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
President Morales’ son and brother arrested 18 Jan, accused of participation in 2013 fraud in National Registry of Property (NRP). Morales 18 Jan said he supports his family members but will respect due process; commentators praised uncompromising attitude of Public Ministry and International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in pursuing campaign against corruption. President Morales presented his first yearly report to Congress 14 Jan, trumpeting reduction in murder rates and increases in tax revenues. New governing board installed in Congress 14 Jan amid doubts over whether it is committed to fight against corruption. Interior minister 29 Dec announced phased reduction and elimination by end-2017 of military involvement in security patrols; curtailing role of military in civilian policing activities is part of conditions set by U.S. Congress to approve disbursal of funds from Northern Triangle aid package aimed at stemming flow of migrants to U.S.
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