Guatemala police chief resigns amid crime wave
GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) -- The head of Guatemala's embattled National
Civilian Police (PNC) resigned amid complaints the fledgling force has failed to
bring down snowballing crime rates.
"I've decided to hand things over to Interior Minister Byron Barrientos
so that he
can name a replacement," PNC chief Rudio Lecsan said on national television on
Lecsan said he was stepping down for health reasons. But his departure
amid an increase in bank robberies and attacks on armored security vehicles.
An election promise to combat violent crime helped rocket President Alfonso
Portillo to power in January 2000.
The perceived failure by his government to control crime is among factors
have eroded Portillo's popularity during his first 15 months in power.
Handing over crime-fighting responsibilities to a civilian police force
of the armed forces was a condition of peace accords signed by the government
and leftist guerrillas in 1996 to end a bloody 36-year civil war.
Copyright 2001 Reuters.