Carlos Enrique Castillo Medrano, the mayor of the Eastern Guatemalan town of Jutiapa, was gunned down and killed yesterday as he waited to have his haircut at a local barber shot.
Witnesses say that Medrano, 39, was shot several times by two unidentifiable gunmen on a motorbike.
The killing came the same day that the president of the Central American country, Otto Perez Molina, gave his state-of-the-nation address during which he claimed that Guatemala had seen “a historic decline in violence”. He said that murders have decreased by around 10%.
“We have had 526 fewer homicides in 2012 than in the previous year,” declared President Molina.
In recent years, United Nations statistics have revealed Guatemala to have one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world. Like other Central American countries, Guatemala has suffered from drug gang-related violence, and this is considered the primary reason for the high murder rate.
Medrano’s brother, Manuel de Jesus Castillo, is serving a prison sentence in relation to the 2007 murder of three political representatives from neighbouring El Salvador. Castillo was a former congressman who was accused of ties to the drug gangs.