HomeNewsBriefPredicting the Fall of Guatemala's President
BRIEF

Predicting the Fall of Guatemala's President

ELITES AND CRIME / 27 AUG 2015 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

Although the walls are closing in on Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina, due to new revelations of his involvement in a massive corruption case, he may yet avoid prison. 

Guatemala's Supreme Court unanimously approved the Attorney General's motion to strip the president of his immunity, forwarding the case to Congress, where lawmakers will decide what happens next. 

Top prosecutors from Guatemala have accused Perez Molina and ex-Vice President Roxana Baldetti of running a customs fraud network known as La Linea

Perez Molina's center-right Patriotic Party, and its ally, the Lider party, currently hold a majority in Congress, which helped put an end to a previous attempt -- spearheaded by the opposition -- to vote to remove his immunity. However, with Guatemala's general election two weeks away, Lider party leaders may find it difficult to defend Guatemala's  "most disputed president ever," argued investigative news website Nomada.  

The president has repeatedly said he will not resign.

Under Guatemalan law, Perez Molina's presidency will end the moment a judge decides to place him in preventative detention. At that moment, Vice President Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre will become the new head of state. 

InSight Crime Analysis

While La Linea and other scandals have certainly created chaos and public outrage in Guatemala, there's no guarantee this will translate into prison time for Perez Molina.

Guatemalan courts are notoriously easy for special interests to corrupt and manipulate. As InSight Crime has documented, this has allowed elites to turn the country into what is practically a mafia state. 

SEE ALSO:  The War for Guatemala's Courts

If Congress decides to strip the president of his immunity, the case will then be heard before a judge, who may decide the case doesn't merit a trial.

And even if Perez Molina's case does make it that far, previous trials involving Guatemala's top political elites set a poor precedent for justice. 

For example, ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt was convicted in 2013 of genocide and crimes against humanity. His 80-year sentence was then overturned on a technicality and he was later declared mentally unfit for sentencing.

If genocide can go unpunished, Perez Molina may have a chance of escaping prison time over alleged customs fraud. On the other hand, if a sitting president in Guatemala is impeached and sentenced, this would send an unprecedented message to Guatemala's corrupt elites that the days of de facto impunity are over.  

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

COCAINE / 13 APR 2021

The dismantling of a Costa Rican drug gang that worked with agents in an elite investigative unit to steal cocaine…

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…

ELITES AND CRIME / 23 FEB 2022

With cries of corruption mounting against Guatemala’s president, the country’s Attorney General has taken minimal action and instead ramped up…

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…