Movistar Guatemala calls for unity and work to overcome "terrorist" attacks

Movistar de Guatemala, a subsidiary of Spain's Telefónica, is focused on overcoming with unity and work the "terrorist" attacks of which it has been victimized in recent days by a group of extortionists.

Guatemala, Nov 15 (EFE) .- Movistar de Guatemala, a subsidiary of Spain's Telefónica, is focused on overcoming with unity and work the "terrorist" attacks of which it has been a victim during the last few days by a group of extortionists.

The company, which was the target of several simultaneous armed attacks last Friday that left 4 of its workers dead, believes that it is a "terrorist act" and asks that it be taken as such by the authorities, who already conduct investigations and guard the company's activities for security.

Sources of the entity, who prefer to remain anonymous for fear of their integrity, reiterate to Efe that the multinational has had "the accompaniment of the highest authorities of Telefónica" and of "various national and international entities" that have shown solidarity "in the face of this crisis".

The alleged extortionists ask Movistar to pay 100,000 quetzales (13,600 dollars) "of entrance", as well as another 2,000 quetzales (273.2 dollars) for each unit of transport of the 20 that the criminal group had calculated, according to an audio publicly disseminated that a source of the company confirmed as authentic to Efe.

On the same day of the attacks, on Friday, the CEO of Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete López, traveled to Guatemala to know first hand what happened and coordinate the actions to follow.

Álvarez-Pallete "encouraged us all to be very close and dedicated to our usual tasks," they said. the sources consulted by Efe, who added that the CEO of Telefónica told them that "together" they would overcome "this adversity".

That is why he asked them to continue "working with our heads held high for the good of our collaborators, clients and suppliers ".

The attacks and calls of the extortionists took Movistar from Guatemala by surprise, because prior to Friday "we had not received calls of that magnitude or any threat requesting extortion".

As soon as they became aware of the extortion and the shootings, the company He filed a complaint with his "commercial allies" before the authorities, who "have acted under their investigation protocols."

Telefónica's subsidiary in Guatemala assured that "never" has made any type of payment for extortion to any group or any other type of person, and stated that they are "transparent", since compliance areas "obligate" them to be within the parameters of ethics and morals in all countries where they operate.

The company's top priority "has been to preserve the safety of our employees", so which closed operations over the weekend -with the exception of its call center- and gradually opened their service centers last Monday and Tuesday added the sources, which did not want quantify the losses.

For now, Movistar, in solidarity with the victims, is "reinforcing" the security operations, "investing" in it, "especially in the technical part and base radio ", an aspect to which it allocates 7% of its assets, an amount similar to that of other companies according to statistics from the Chamber of Industry of Guatemala (CIG).

According to the CIG, The gangs receive extortions annually of about 295 million quetzales (40.3 million dollars), according to the number of complaints, but if the "unreported" is taken into account, the Income of criminals could amount to 500 million quetzales (68.3 million dollars).

The extortion reporting rate in Guatemala in 2016 was 43.1 per 100,000 inhabitants, that is, 7,125 complaints, 59% in residences, 32% in business, 8% in transportation and the remaining 1% in other sectors, according to the Center for National Economic Research (CIEN) of Guatemala.

Emiliano Castro Sáenz

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