HomeNewsBriefGuatemala's CICIG Takes Aim at Political Corruption
BRIEF

Guatemala's CICIG Takes Aim at Political Corruption

GUATEMALA / 6 DEC 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

The new head of Guatemala's international anti-impunity body has announced its final target will be political campaign financing, a declaration of war against the establishment which will face major challenges achieving its goals.

Ivan Velasquez, a Colombian former judge and prosecutor appointed to head the United Nation's International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), said he had decided to investigate donations by criminal organizations to political parties after receiving repeated requests, reported Siglo 21. The CICIG will attempt to clarify the extent of links between politicians and criminal groups, starting with information provided during two months of meetings held by Velasquez with civil society representatives, businessmen, judges and other officials.

The anti-impunity body will also take aim at corruption within customs offices, investigating the flow of contraband.  

InSight Crime Analysis

Velasquez has an extremely tough job ahead of him. The financing of political parties and campaigns by criminal groups, and wider ties between politics and the underworld, is a major issue in Guatemala, but one that no one has really dared touch. The embedded nature of corruption and lack of political will to tackle it could make it near impossible for the CICIG to make serious headway. It has no real teeth and is running on borrowed time, with President Otto Perez declaring its mandate will not be extended past 2015 and urging it to focus on the transfer of its responsibilities to the judicial system.

SEE ALSO: Guatemala News and Profiles

A report by Mirador Electoral, an umbrella group of NGOs, found the amount of money spent by political parties during the 2011 presidential election had a "direct correlation" with how well they did in the polls; and that there was reason to believe much of that funding came from "illicit sources." There was little coherent ideology or loyalty in political parties and their members, it said, meaning candidates tended to be led by their financial backers above all else. Allegations of criminal ties reach as high up as President Otto Perez, though he has outwardly made tackling corruption a priority.

The fact that Velasquez is at the helm of the CICIG provides at least some cause for optimism -- he has a proven track record in this area, facing down extreme hostility and threats to play a key role uncovering Colombia's "parapolitics" scandal.

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.

Tags

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

CONTRABAND / 5 SEP 2014

A UN report puts Guatemala among the top five most violent countries in the world, with 40.6 murders for every…

EL SALVADOR / 1 JUL 2015

Statistics suggest that the Northern Triangle -- El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras -- constitutes the world's epicenter for extortion, illustrating…

GUATEMALA / 25 AUG 2015

Guatemala authorities have captured the alleged heir to one of the nation's preeminent drug trafficking clans, possibly marking the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…