A political row has broken out over the Guatemalan Ambassador to Italy, General Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes.
1. CU INTERIOR "Solidarity" Committee member (face hidden in wrapped scarf) speaking (ENGLISH SOT) 0.19
2. SV INTERIOR People signing petition against Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes 0.30
3. GVs People at hearing watching film of Lopez Fuentes (3 shots) 0.44
4. SV Black and white photograph showing Lopez Fuentes (on right of picture wearing glasses) President of Guatemala General Mejia Victores (in centre of picture with moustache) next to president is general Rios Montt 0.49
5. CU Black and white photograph of Lopez Fuentes 0.56
6. CUs Lopez Fuentes, Guatemalan ambassador to Italy, speaking to Visnews reporter (2 shots) (ENGLISH SOT) 2.20
SOLIDARITY SPOKESMAN: (SEQ. ONE): "It was the (indistinct) largest number of missing people in the world. Thirty thousand people disappeared when Lopez Fuentes held the CIS military appointments in Guatemala. since 1979, forty-eight thousand people have disappeared."
LOPEZ FUENTES: (SEQ. SIX): "What this"Committee of Solidarity" says is not true. I would like, if there's any chance, to talk with these people. They are anonymous. They are claiming something, I think, that never happened. And I am not responsible for these things. I have not given orders for doing anything. I am professional man for the army and (indistinct) can be immoral for thinking such things. I would like to tell you, I've been out of Guatemala for eight years and I don't know. I can't be responsible for things I don't know.... really, how can i?"
REPORTER: "But they're saying that this happened between 1979 and 1983 when you were still in Guatemala?"
LOPEZ FUENTES: "Oh yes, but by that time I was in charge of the command in the east part of Guatemala, in the border of Salvador and not in the (indistinct) you have mentioned. Probably it's mistake. These people are not well informed. That's why I would like later to have an interview and make clear the situation."
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Background: ROME, ITALY
A political row has broken out over the Guatemalan Ambassador to Italy, General Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes. The "Italian Committee for Solidarity with the Guatemalan People" claims Lopez Fuentes is responsible for helping to organise death squads, and has collected 10,000 signatures asking for his dismissal as ambassador. Lopez Fuentes was First Assistant Chief of Staff and Later Chief of Staff of the Guatemalan Army during the presidencies of Lucas Garcia and Rios Montt. Under Lucas Garcia, who held office between 1978 and 1982, thirteen thousand five hundred people were officially listed as victims of death squads and the army. Another fifteen thousand people are said to have died during Rios Montt's term office from 1982 to 1983. But Lopez Fuentes has denied any involvement in the killings and has offered to meet his accusers in order to defend his innocence.
Source: REUTERS - ROLANDO FERRARIO