Guatemalan Congressman Slain Outside Party HQ

Published January 14, 2012 2:27AM (EST)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A congressman who was reportedly negotiating a switch to the law-and-order party of Guatemala's conservative president-elect was shot to death early Friday, a day before the presidential inauguration ceremony.

Investigators said two attackers killed Oscar Valentin Leal Caal and his brother outside the headquarters of the legislator's current party, the populist Democratic Freedom Revival.

Leal Caal's bodyguard was wounded by the gunmen, who abandoned their motorcycle nearby, chief investigator Fernando Gomez said.

Retired general Otto Perez Molina is being sworn in as president Saturday and he told the newspaper Prensa Libre that Leal had been receiving death threats since beginning discussions about joining Perez's conservative Patriotic Party.

Perez has pledged to crack down on organized crime and Mexican drug cartels.

Outgoing President Alvaro Colom said there was no immediate evidence the crime was linked to congressional affairs or Perez's inauguration.

By Salon Staff

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