created by Los Zetas,
the more it will remind the Guatemalan people of the horrific acts of
the death squads during that countrya**s 36 year civil war a** and the
death squads were kaibiles, who now are aligned with Los Zetas. The
connection will have been made. The primal fear this event instilled in
Guatemalans has been evidenced by STRATFORa**s sources in that country
flatly refusing to discuss or even acknowledge it as having happened. We
expect this to be the beginning of a trend which will have dramatic
effect upon the geopolitics of the country and the greater Central
American region. The second part of this discussion, next week, will
examine those wider implications which we perceive to have been
triggered by the massacre at San Benito.

Victoria Allen

Tactical Analyst (Mexico)

Strategic Forecasting


"There is nothing more necessary than good intelligence to frustrate a
designing enemy, & nothing requires greater pains to obtain." -- George


Sean Noonan

Tactical Analyst

Office: +1 512-279-9479

Mobile: +1 512-758-5967

Strategic Forecasting, Inc.