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Legalization gains support in Central America (PHOTOS)

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan President Otto Perez has re-invigorated the drug debate by suggesting the trade should be legalized in Central America.

Peace Corps scales back its efforts in Central America

Due to increased drug-related violence, the Peace Corps will withdraw its volunteers in Honduras and scale back its efforts in Guatemala and El Salvador.

US syphilis experiment in Guatemala created more victims

A Guatemala investigation found more victims than before, and a handful of survivors
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Guatemala President Alvaro Colom said he wants the six known survivors to be compensated. (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A US syphilis experiment in Guatemala, in which prisoners, mental patients and others were deliberately infected with the disease, affected more victims than previously thought. 

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Can the "Iron Fist" end the drug war?

A former general is set to win Guatemala's runoff election on Sunday
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Perez stumps for votes. (ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Former General Otto Perez Molina is expected to win Guatemala’s presidential runoff on Sunday on a platform that promises a tough stance on drug cartels.

The drug war has come to Guatemala, heightening insecurity and violence as powerful Mexican cartels vie for control of the country’s drug-smuggling routes. The vast majority of murders go unsolved in the country, and people want a return to stability.

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Guatemala: runoff for "Iron Fist"

Drug-transit hub Guatemala will have a Nov. election runoff
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Voters wait to cast their ballots amid tight security in this violence-prone state. (Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images)

It looks like a runoff for Guatemala.

Presidential elections were held Sunday in Guatemala after a campaign in which candidates vowed to protect their citizens from the high rate of gang and drug violence.

Otto Perez Molina, a retired army general, leads in the polls with 37 percent. To win outright, he would have had to win a majority of the votes.
The runoff will be held Nov. 6. He’ll face Manuel Baldizon, who won 23 percent of the vote. (There is no incumbent — Guatemalan law allows presidents to serve a single, four-year term.)  

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Should kidnapped girl go home?

Child snatched in Guatemala was adopted in US
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Many Guatemalan mothers say their children were snatched away, only to be put up for adoption in the U.S. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

A little six-year-old girl has been caught up in an international adoption case.

Her mother claims the girl was kidnapped near their home in Guatemala several years ago, according to an interview she gave the Guardian.

After the woman and her husband searched all over town, a local human-rights group finally found the girl on a roster of children available for adoption in the U.S.

They were too late to intervene. The child had already been legally adopted by a couple from Kansas City, Mo.

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Guatemalans deliberately infected with syphilis by US researchers

Of the about 5,500 Guatemalans involved in the research, some 1,300 were infected with a sexually transmitted disease, the commission found. Of those, about 700 received treatment.

US concludes inquiry into Guatemalan abuses

No word yet on whether surviving patients or their relatives will be compensated.
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U.S. researchers used inmates in experiments. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
The U.S. has finished its investigation of an abusive research experiment on Guatemalan prisoners in the 1940s.
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Right-wing general poised to win Guatemalan presidency

With the former first lady out of the picture, ex-general Otto Perez holds a commanding lead.
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Electoral billboards advertise various political parties in Guatemala City on Aug. 7, 2011. (Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images)

Former general Otto Perez looks poised to become Guatemala's next president, but may not win outright in the first round, according to a poll released today by local press.

It was the first poll conducted since his closest rival, former First Lady Sandra Torres, was officially banned from running. 

Torres divorced her husband, President Alvaro Colom, to try to circumvent a provision that prohibits spouses or relatives of the outgoing leader from running for the presidency. But the Constitutional Court struck down her candidacy.

Perez now leads with almost 40 percent of the votes, followed by businessman Manuel Baldizon with 18.5 percent and academic Eduardo Suger with 11.3 percent.

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