Crisis flares in Guatemala over corruption and organised crime
Guatemala has fallen into deep political crisis after the president declared the United Nations-backed anti-corruption chief investigating him and his party persona non grata, only to have the expulsion order blocked hours later by the country’s constitutional court.
Jimmy Morales, a former comedian who was elected president two years ago after the previous government was toppled by corruption charges, was left fighting for his political survival – and freedom – on Sunday after the failed attempt to oust head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), Iván Velásquez.
Morales announced the expulsion of the respected Colombian prosecutor via a video posted on his Twitter account in the early hours of Sunday morning. He also announced that he was firing the foreign minister for failing to carry out the expulsion, replacing him with an ally who is under investigation for illegal adoptions.
The announcements were made less than 48 hours after Velásquez and Thelma Aldana, the attorney general, asked the court to strip Morales of his political immunity in order to proceed with charges linked to illegal campaign funds allegedly received by his political party the National Convergence Front (FCN) during the 2015 election.
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Democracy is a garden that has to be tended. -Barack Obama
Guatemala sides with Trump over recognition of Jerusalem
Seamus Kearney last updated: 25/12/2017
Israel's PM heaps praise on Guatemala's President, while Palestinians say he is on the 'wrong side of history'
Guatemala is on the 'wrong side of history', say the Palestinians, while Israel heaps praise on the Central American country.
Just weeks after President Trump decided to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, Guatemala has announced it is also moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in English: "God bless you, my friend, President Jimmy Morales."
Then in Hebrew he said: "I told you recently that there will be other countries that would recognise Jerusalem and announce the transfer of their embassies over there.
"Well here is the second country and I reiterate: there will be more, this is only the beginning."
The announcement from President Morales, whose country receives a lot of assistance from the US, came after Trump threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that tried to block its stance.
http://www.euronews.com/2017/12/25/guat ... -jerusalem
'A drastic step backwards': Guatemala considers amnesty for war crimes
Proposal under consideration by congress would free criminals convicted of extrajudicial killings and torture
War criminals convicted of extrajudicial killings, torture and sexual slavery could soon walk free if Guatemalan lawmakers sanction a blanket amnesty for crimes committed during the 36-year armed conflict which left 200,000 people dead or disappeared.
Congress will vote this week to reform the national reconciliation law and give absolute impunity for crimes against humanity including genocide, rape and forced disappearance. The law currently exempts only political crimes and has been regarded as a beacon for postwar justice since coming into force alongside the 1996 peace accords.
The new initiative is backed by former army generals angered by a wave of prosecutions that has resulted in the convictions of at least 33 military officers and militia members since 2008. One former guerrilla leader has also been convicted of human rights abuses.
If approved, all the convicts, and those held on remand awaiting trial would be free within 24 hours; pending trials would be cancelled and ongoing investigations shelved. ...
Amnesty supporters argue that prosecutors have unfairly targeted security forces over leftist guerillas. But 93% of human rights abuses were committed by US-backed government forces, compared with 3% by guerrilla groups, according to the postwar Commission for Historical Clarification.