by Phil Miller
A WREATH was laid yesterday to commemorate the anniversary of the murder of a Guatemalan rebel, as new evidence reveals British soliders failed to protect him.
Pedro Barrera was assassinated on June 5 1983 by Guatemalan government gunmen after fleeing to Belize.
Last week it was revealed by Vice News that Mr Barrera was in the custody of British soldiers less than two months before his murder.
The troops failed to protect him however and allowed him to be returned to Guatemala, where he was arrested and put within reach of his killers.
The memorial service outside the Belize High Commission highlighted British collusion with the Montt regime and how British negligence contributed to Mr Barrera’s murder.
Mr Barrera was part of a left-wing rebel group opposed to the Guatemalan regime, until he fell under the control of the Guatemalan military and was used as an informant.
He was used to try to find a rebel base in Belize.
In April 1983 Guatemala handed Mr Barrera over to Belize police and British soldiers so he could help find the alleged guerilla camp.
Legally he was now acting as an agent for the British Army, which owed him a duty of care.
However on failing to find it, Mr Barrera was returned to Guatemala where he was arrested, remaining in prison until the hours before he was murdered.
In June Mr Barrera left prison and fled to the Belizean border village of Arenal, but was followed by three gunmen toting Israeli-made assault rifles hidden inside sugar sacks.
“Barrera tried to run away and was shot first in the leg and then in the head,” a British telegram on his murder explained.
“The murderers were themselves undoubtedly official agents,” the British High Commissioner in Belize recorded.
The Foreign Office refused to comment.