Photo: Santa Cruz Barillas
Two employees of Spanish hydroelectric power company Hidro Santa Cruz were arrested for the murder of a peasant, a crime that sparked disturbances and the declaration of a state of siege for 18 days in the Indian town of Santa Cruz Barillas in western Guatemala.
Ricardo Garcia Lopez and Oscar Armando Ortiz Solares, both Guatemalans, were arrested for the killing, the Attorney General’s Office said.
Garcia was arrested in San Juan Sacatepequez, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Guatemala City, and Ortiz in the capital, the AG’s office said.
Both workers for Hidro Santa Cruz, a subsidiary of Spain’s Hidralia Energia S.A., stand accused of being responsible for the murder of Andres Pedro Miguel on May 1.
Hidralia Energia S.A. is building a hydroelectric power plant in Santa Cruz Barillas, which is located 415 kilometers (257 miles) northwest of Guatemala City.
Guatemalans Pablo Antonio Pablo and Esteban Bernabe Mateo also were injured in the incident, which occurred in the town of Poza Verde.
The victims, residents said, were fired upon by private security agents of Hidro Santa Cruz when they returned to their community from Santa Cruz Barillas.
The reasons for the shooting are unknown, but townspeople say it stemmed from the opposition of local residents to the construction of the power plant.
Miguel’s killing sparked violent disturbances in Santa Cruz Barillas, which forced President Otto Perez Molina’s administration to declare a state of emergency.
The emergency decree was lifted after 18 days when authorities reestablished control in the community, where 17 people were taken into custody for allegedly being responsible for the riots, including the forceful takeover of a military barracks there as well as the destruction of several private homes.