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Online Guatemalan newspaper publishes Wikileaks cables about presidential candidate

Plaza Pública, a Guatemalan online newspaper, published U.S. State Department cables obtained from Wikileaks regarding presidential candidate Otto Pérez Molina.

The first of the cables were published on Aug. 17, 2011, and originated from a Sept. 18, 2007, breakfast between the presidential candidate, vice presidential candidate Roxana Baldetti and the current U.S. Ambassador James Derham in the ambassador's home. The candidates spoke with the ambassador about campaign finance, alliances with the Guatemalan elite, accusations of corruption in the military, and possible plans to run for public office, according to Plaza Pública.

Pérez Molina denied accusations of human rights abuses during his military career and assured that his campaign does not have ties to the Mendoza family, accused of drug trafficking, but he did claim to have evidence connecting current President Álvaro Colom with the Mendozas.

Local surveys place Pérez Molina as the presidential front runner with almost 40 percent of the votes leading up to the first round of elections on Sept. 11, and the second round on Nov. 6, reported the newspaper El Mundo de España.

Pérez Molina has refused to release information about his campaign's finances but he did discuss them with the U.S. ambassador, according to the cables. Pérez Molina accepted money from the Castillo, Novella, Herrera, and Dionisio Gutiérrez families, the four richest in Guatemala and owners of the Central American country's four largest industries.

Journalist Martín Rodrígues Pellecer wrote about how he accessed the nearly one thousand Wikileaks cables that originated from the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala.

Plaza Pública promised to published approximately one thousand of the Wikileaks cables through weekly reports, interviews and analysis. The cables were written at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala between 2003 and 2007.

Headquartered in London, Wikileaks is an organization of journalists, activists and computer programmers who successfully released 250,000 State Department cables.

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