Wednesday, February 3, 2010

President of Guatemala Alvaro Colom

President of Guatemala - Álvaro Colom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Álvaro Colom

Assumed office 
14 January 2008
Preceded byÓscar Berger

Born15 June 1951 (age 58)
Guatemala City
Political partyUNE
Spouse(s)Sandra Torres
ReligionRoman Catholic
Álvaro Colom Caballeros (born 15 June 1951) is the President of Guatemala for the 2008–2012 term and leader of the social-democratic National Union of Hope (UNE).



[edit]Early years

Colom was born in Guatemala City, the son of Antonio Colom Argueta and Yolanda Caballeros Ferraté, being the fourth of five siblings. His uncle, Manuel Colom, was a former mayor of Guatemala City who was killed by the military in 1979 just after the creation of his political party was approved.[1] He is also the father of Antonio Colom Szarata, thebass player of a Guatemalan pop rock band, Viento en Contra.[2] Previously widowed and divorced, he is now married to his third wife, Sandra Torres. After gaining a degree as an industrial engineer at the University of San Carlos (USAC) he became a businessman involved in a variety of businesses, and a government civil servant, including being the founding General Director of the Fondo Nacional para la Paz and Vice Minister of the Economy before turning to politics. Representing the UNE (Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza) in the 2003 presidential elections, he lost to Óscar Berger on December 28, 2003.

[edit]2007 election

He was one of the two candidates to reach the second stage of the 2007 presidential election on September 9, 2007 along with Partido Patriota candidate Otto Pérez Molina. At 10:00 p.m. local time on election night, Colom was declared the newly elected president by over five percentage points, 52.7% to 47.3%, with over 96 percent of polling places counted, [3] becoming Guatemala's first left-leaning president in 53 years.
Colom has said that he wants to reduce crime by tackling poverty[4] in Guatemala.

[edit]Rodrigo Rosenberg

On May 10, 2009, Rodrigo Rosenberg, a Guatemalan lawyer and father of four, was shot to death. A videotaped message recorded by Rosenberg days before his death claimed that Colom and other high officials were directly responsible for his murder.[5] In an interview with CNN en Español, Colom stated that the accusations made in the video were false.[6] The Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre wrote that the videotape "has created the greatest political crisis for this democracy, because never before has a democratically elected president been accused of murder."[7] On 12 May 2009, thousands of people protested and demanded justice outside the Presidential House.[8] On 13 May 2009, protesters submitted a petition with 35,000 signatures to the Guatemalan congress with the goal of removing Colom's immunity from prosecution.[9]
On January 12, 2010, Carlos Castresana, Director of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (the international body in charge of the investigation of the Rosenberg murder), stated the Rosenberg murder was in fact a suicide and that Rosenberg had hired hit men to kill himself. Rosenberg was apparently motivated by his belief that the Colom government was responsible for the earlier murders of his clients, Khalil and Marjory Musa, with whom he also had a personal relationship, and his inability to definitively prove that Colom was behind their murders.[10]
On January 13, 2010, Castresana stated that Rosenberg planned his murder in 20 days, when he decided that there was not impunity in Guatemala (referring to the case of Khalil and Marjory Musá) and became depressed over bad administration of his law firm (which later avoided bankruptcy by changing name and administration). Carlos Castresana said that President Colom, the First Lady Sandra Torres and the Private Secretary to the President Gustavo Alejos were cleared of charges, and the link that bonded them to the case was finally broken.[11]