GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemala's president fired his top two military officials Thursday, including Defense Minister Gen. Julio Arnoldo Balconi Turcios, who had taken on hard-liners in the corrupt military.
President Alvaro Arzu appointed Balconi as defense minister when he took office in January 1996, and the appointment was seen as a victory for the pro-peace wing of the military.
The government gave no reason for the firings, but Balconi had been expected to go because of power struggles within the army.
Balconi's command has been characterized by unprecedented purges of hard-liners opposed to the peace process.
He had begun to oversee the reduction of the military in accordance with commitments in a peace treaty signed in December.