(Herald Tribune) - A 22-year-old Costa Rican motocross racer was murdered on a highway in Guatemala a few hours after he won the first stage of the National Motocross Championship and his two companions were wounded, police said Sunday.
Oscar Diaz’s vehicle was attacked for unknown reasons, the National Civilian Police, or PNC, said.
The two men accompanying him, Lewis Boniel, a 20-year-old Costa Rican driver, and Carlos Zuñiga, a 30-year-old Guatemalan mechanic, were wounded.
The attack occurred near San Lucas Sacatepequez, a city in southwest Guatemala, as the three men were returning to Guatemala City from the Entre Volcanes track in Alotenango.
Diaz, who belonged to Team Green, was competing in Guatemala for the first time, making his debut in the 6th National Motocross Championship with a win in the first stage.
The National Motocross Federation said it was suspending the second stage of the competition, which was to be run on Sunday, in light of Diaz’s murder.
Arturo Ocham, a federation spokesman, condemned the racer’s murder.
Guatemala has been plagued by a crime wave that has driven the murder rate up to around 17 a day.
The more than 5,400 homicides reported last year in Guatemala – a nation of approximately 13 million – was nearly equal to the number of murders in neighboring Mexico, which has more than 100 million inhabitants and is the scene of open war among rival drug cartels.