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Aug 26, 2015

Turmoil in Guatemala Escalates

Otto Perez Molina

As the Opposition seeks the report of the Guatemalan incursion at the Sarstoon, Guatemala remains in turmoil as calls for the resignation of President Otto Perez Molina escalate. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court gave the green light to proceed with the impeachment of Perez Molina, but that still has to go before the Congress. Today, top officials within his government continue to resign in the middle of serious allegations of fraud.  This comes on the heels of the arrest of former Vice President Roxana Baldetti at a hospital for customs fraud in which three point seven million dollars in bribes were accepted as part of a customs corruption scandal.  Baldetti is among eight ranking members of government to have resigned over allegations regarding their roles in La Linea, named after the bribery scam in which businesses reportedly called a hotline to clear their imports through customs at considerably reduced prices.  On Tuesday, Fernando Carrera, Guatemala’s Ambassador to the United Nations, also demitted office in the face of irrefutable evidence showing Perez Molina’s involvement in the scandal.  The collapse of the Guatemalan government comes less than two weeks ahead of the first round of elections in that country.  For all intents and purposes, the referendum and the age-old territorial dispute by Guatemala and its possible resolution at the ICJ have been placed on hold indefinitely. Earlier today, News Five spoke via Skype with political analyst, Michael McDonald of Bloomberg News, who is presently in Guatemala.

 

Michael McDonald

Via Skype: Michael McDonald, Political Analyst, Bloomberg News

“Last Friday, prosecutors, the attorney general’s office and the United Nations’ prosecutors body alleged that the President of Guatemala, Otto Perez-Molina helped lead a customs tax fraud racket and they asked the courts to investigate the president of these accusations and the courts ruled yesterday that they will allow the investigation to advance and they sent the investigation to congress.  Now congress has to put together a five-member committee in order to investigate the president to decide whether or not they are going to impeach him and strip him of his immunity.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What has been the political climate in the wake of these current events?”

 

Sandra Torres

Via Skype: Michael McDonald

“It’s been a very tense political climate.  The president has lost quite a few cabinet members and several top advisors.  Over the weekend, the economy minister and the education minister resigned.  Just a couple days ago the finance minister resigned, as well as three Vice-Ministers of Finance.  Yesterday the United Nations, the Guatemalan Ambassador before the U.N. also stepped down, who at one point was Otto Perez-Molina’s, well the president’s Foreign Affairs Minister.  So it’s been quite tense, the president has lost a lot of his top advisors, lost a lot of his main cabinet members and he’s starting to name new ones but it’s been quite a tense environment.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“It seems as though everything around him, in terms of the representatives and the top advisors and everyone else who have surrounded him during his administration, everything around him is collapsing.  This comes ahead of the upcoming general elections in Guatemala.  Can you speak to us a bit about that?”

 

Via Skype: Michael McDonald

“Sure.  Yeah, I think that’s a fair assessment.  I think most analysts that you speak to would say that the government pretty much has collapsed at this point.  The elections coming up are going to be on September sixth.  This is going to be a first round of elections, none of the candidates have enough support yet to reach the fifty percent threshold that they would need to avoid a runoff.  So I think that the general feeling is that there is going to be a runoff election between the top two candidates in October.  That will likely involve the frontrunner who is Manuel Baldizon who is an opposition candidate and one of two other candidates, possibly Jimmy Morales who is another opposition candidate and Sandra Torres who is also an opposition candidate.”

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2 Responses for “Turmoil in Guatemala Escalates”

  1. BelizeanInAsia says:

    Yes that is Sandra Torres…Ahi!

  2. carlos says:

    I hope Baldizon wins. He is from Peten state and this will probably bring a a better relation between the Cayo district and the state of Peten .

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