Report: Guatemala ‘’Captured’’ by Corruption

Guatemala is ’’captured’’ by corruption, says a report the UN Commission compiled after a 12 years-long presence in the country that ends soon since President Jimmy Morales has refused to extend its mandate.

signal-2019-08-29-165504The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, (Photo by: CICIG Guatemala, @CICIGgt) The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) published a report on Wednesday, claiming there was a ’’mafia coalition’’ among government members and private individuals who are “willing to sacrifice Guatemala’s present and future to guarantee impunity and preserve the status quo.”

 The “Legacy of Justice in Guatemala’’ report describes the actions the body has undertaken to help legal reforms and recommend public policies.

 Backed by the Public Ministry between 2008 and 2019 more than 1,540 people have been probed in CICIG cases. Thanks to these joint investigations, 660 people and more than 120 high-impact cases were prosecuted. 

 Investigations further revealed more than 70 highly complex criminal structures with significant economic, political and media power. Some of these people are former presidents, former vice-president, ministers, deputies, drug traffickers and mayors, the report says. 

 It also states that a number of companies built their empires thanks to monopolies, using their political ties to protect themselves.

 Commissioner Iván Velásquez Gómez pointed out that investigations exposed the corruption in the health system, customs, penitentiary system, and in the executive, legislative and judicial bodies, but added that he believes in the ability of Guatemalans to overcome these times of adversity. 

 Velásquez was barred from entering Guatemala last year, after the body opened an investigation on President Morales, some of his family members and associates.

“The CICIG has put at risk the security of the nation, public order, governance, respect for human rights, but above all the sovereignty of the state of Guatemala, " Morales said.

He also accused the CICIG of illegal actions and of violating human rights and refused to extend the contract with the body. Critics saw that as the President’s method to protect himself and those close to him.  

 The United Nations established the CICIG after the government of Guatemala asked for assistance. As an independent body, CICIG investigated illegal security groups and criminal groups believed to have infiltrated state institutions, fostering impunity and undermining democratic gains in Guatemala since the end of the country's armed conflict in the 1990s.