Protesters Demand Guatemalan President Step Down

Published: 08 November 2017

Jimmy Morales abril de 2016 copy

President Jimmy Morales (Photo: Presidencia de El Salvador, CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Tessine Murji

Hundreds of Guatemalans took to the streets Tuesday, demanding president Jimmy Morales who has been accused of corruption steps down from office, the AFP reported.

Guatemalans have been protesting Morales' involvement in numerous corruption scandals for a while. The protesters primarily come from rural areas and belong to Guatemala's indigenous communities. According to authorities, they blocked main roads in at least seven different locations.

Morales, a former comedian and Guatemalan president since 2016, was accused by the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) of secretly receiving US$ 825,000 for his 2015 campaign.

In response, Morales tried to expel the head of the UN-backed Commission, Ivan Velasquez, from the country.

While Morales publicly stood in solidarity with Velasquez and the CICIG during his presidential campaign, he immediately rescinded his allegiance toward the organization once it started building a corruption case against him.

After threatening Morales with impeachment, the CICIG started building another corruption case against Morales' son and brother. The CICIG's decision to persistently investigate the Morales family and their monetary involvements is what led Morales to call for Velasquez' expulsion from the country.

Velasquez “meddled in domestic affairs that are the sole responsibility of the Guatemalan state," Morales said in defense of his decision to declare Velasquez a "persona non grata" in Guatemala, according to the BBC.

The CICIG was established after ex-president Otto Perez Molina and ex-vice president Roxana Baldelti were caught in a high-profile corruption scandal in 2015.