The United States condemned the persecution of former anti-corruption officials in Guatemala

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Brian Nichols, undersecretary of the Department of State for Latin America, assured that the arrest warrants against former members of the Prosecutor's Office and the International Commission Against Impunity are actions that “weaken the rule of law and confidence in the justice system”

 The United States condemned the persecution of former anti-corruption officials in Guatemala

Brian Nichols, Undersecretary of State for Latin America (Rod Lamkey/CNP/ABACAPRESS.COM)

The United States attacked the Guatemalan authorities on Tuesday for ordering the capture of former officials of the Public Prosecutor's Office and of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig) who investigated corruption in the country.

“Such actions weaken the Rule of law and confidence in the Guatemalan justice system”, criticized the undersecretary of the State Department for Latin America, Brian Nichols, on social networks.

“We are concerned about the arrest warrants issued by the Guatemalan Public Ministry against people who worked to guarantee accountability for corruption in the Odebrecht case in Guatemala,” said the US official.

Inside In this case, the Public Ministry of Guatemala announced legal actions against the current Colombian Defense Minister, Iván Velázquez, who was in charge of Cicig, which has opened a diplomatic conflict between both countries.< /p>

The Prosecutor's Office of the Central American country requested on Monday the capture of David Gaitán, former Cicig lawyer for alleged irregularities in the investigation case involving the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

United States condemned the persecution of former anti-corruption officials in Guatemala

The president of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, together with the attorney general, Consuelo Porras, who was accused of corruption by the United States

accuses him of the crime of abuse of power for having participated in the signing of several agreements of cooperation, supposedly anomalous, with Odebrecht executives.

In this case, an arrest warrant was also issued against the lawyer Juan Pablo Carrasco, president of the Chamber Guatemalan-American (Amcham), the former Secretary General of the MP, Mayra Véliz, and the former Attorney General, Thelma Aldana.

He also assured that he will take legal action against Velázquez, who was head of the Cicig between 2013 and 2017, a period during which dozens of corruption structures that operated within government institutions were dismantled.

After the accusations, the Colombian minister defended his work in Guatemala. “I have not been notified of any requirement by the Guatemalan authorities,” said the head of the Defense portfolio in a statement, while saying that he had “the peace of mind that the work carried out in the Central American country was carried out with total transparency and within the legal framework.”

Colombian President Gustavo Petro came out in defense of his minister and warned that relations with Guatemala will be affected if the Guatemalan Prosecutor's Office goes ahead.

Both governments called their ambassadors for consultations in protest.

 The United States condemned the persecution of former anti-corruption officials in Guatemala

The arrest warrants issued by the Guatemalan Justice opened a diplomatic conflict between Guatemala and Colombia (REUTERS/Luisa González)

The Guatemalan opposition legislator Samuel Pérez assured this Tuesday that the legal process that could be initiated in the Central American country against the Colombian Defense Minister is a “revenge” for his role in the fight against corruption a few years ago.

“It is a revenge with rancor, because the people who now govern were investigated for corruption,” he told the news agency EFE< /i> Deputy Pérez, from the Semilla bench. “The current government co-opted public institutions such as the MP to persecute its adversaries and it is evident that they do not have the approval of the population,” he added.

Guatemalan prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche, in charge of the Special Prosecutor Against Impunity since 2021, he was included in the “black list” of corrupt actors in the United States in 2022, accused of creating cases against justice operators.

< p class="paragraph">(With information from EFE)

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