Óscar Berger

Óscar José Rafael Berger Perdomo (Spanish pronunciation: ['oskaɾ xo'se rafa'el beɾ'ʃe peɾ'domo]; born 11 August 1946) is a Guatemalan politician who served as the President of Guatemala from 2004 to 2008.

Óscar Berger
Oscar Berger 2005 (cropped).jpg
34th President of Guatemala
In office
14 January 2004 – 14 January 2008
Vice PresidentEduardo Stein
Preceded byAlfonso Portillo
Succeeded byÁlvaro Colom
Personal details
Born (1946-08-11) 11 August 1946 (age 75)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Political partyIndependent (since 2003)
Other political
National Advancement Party (until 2003)
Grand National Alliance (2003–2005)
Spouse(s)Wendy Widmann

Early years and familyEdit

Berger was born to an upper-class family with large sugar and coffee holdings. His paternal grandparents were Belgian immigrants.[1] He graduated in law from the private, Jesuit Rafael Landívar University.[2] In 1967 he married Wendy Widmann, also from a land-owning Guatemalan family. He had a son after and has a grandchild named Juan Pablo Berger.

Political careerEdit

In 1985, he joined Álvaro Arzú's successful campaign to become mayor of Guatemala City. From January 1991 to June 1999, he was mayor himself. After leaving office, he ran in the 1999 presidential election as the candidate of the National Advancement Party, but lost to Alfonso Portillo.

A representative of the industrial and land oligarchy that financed his electoral campaign,[3] he was elected with 54.13% of the vote in the presidential election of December 2003, ahead of his rival from the centre-left, Alvaro Colom. Only 46% of those registered on the electoral rolls took part in the vote.[4][5]

It works for national reconciliation following the civil war that bled the country until 1996. In this sense, he undertook a reform of the army, recognized the responsibility of the state for war crimes, accepted the creation of an International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig) under a UN mandate, and appointed Rigoberta Menchu, a figure of the pacifist and indigenous movement, as special ambassador to the presidency. Most of the members of his government, however, are from the oligarchy.[6]

He supports the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) signed with the United States. He pursued a repressive policy towards the peasant movement. It is in this context that the massacre of Nueva Linda took place in August 2004, in which nine peasants were killed by the police. A Cicig report published in 2010 accused the government of Óscar Berger of carrying out "social cleansing" operations and ordering extrajudicial executions. Philip Alston, rapporteur to the United Nations, had already, in 2007, denounced social cleansing operations involving the Guatemalan government.[7]

During Hurricane Stan in 2005, which killed more than a thousand people in Guatemala, he declared: "It's not so bad, poor people are used to living like this.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Óscar Berger Perdomo, Centro De Estudios Internacionales De Barcelona. (accessed January 20, 2010)
  2. ^ Óscar Berger Perdomo, Centro De Estudios Internacionales De Barcelona. (accessed January 20, 2010)
  3. ^ "Guatemala: Le conservateur Oscar Berger élu président".
  4. ^ > Guatemala general beaten in poll, BBC coverage. (accessed January 20, 2010)
  5. ^ Orlandi, Lorraine. Businessman says beats ex-dictator in Guatemala vote, Alertnet.com (accessed January 20, 2010)
  6. ^ "Arrestation du " viking " guatémaltèque". 9 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Arrestation du " viking " guatémaltèque". 9 October 2012.
  8. ^ "La tempête Agatha dévaste le Guatemala". 17 June 2010.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by President of Guatemala
Succeeded by