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Guatemala murder scandal could threaten the presidency

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"This is a crisis. When the people lose confidence in the authorities, what comes next is ungovernability and with it more corruption and violence," says Mario Polanco, director of the human rights organization Mutual Support Group in Guatemala City.

Vast right-wing conspiracy?

Colom, the nation's first leftist president in 50 years, says the scandal is a right-wing political conspiracy designed to bring down his government.

His administration has challenged the traditional power brokers, including former military officials. Earlier this year, he agreed to open a police archive that details information on left-leaning dissidents abducted and killed during the country's civil war.

Guatemala's past has been marred by a series of military coups. When the war ended, politically motivated murder did not. Eleven years ago, for example, Catholic Bishop Juan Gerardi was bludgeoned to death after delivering a damning report on abuses committed by the state during the war.

Today's accusations "have created the greatest political crisis for this democracy, because never before has a democratically elected president been accused of murder," the Prensa Libre newspaper said in an editorial.

Video details money-laundering scheme

In the video, Rosenberg says that Colom, the first lady, and two others were involved in a money-laundering scheme that diverted public funds to dummy organizations that could be accessed for personal gain and by drug traffickers. Rosenberg also alleged in the video that a powerful businessman, Khalil Musa, was killed with his daughter in April because he refused to take part in the scheme. Rosenberg represented him.

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