HomeNewsBriefGuatemala’s CICIG Says More Big Corruption Cases to Come
BRIEF

Guatemala’s CICIG Says More Big Corruption Cases to Come

ELITES AND CRIME / 25 NOV 2016 BY MIKE LASUSA EN

The commissioner of Guatemala's internationally backed anti-impunity body said that authorities expect to uncover government corruption schemes on the same scale as the ones that sent shock waves throughout the Central American nation last year. 

Iván Velásquez, the head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala - CICIG), made the comments at a November 24 event marking the release of the organization's ninth official report.

"We believe that in 2017 we will present investigations as serious and profound as the Cooptation of the State," elPeriódico quoted Velásquez as saying. 

Velásquez was referring to charges brought by CICIG and the Attorney General's Office in June against former President Otto Pérez Molina and former Vice President Roxana Baldetti.

The ex-leaders were accused of setting up a network of front companies to accept millions of dollars worth of illicit campaign contributions from businesses and individuals, which they paid back by awarding the donors state contracts and other favors once in power.

Pérez Molina and Baldetti had previously been forced to resign and were later jailed on charges related to a separate scheme known as "La Línea," or "The Line," which allegedly involved them taking a cut of bribes paid by traders to avoid import taxes. The pair have also been linked to other alleged corruption scandals uncovered with CICIG's help.

InSight Crime Analysis

While Velásquez hailed CICIG's work thus far and made the bold promise that future investigations would be as impactful as those involving a former president, he also recognized the ongoing challenges to the commission's work.

"There always exists the threat of the return of impunity," he said. "The processes underway that are keeping well-known figures in prison could be manipulated and diverted to grant them freedom and the return of goods over time."

One obstacle is the continuing influence wielded by what Velásquez and others have referred to as "hidden powers." Velásquez has previously identified what he called "consolidated structures" that can "reach relationships and understandings with each government" in order to continue siphoning public funds for illicit private enrichment through corruption schemes.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

The CICIG commissioner said that previous investigations have provided insight as to how these structures function and how to dismantle them, but he also noted that judicial reforms will be necessary in order to improve the effectiveness of such efforts.

"We cannot pretend that different results would be obtained using the same rules and doing things in the same way," he said.

In addition to their continued ability to operate in a clandestine manner, these structures may also be able to interfere with ongoing investigations and prosecutions by means of threats and intimidation. For instance, shortly after the Cooptation of the State case became public, Attorney General Thelma Aldana received death threats.

For these reasons, both Velásquez and Aldana asked Guatemalan officials and citizens for their continued support as new investigations move forward.

Speaking to judicial officials, Velásquez said, "We want to call on you to contribute actively in the process of the moral restoration of the republic, denouncing those who pressure or even subtly intimidate. No more fears! No more silence! A new citizenry supports you."

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 14 OCT 2020

Guatemala's attorney general has given the go-ahead to new legal actions against the public prosecutor that has headed Guatemala's…

COCAINE / 18 NOV 2020

At InSight Crime’s 10th anniversary conference, presenter Robert Muggah described the primary reaction he has received when collaborating with the…

COCAINE / 15 FEB 2022

With the arrest of former Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández on drug charges, US prosecutors have brought down a powerful…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…