On Friday, August 31st, President Jimmy Morales announced at a press conference, surrounded by military and police officers, that he would not be renewing the mandate of the CICIG, the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala. Hours earlier, an intimidating military presence was reported outside of the CICIG offices. As you may recall, last year Morales unsuccessfully tried to oust the CICIG Commissioner Ivan Velasquez from the country.
CICIG has played an instrumental role in supporting the Attorney General’s office in struggles against corruption and impunity in the country, including the La Linea customs fraud case which led to the arrest of former President Otto Perez Molina and VP Roxanna Baldetti, among others in the government. More recently, the Attorney General’s office has sought to investigate Morales and his party (FCN, National Convergence Front in English) for illicit campaign financing, though they have been blocked by Morales’ presidential immunity. Last week, Guatemala’s Supreme Court once again allowed a request brought by the Attorney General’s office andCICIG to strip Morales of his immunity to go to Congress for consideration.
Guatemalans have been out demonstrating their support of CICIG and disagreement with Morales’ announcement. BTS Guatemala Coordinator Lisa Rankin shares coverage of Friday’s protest at Central Park, Guatemala City on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us there for updates! Also, here’s an article from the CBC: Guatemala president won’t renew UN anti-corruption commission investigating him.
BTS has signed the statement below by Canadian individuals and organizations in support of the CICIG’s work:
CANADIANS SUPPORT CICIG’S WORK AGAINST CORRUPTION AND IMPUNITY
The undersigned Guatemalans, Canadians and organizations that have closely followed and supported the struggle against corruption and impunity in Guatemala, and observed the impact of the work of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has performed, want to express our:
1) Recognition and support to the valuable work that the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has carried out during its mandate. To name a few: dismantling La Linea, a criminal structure organized by former Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina, former Vice-President Roxana Baldetti and others, and prosecuting them for crimes of corruption, and more recently, presenting a legal case against the Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales for illegal financing of his political party FCN during the last elections.
2) Rejection of the decision by the Guatemalan Government and Guatemalan Army not to renew the CICIG mandate, without considering the opinion of the Guatemalan people and the international community.
3) Indignation against the Morales’ government measures designed to block the CIGIG’s work such as the removal of well trained National Civilian Police top commanders, and the firing /removing key people from the Historic National Police Archives, and confiscating the National Police archives, transferring it to the Ministry of Culture.
4) Condemnation of the intimidation that CICIG is receiving after the Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced his decision not to renew CICIG’s mandate.
Therefore we demand that the Guatemalan Government:
1) Stop the intimidation against CICIG members.
2) Guarantee the safety of the CICIG’s personnel, especially for the CICIG’s Commissioner Ivan Velasquez Gomez.
3) Renew the CICIG’s mandate.
4) Stop the intimidation and persecution of human rights defenders and organizations standing against corruption and impunity in Guatemala.
Canada, September 02, 2018.
ALL FOR GUATEMALA / TODOS POR GUATEMALA, CANADA
AMANDLA CKUT RADIO PROGRAM CANADA
BTS MARITIMES-GUATEMALA BREAKING THE SILENCE NETWORK
ELDERS FOR ENVIROMENTAL JUSTICE CANADA
GUATEMALA COMMUNITY NETWORK, TORONTO
LATIN AMERICAN CANADIAN SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION, LONDON ON
OWL ELDERS FEMENIST CKUT RADIO PROGRAM CANADA
TZIJOLAJ GUATEMALA CANADA
WATERLOO REGION MAYAN PROJECT
WATERLOO REGION GUATEMALAN GROUP
Anne Schlenker, Montreal, Canada
Brisna Caxaj-Rowe, Montreal, Canada
David Kettle, Owen Sound, Canada
Douglas Miller, Montreal, Canada
Estephani Bautista, Montreal, Canada
Fraser Tumer, Shediac Bridge, Canada
Gerald Ernest Rowe, Montreal, Canada
Jackie McVicar, Tatamagouche, Canada
John MacPhail, Upper Rawdon, Nova Scotia, Canada
Julio Ceren, Toronto, Canada
Kathryn Anderson, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, Canada
Kristine Johnston, PEI, Canada
Larry Towell, Bothwell, Ontario, Canada
Leo Cheverie, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
Marcela Bautista, Gatineau, Canada
Marcella Braggio, Montreal, Canada
Mary Ellen Davis, Montreal, Canada
Marie-France Arismendi, London ON
Nery Espinoza, Toronto, ON
Robert McBryde, Montreal, Canada
Rose Marie Whalley, Montreal, Canada
Ruth Innis, Cable Head East, PIE, Canada
Sandra Hernández, Ottawa, Canada
Sarah Armstrong, Antigonish NS
Tito Medina, Ottawa, Canada
Wilf Bean, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, Canada