Businessmen Take Action Against Corruption

Guatemalan businesses have declared persona non grata congressmen who voted for a law which exempted general secretaries of political parties from responsibility in matters relating to illicit electoral financing and increased the possibility of commuting prison sentences with money.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The law, popularly known as the "Corruption Pact", was heavily resisted by Guatemalan society. Pressure from the populace, together with a resolution contrary to the norm from the Constitutional Court, forced Congress to backtrack and archive the law.

See: Clear Road Ahead for Impunity

The political and social crisis that caused widespread corruption in Guatemala reached a peak with President Jimmy Morales's declaration of the head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), Colombian Iván Velázquez, as persona non grata. The negative reaction on the part of the people of Guatemala on this issue was immediate, and the Constitutional Court definitively suspended President Morales' order to expel the leader of the CICIG. Among the most notable reactions was that of the Attorney General, who has given legal substance to the work of CICIG in the fight against state and business corruption that is suffocating the country, and announced that he would resign if Iván Velázquez was expelled.

An article in Prensalibre.com states that : "107 deputies are not welcome in these businesses. There are already several establishments that will not allow entry to deputies who last Wednesday approved a package of reforms that benefited them, but left the door open to corruption and impunity. This measure is against the 107 deputies who voted for reforms to the Penal Code which, in principle, exempted from responsibility in matters of illicit electoral financing general secretaries of political parties, who generally will become candidates for positions through popular election, and who at the current time triggered pre trial investigations against Jimmy Morales, who has already been saved by the Congress; Roberto Villate, ex-leader of the late leader, and Orlando Blanco, UNE."

In an economy such as Guatemala's, it is not easy to be successful in business, in an environment where too many actors operate beyond legality, and where dealing with correct legal and ethical practices is very likely to push any entrepreneur who intends to do so out of the competition. That is why the attitude of these, surely small, traders, who, with their rejection of the corruption embodied in that failed law, demonstrate that a Guatemala is free from widespread corruption.

See: Corruption, Impunity and Politics
See: Will the President of Guatemala Be Spared?
See: Guatemala: Setback for President Morales



More on this topic

The Post-CICIG Era Begins

September 2019

Twelve years after having settled in Guatemala and after multiple struggles for the non-renewal of its mandate, from today the International Commission against Impunity is no longer operating.

In August 2007, the Congress of the Republic approved the creation of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which arrived in the country with the mission of investigating criminal structures operating within government institutions, work done in association with the Public Prosecutor's Office.

Guatemala: Goodbye, CICIG

September 2018

Arguing that it is time to "strengthen State institutions," President Morales has announced that he will not renew the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity, whose term expires in a year.

The controversial decision by the Guatemalan government, which was announced over the weekend, is based, according to Morales, on the idea that after ten years of work by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), the time has come to transfer its capabilities over to the State.

Guatemala: Setback for President Morales

August 2017

The Constitutional Court has suspended, in definitive from, the order given by President Jimmy Morales to expel the leader of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala from the country.

"... Acting without the accompaniment of his ministers, as ordered by the Constitution, inconsistency in the dates and non use of the process to resolve disputes established in the agreement between the Government of Guatemala and the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig) are the main reasons why the Constitutional Court (CC) yesterday ordered the definitive suspension of the expulsion from the country of Iván Velásquez, head of the Cicig."

Corruption, Impunity and Politics

August 2017

Four petitions for pre trial hearings have already been lodged against President Morales, following his request to expel the leader of the International Commission against Impunity from Guatemala.

EDITORIAL

In less than a week a series of events took place which have left the country on tenterhooks. The Public Ministry and the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig) filed a petition for a pre trial hearing against President Morales for alleged illicit electoral financing; Morales declared the Commission of the Cicig, Iván Velásquez, persona non grata, and requested his expulsion from the country.  In response to this, three other requests for preliminary hearings have been filed in the last few hours. 

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