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.
Campaign chaos sows disillusion ahead of Guatemala vote
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — The road to Sunday's presidential election in Guatemala has been a chaotic flurry of court rulings and shenanigans, illegal party-switching and allegations of malfeasance that torpedoed the candidacies of two of the top three candidates.
Observers say the result is widespread disillusion and distrust in the electoral process in this small Central American country that has seen hundreds of thousands flee poverty and gang violence in recent years in a bid for a new life in the United States.
Polls favor former first lady Sandra Torres of the National Unity and Hope party to finish first, but with 19 candidates in the race it is unlikely she will win the absolute majority necessary to avoid a runoff.
Torres, 64, is a businesswoman who was seen as influencing decision-making during the 2008-2012 government of her then-husband, Álvaro Colom. She served as coordinator of the Council on Social Cohesion, an entity that was replaced by the Ministry of Social Development under Colom's successor.
Thelma Cabrera: indigenous, female and shaking up Guatemala's election
The campesino leader is running for president in a country whose indigenous majority is chronically overlooked – and she has a chance of making the runoff
An indigenous campesino woman who pledges to root out racism is hoping to cause a historic upset in Guatemala’s elections on Sunday, amid simmering voter anger over political corruption.
Thelma Cabrera Pérez, 49, has unexpectedly risen in presidential polls after a frenetic campaign across Guatemala’s rural heartlands where organised crime and agriculture magnates have controlled land and politics since the 36-year civil war ended in 1996.
Cabrera, a Maya Mam indigenous rights defender, is currently polling fifth in a crowded field of 20 candidates, but Guatemalan polls are notoriously weighted towards urban areas, and analysts believe she has a serious chance of getting through to a runoff vote in August.
Win or lose, her political ascent marks a historic achievement at a time when trust in the country’s status quo is at rock bottom.
About 60% of the Guatemalan population is indigenous, but Cabrera is only the second indigenous person to run for president after the Nobel Peace prize winner Rigoberta Menchu.
Guatemala’s migrant pact with the U.S. threatens to unleash a political crisis
MEXICO CITY — In pressuring Guatemala to accept a deal to absorb vast numbers of asylum seekers, the Trump administration has embarked on a dramatic and risky strategy to slash the number of Central Americans flooding the U.S. border.
The accord — which was negotiated in secret and signed at the White House on Friday — could plunge Guatemala’s young democracy into a constitutional crisis, analysts warn. It could also saddle one of the hemisphere’s poorest countries with tens of thousands of Salvadoran and Honduran migrants who would be barred from making their claims in the United States.
The agreement is one of the boldest steps yet taken by President Trump to stanch the flow of migrants to the U.S. border. It aims to close off the U.S. asylum system to the migrants who have crossed through Guatemala en route to the United States. They would instead have to seek protection in Guatemala.
But the agreement is built on a fragile political and legal base. The Guatemalan Constitutional Court ruled earlier this month that President Jimmy Morales needed approval from the Guatemalan Congress to sign the accord, something he has not received. Morales has sharply criticized the court decision, saying Friday that “as far as we understand, this doesn’t have to go before Congress.”
I have a feeling that the unspoken plan behind this is for Guatemala to close/aggressively patrol its borders, not to let them in and claim asylum. Wouldn't be a bit surprised if there was an offer under the table by the US to provide funds for such an effort, too.
I've heard this bull before.
Only "Washington" thinks that everyone uses the regular border crossing points. The migrants that intend to reach the US will use the paths that are not supervised and patrolled by guards.DejaMoo wrote: ↑Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:38 pmI have a feeling that the unspoken plan behind this is for Guatemala to close/aggressively patrol its borders, not to let them in and claim asylum. Wouldn't be a bit surprised if there was an offer under the table by the US to provide funds for such an effort, too.
Adding:Guatemala's next leader wants to alter immigration deal with U.S.
Guatemala City -- Conservative Alejandro Giammattei headed for an easy victory in Sunday's presidential runoff election, garnering Guatemalan voters' favor with his get-tough approach on crime and socially conservative values. With about 98% of polling places reporting, the country's Supreme Electoral Council said late Sunday that Giammattei had about 58% of votes, compared to about 42% for former first lady Sandra Torres.
Turnout appeared to have been low, suggesting widespread disillusionment with the political status quo in a nation beset by corruption, poverty, unemployment and migration issues.
Running for the conservative Vamos party, Giammattei was making his fourth bid for the presidency. The 63-year-old doctor, who uses crutches because he has multiple sclerosis, stridently opposes gay marriage and abortion and endorses family values and the death penalty. ...
About 8 million Guatemalans are registered voters, but turnout might have fallen to as low as 45% amid widespread disappointment with the administration of outgoing President Jimmy Morales. ...
On July 6, Morales' administration signed an agreement with the U.S. that would require Salvadorans and Hondurans to request asylum in Guatemala if they cross through the country to reach the U.S.
Giammattei will have to decide whether to nullify, honor or seek changes in the deal, which could potentially ease the crush of migrants arriving at the U.S. border. He told the Reuters news service he hopes to amend it.
Newsweek: Who is Alejandro Giammattei? Guatemala Elects Right-wing President Who Vowed to Build a 'Wall' to Stop Migration to U.S.
The Guardian: Guatemala elects hardline president who opposes Trump immigration deal