Demonstrators protest against Guatemala President Jimmy Morales' decision to not renew the mandate of the International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG), in Guatemala City, Guatemala September 14, 2018 (REUTERS/Luis Echeverria)
Morales’ move to block Velasquez from entering Guatemala came just days after he declared he would not renew a mandate allowing CICIG to operate in Guatemala beyond September 2019. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has since asked Velasquez to name a deputy who will be permitted entry to the country.
Since it was ratified in 2007 CICIG has helped investigate corruption and other criminal activity, while granting technical assistance to Guatemalan law agencies. As well as helping prosecute a former president, it has led investigations against dozens of public officials, judges, and executives in a country with a shaky record on transparency. CICIG has earned the respect of millions of Guatemalans tired of corruption and graft, and is now the country’s most trusted institution - ahead of the media, Public Ministry, government and congress.
In recent days troops have patrolled Guatemalan streets as protests against Morales have swelled. The sight of the military has unnerved Guatemalans still dealing with the bloody legacy of decades of military dictatorship and civil war. Yet thousands of people, many from indigenous communities, have maintained their vociferous public support of CICIG, while urging Morales to resign.
With Guatemala at an apparent crossroads between democratic governance and autocracy, The Stream will consider what lies in store for the country. Join the conversation.