Guatemala: Protests call for president to resign

September 29, 2017
Protesters demand the resignation of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales.

Since September 15, Guatemalans have taken to the streets of the capital, Guatemala City, to demand President Jimmy Morales' resignation.

Morales is being heavily scrutinised for seemingly interfering with a United Nations investigation after he expelled one of the agency's commissioners.

The Central American state has been plagued with misdeeds for the better part of a decade-and-a-half. In 2007, a senior UN official said Guatemala was a "good place to commit a murder, because you will almost certainly get away with it."

That same year the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) was established to investigate crimes perpetrated by government officials.

Recent CICIG investigations accused former President Otto Perez Molina of being a part of a crime syndicate.

Morales, a former comedian, took advantage of the opportunity and launched a successful presidential bid, with the platform "Neither corrupt nor a thief."

But shortly after he took office early last year, he was accused of accepting illegal donations from drug cartels.

Several members of Morales' administration, such as his brother Samuel, his son Jose, his vice minister of foreign affairs, his interior minister, his finance minister and his labour minister have either resigned or been arrested on corruption charges.

Morales went so far as to attempt to expel CICIG Director Ivan Velasquez, but was blocked by the Supreme Court. 

Protesters have also rejected a recent National Assembly decision that made it easier for elected officials to escape punishment for illegally financing elections while reducing prison time for those convicted. 

They are demanding that Guatemala’s electoral laws be reformed to combat government impunity. They are also demanding that National Assembly members who voted in favour of last week's decision step down.

[Compiled from TeleSUR English.]

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