Guatemala’s Establishment Fights Back against UN-Backed Corruption Board

TillersonMorales, cc Flickr U.S. Department of State, modified,


The International Commission Against Impunity for Corruption in Guatemala (or the CICIG) remains locked in a battle of wills with the administration of Guatemala’s sitting president Jimmy Morales and the Guatemalan Congress. The commission and local prosecutors earned widespread international praise and local popularity when they exposed then-President Otto Perez Molina as the head of an organized criminal network, leading to his resignation and subsequent arrest in late 2015. Political neophyte and former comedian Jimmy Morales then became president in 2016 having campaigned on the slogan “neither corrupt nor a thief.” Things did not end there however, with the ‘clean’ successor to President Molina swiftly being accused by investigators of the same kind of corrupt activities as his predecessor. As a result, Morales has become engaged in an increasingly bitter public battle for political survival with the UN-backed hybrid body.



President Morales throwing up roadblocks to the investigation. Following Molina’s fall, the CICIG and local prosecutors’ ongoing investigations quickly led them to President Morales and his family, and last year the president’s brother and son were arrested for fraud. The president himself was investigated for an illicit campaign finance scheme, but the investigation ended in stalemate between the administration and the CICIG, with Morales protected by his presidential immunity and Commission head Ivan Velasquez beating off an attempt to expel him from Guatemala by Morales last August. Now the commission says its investigations are being impeded by the removal of police investigators assigned to work on its caseloads. The 11 police investigators in question were moved from the country’s anti-corruption body by the Guatemalan government, allegedly to help with security during the week before Easter. The CICIG head has said that the aim of their removal was “to affect the investigations” that have thus far netted high-ranking politicians and their relatives according to AP.

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