Guatemala: Corruption that remains and spreads

Guatemala: Corruption that remains and spreads

Guatemala, today the scene of demonstrations against corruption, has for years been the scene of related scandals as well as ongoing human rights violations, which President Alejandro Giammattei, as the originator, does not escape with almost 15% approval in really trustworthy polls, which is not usual in our America.

The protests have drawn together students, indigenous people and members of community organizations who have opposed the practices of an obstinate president, including a documented complaint that he used his influence in the recent election of the rector of the only university state of the country.

“They are protesting the corruption and impunity that continue to drive the Giannetti government and the corrupt pact,” said Daniel Pascual, chairman of the Peasant Unity Committee, one of the organizations that called for the march, which dozens of police officers had the command to take if necessary to use firearms.

The protest also condemned a campaign to criminalize opponents, such as Tuesday’s indictment of alleged money laundering by journalist José Rubén Zamora, head of newspaper El Periódico, a media outlet that has published information about corrupt acts by Giammattei and the Attorney General, Consuelo Porras.

The conservative president has been accused of creating a climate of corruption with Porras, sanctioned last year by the United States, which put her on a list of “corrupt and undemocratic” people, or the Engels list.

The sanction came after Porras fired Juan Francisco Sandoval, head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity, who suspected Giannetti of possibly bribing four businessmen to operate a port in the Caribbean.

“Those who do not fight corruption support it,” said a banner at the march, which also called for the high cost of living due to the rise in the price of food and medicine, among other basic products, in addition to neglecting poverty alleviation and neglecting sectors like health and education.

Last July, in an interview with AFP, the ombudsman, Jordán Rodas, said that Guatemala is going through one of its worst moments of corruption as it is ruled by an authoritarian regime, with co-opted institutions and the prosecution of prosecutors and judges who initiate investigations into mafia . . .

NO SECRET

It’s no secret that drug trafficking and international organized crime have already infiltrated Guatemalan institutions, and Congress is no exception.

The main leaders of the strongest or most representative parties are singled out in various corruption cases or are linked to drug trafficking networks. Sandra Torres, presidential candidate in the last National Unity of Hope (UNE) elections, has been accused of illegal election financing in a corruption case.

The UNE is the very political party that enabled the highly corrupt Gustavo Alejas to fill the post of Presidential Secretary, and the Parallel Commissions 2020 investigation found that several of the current MPs were collaborating with him. On the other hand, the top leader of the Unión del Cambio Nacional (UCN) party, which is the third force in Congress and was also the 2018 presidential candidate, was convicted in the United States of drug trafficking.

If the Constitutional Court recognizes that the electoral model is “exhausted,” then it will not be possible for Congress to correct the mistakes made in the process. In the phase before the nomination committees, there are sufficient indications of interference from various sectors. The payroll integration has been rigged from the start and the fact that a candidate is not involved in a criminal proceeding does not ensure his or her suitability or integrity, nor does it imply that he or she has the necessary skills to be a judge. The parameters set by the court are not sufficient to ensure the ability, suitability and honesty of the candidates.

Criminals must control the judiciary to ensure that Guatemala remains a haven for criminals, with impunity exceeding 90%. To allow Congress to conduct the election of judges in this context without ensuring an objective and thorough evaluation of the candidates is tantamount to condemning the country to be a state without justice, a utter failed state in which the law is in the land remains hands of criminal groups.

This endangers peace and risks reverting to the era when Guatemala was the scene of constant massacres, in which the army drowned the insurgency in blood, destroyed villages and murdered all their inhabitants, including children and women, and elderly people.