All but one of Guatemala's political parties voiced support for President Vinicio Cerezo after loyalist troops snuffed out an abortive coup attempt by mutinous retired and active military officers.
The only party not to join in a statement condemning Tuesday's abortive coup was the right-wing National Liberation Movement. There was no immediate explanation for the rightists' decision."We extend our ample support to the political institutionalism of the country and to the system of law that must prevail in all democratic nations and to the electoral system as the only way of legitimate change of power," the statement said.
There were no reports of casualties from the early morning coup attempt, and Cerezo appeared before reporters by afternoon to declare the situation was under control. All but two of the mutineers were captured.
"We are satisfied with the way the army behaved during this failed coup d'etat and with international reaction to it," Cerezo said after an emergency Cabinet meeting. "We are sure that the democratic process in Guatemala will now emerge stronger than ever."
Defense Minister Hector Alejandro Gramajo, appearing with Cerezo, said 13 soldiers were responsible for the failed coup and all but two rebellious officers have been captured and were being held at army headquarters, where they will be tried.
"Unfortunately, we must admit that four active army officers took part in the coup attempt. The rest are four officers fired from the army for a similar coup attempt (May 11, 1988) and five others who felt they had been down-scaled," Gramajo said.
Gramajo identified one of the leading mutineers as Navy Capt. Romeo Guevara Reyes, who was recently fired from the post of national police chief by Interior Minister Roberto Valle Valdizan.
The coup attempt apparently began when rebel soldiers seized Radio Nacional de Guatemala at 4 a.m. and repeatedly broadcast only the words, "Attention! Attention! People of Guatemala" until 7 a.m.
Witnesses said rebellious soldiers also surrounded the main police heaquarters and were wearing sky blue bandanas around their necks.