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The funeral for Elvin Mazariegos was held Wednesday in Tacaná. The funeral for Elvin Mazariegos was held Wednesday in Tacaná. rafael arreaga

Army offers 1 million pesos to family of slain Guatemalan

But the family wants monthly maintenance payments

The army has offered 1 million pesos (US $48,900) in compensation to the family of a Guatemalan man who was shot dead by a Mexican soldier on a remote stretch of Mexico’s southern border on Monday, according to the victim’s sister.

Elvin Mazariegos, 30, was killed in the Chiapas municipality of Motozintla by a soldier who opened fire on a car in which he was traveling with two other people.

According to Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval, the soldier shot at the vehicle as it tried to escape in reverse from a military checkpoint. He said the decision to shoot was an “erroneous reaction” because the military personnel hadn’t come under attack.

Olga Mazariegos told the newspaper Reforma that the Mexican army had offered a single 1-million-peso payment to her brother’s family. But the family is also demanding monthly maintenance payments for Mazariego’s daughters, aged 9 and 5, and 2-year-old son, she said.

In a telephone interview with Reforma, Olga Mazariegos said the family is demanding monthly payments for each of the children at least until they turn 18. She said their father was the sole income earner in his family.

“What we want is monthly maintenance, but they say that they’ll only give [a single payment of] approximately half a million quetzales,” Mazariegos said.

(At today’s exchange rate, 1 million pesos is in fact 377,300 quetzales).

The slain man’s sister said the army’s proposed payment will be insufficient for the man’s widow to maintain her family.

“She’s left alone with her three children; what happened to my brother is not fair,” she said, adding that it was insulting for the army to say that his life was worth 1 million pesos.

Mazariegos said her brother traveled to Mexico frequently in his job as a truck driver, adding that he also regularly crossed the border to go shopping. However, when he was killed he was just going for a drive in his boss’s car, she said.

His body has been returned to Guatemala after undergoing an autopsy in Chiapas – authorities in the southern state said he had been shot in the neck and chest – but as of Tuesday night he hadn’t been buried.

Mazariegos said that the family hasn’t received any financial assistance from authorities in Guatemala but locals in Tacaná have provided monetary support.

The solider who shot Elvin Mazariegos was turned over to the federal Attorney General’s Office, Sandoval said Tuesday. Fifteen other soldiers deployed to the southern border in Chiapas were detained on Monday by a group of about 300 angry border residents including Guatemalans.

Nine soldiers were released about three hours after they were detained, Sandoval said, while the others were set free in the early hours of Tuesday morning after Mexican officials reached a deal with the civilians to provide them with “economic reparation” for the killing. The army chief didn’t reveal how much money was paid to the angry mob.

The killing of Mazariegos came just two days after the death of a Salvadoran woman who was violently pinned to the ground while she was being arrested by municipal police in Tulum, Quintana Roo.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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