A year after the election of would-be reformer Jimmy Morales as president, corruption investigations are casting a shadow over his inner circle. Recent appointments bring youth and oxygen to his faltering administration, but much still stands in the way of political renewal.
Originally published in Miami Herald
Three-pronged institutional crisis affecting judiciary, legislature and executive resulting from corruption scandals continued, together with heightened tensions between conservatives partially opposing constitutional reforms and activists in favour. Congress late Feb discussed proposals to reform constitution in five respects, including official recognition of indigenous legal systems and separation of administrative from judicial functions of Supreme Court; reforms would significantly bolster judiciary’s independence from political authorities. Critics of reforms decried international meddling in internal affairs, called for expulsion of International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) Commissioner Iván Velásquez, who 11 Feb complained about absence of “official voices” condemning attacks against CICIG. VP Cabrera 14 Feb attributed Jan increase in homicides and series of brutal acts of violence to destabilisation scheme against govt.
Dramatic changes upended Guatemalan politics in 2015. Forcing the pace were international prosecutors, bolstered in their fight against corruption and impunity by a great wave of support from ordinary citizens. If Guatemala’s national reforms continue when outside help leaves, it can become a true role model for the region.
Ending bloodshed in this neglected border region requires more than task forces: credible institutions, access to state services and continuing security are also needed.
Ensuring a prompt and fair retrial of former dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt is crucial to finally bringing justice to victims of the armed conflict and to reconciling a fragile democracy with its citizens.
The killing of protestors last October was a tragedy foretold by those who have long warned against Guatemala’s use of the armed forces to maintain domestic peace.
To stem the violence that kills thousands of Guatemalans each year, the government must find the resources and will to carry out long-stalled reforms of the national police.
The bloody eruption of the Mexican Zetas cartel into its territory is the latest chapter in a vicious cycle of repeated government failures, massive corruption and criminal violence that threatens the frail democracy of Guatemala, the gateway for most of the drugs reaching the U.S. from Mexico.
Originally published in Los Angeles Times
Originally published in Semana
Originally published in esglobal