Guatemala News Update: May 11-15
Posted on May 15, 2015
Guatemala Gets New VP in Wake of Tax Fraud Scandal
On May 14, Alejandro Maldonado was named as Guatemala’s new vice president following the resignation of Roxana Baldetti amid the revelation of a tax fraud scandal. On May 15, Erick Archila, head of Guatemala’s Ministry of Energy and Mines, also resigned due to what he called “political persecution.” Archila was summoned to appear this morning before a congressional commission investigating allegations of corruption against him, but refused to appear.
Meanwhile, citizens have continued to call for the resignation of President Otto Pérez Molina and will move forward with another wave of national protests set for Saturday, May 16.
In Washington, DC, the Mayan League is also organizing people to gather in front of the White House at 10 am in an expression of solidarity with the thousands in Guatemala demanding an end to corruption and impunity.
For the first time in Guatemala’s recent history, these protests are coming not solely from progressive voices, but from a truly diverse cross section of Guatemalan society.
An investigation by Guatemala’s Public Prosecutor’s Office and the U.N.-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) uncovered a “pact of impunity”–an arrangement between powerful sectors to proect their interests, resources, political power and invulnerability to prosecution.
The U.S. is considering a proposed $1 billion aid package for for Central America, aimed at addressing the region’s economic crisis and stemming the flow of Central American refugees to the United States. Many civil society organizations are expressing urgent concerns about this package.
Adapated from Guatemala Human Rights Commission: ghrc.org, and Grupo Cajola newsletter, April. 2015