After the anti-corruption leader was removed, the United States curbs cooperation with Guatemala | Corruption News

After the anti-corruption leader was removed, the United States curbs cooperation with Guatemala | Corruption News


Last week, Juan Francisco Sandoval was fired as the head of the prosecution department responsible for fighting corruption.

After the head of Guatemala’s anti-corruption department was fired late last week, the United States said it would suspend some cooperation with Guatemala’s criminal prosecutors.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jarina Porter told reporters on Tuesday that the United States has suspended its cooperation with the Guatemalan Public Department, which is responsible for criminal prosecutions.

The move was made after Guatemala’s Minister of Justice Maria Porras announced on Friday. Remove Anti-corruption leader Juan Francisco Sandoval (Juan Francisco Sandoval) took his post as head of the Office of the Special Prosecutor against Impunity (FECI). After a few hours, Sandoval fled the country.

FECI was originally designed to handle an investigation led by the Guatemala International Commission against Impunity (CICIG) supported by the United Nations, but withdrew from the country in 2019.

Last week, Juan Francisco Sandoval was removed from the post of head of the Special Attorney’s Office against Impunity (FECI) [Luis Echeverria/Reuters]

Porter said on Tuesday that the decision to cancel Sandoval “conforms to a pattern of behavior that demonstrates a lack of commitment to the rule of law and an independent judicial and prosecution process.”

“As a result, we have lost confidence in the Attorney General and her intention to cooperate with the US government and sincerely fight corruption,” Porter said.

The United States has been vigorously supporting Sandoval’s work, including investigating and prosecuting cases against former Guatemalan officials, presidents, and business leaders. The State Department declared him an “anti-corruption champion” in the February award.

Washington pledged to work with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to help Central American countries combat impunity for high-level lawbreakers Pledge Provide more support for anti-corruption work during the visit in June.

In recent months, President Joe Biden’s government has also Revocation of U.S. visa Two senior judges in Guatemala have been criticized for alleged corruption and criticized lawmakers for refusing to take an oath to an anti-corruption judge.

“We are paying close attention to any additional actions that would undermine the rule of law or judicial independence in Guatemala,” Porter said.

People participate in protests in support of Juan Francisco Sandoval in Guatemala City, Guatemala [Sandra Sebastian/Reuters]

At the same time, Sandoval’s dismissal was met with opposition and protests in Guatemala.

On Monday, rural organizations blocked three highways to protest his dismissal, while other organizations are considering pressure on the government. Some lawmakers have filed a formal complaint against Bolas, accusing her of obstructing justice.

“This dismissal confirms the concerns a few months ago that although the Guatemalan government expressed interest in cooperating on the anti-corruption agenda, in the end, the Guatemalan government has a different agenda,” said Tiziano Breda, a Central American analyst at the International Crisis Group.

Ivan Velazquez, who leads the United Nations delegation and works closely with Sandoval, warned that Guatemala’s “fight against corruption is worsening.”

“The situation will be reversed only when the international community suspends all assistance to the Attorney General’s Office and isolates the Attorney General, and the Attorney General aligns with all corrupt political powers in the country, will the situation reverse,” Velazquez said.

“It will depend on Guatemalans and their efforts to defend democracy and find a way out.”

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