On Sunday, Guatemalans will head to the polls to elect their next leader in runoff elections. The presidential contest pits former first lady Sandra Torres of the center-left National Unity of Hope (UNE) against former prisons director Alejandro Giammattei of the right-wing Vamos party. How might either choice affect the struggles against violence, corruption and underdevelopment in this Central American country, which is currently the single largest source of migrants attempting to enter the United States? And could the electoral outcome affect a recent agreement designating Guatemala a safe third country for people seeking asylum in the United States? Here’s what you need to know:
Who is likely to win?… Seguir leyendo »
On April 27, the U.S. Congress’s Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, held a hearing about alleged Kremlin pressures on the United Nations Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a hybrid legal body that investigates and tries high-level corruption cases.
The backstory here involves the CICIG’s conviction of three Russian nationals — Igor Bitkov, his wife Irina and their daughter Anastasia — for identity fraud. The Bitkovs claim they face Russian government persecution.
Some members of Congress seem to agree that the CICIG has become a tool of Russian President Vladimir Putin. On May 4, Sen.… Seguir leyendo »
On Aug. 27, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales ordered the immediate expulsion of the head of the U.N. Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, Iván Velásquez. Within hours, the country’s Constitutional Court had blocked the move.
Morales’s sudden announcement sent shock waves throughout Guatemala and the international community. Representative Eliot L. Engel, ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, issued a statement calling for closer scrutiny of Guatemala’s commitments vis-à-vis U.S. assistance.
What’s the story here? And what does it mean for Guatemala’s fight against impunity?
The CICIG, a unique international body authorized to collaborate on national investigations, offers Guatemalans the hope that members of government and the elite who commit crimes will no longer be immune from punishment.… Seguir leyendo »