Guatemala News Update: May 11-15

Guatemala Gets New VP in Wake of Tax Fraud Scandal

On May 14, Alejandro Maldonado was named as Guatemala’s new vice president following the resignation of Roxana Baldetti amid the revelation of a tax fraud scandal. On May 15, Erick Archila, head of Guatemala’s Ministry of Energy and Mines, also resigned due to what he called “political persecution.” Archila was summoned to appear this morning before a congressional commission investigating allegations of corruption against him, but refused to appear.

Meanwhile, citizens have continued to call for the resignation of President Otto Pérez Molina and will move forward with another wave of national protests set for Saturday, May 16.

In Washington, DC, the Mayan League is also organizing people to gather in front of the White House at 10 am in an expression of solidarity with the thousands in Guatemala demanding an end to corruption and impunity.

Guatemala Ex-police Chief Loses Appeal Against Life Sentence

Ex-police chief Erwin Sperisen’s attempt to appeal a life sentence has been struck down by a Swiss court. Sperisen — who also has Swiss nationality — was found guilyy last year in Switzerland of killing seven prisoners in a jail in his home country of Guatemala.

US Expresses Support for Guatemala’s Search for Justice

Stephen Rapp, United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice, visited Guatemala this week. Rapp participated in a forum on judicial issues on Monday and affirmed that the US is ready to assist in the country’s search for “fair and independent justice.”

Guatemala in Contempt of Court before IACHR

Representatives of the International Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) in Guatemala expressed their concerns over the state’s lack of political will to follow through with precautionary measures dictated by the IACHR, and the implications this has for human rights defenders in the country.

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