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

COCAINE / 8 JUL 2021

A US investigation has shed light on the alleged participation of Guatemalan soldiers in a cocaine smuggling network linked to…

COCAINE / 3 AUG 2021

An anti-narcotics operation in western Guatemala has shed further light on how families involved in local politics can play a…

CARIBBEAN / 11 FEB 2022

Latin American countries scored poorly on Transparency International’s latest corruption index, with the worst joining the ranks of war-torn nations…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…