HomeNewsBriefScandals Hurt Confidence in Guatemala Institutions: Poll
BRIEF

Scandals Hurt Confidence in Guatemala Institutions: Poll

ELITES AND CRIME / 4 JUL 2016 BY MIKE LASUSA EN

A new poll shows that recent corruption scandals in Guatemala appear to have damaged the credibility of the country's armed forces and political elites, while an internationally supported anti-corruption commission has become the country's most-trusted institution.

Although the military still ranks among the most-trusted institutions in Guatemalan society, it has lost ground in recent years due to corruption scandals involving current and former members of the armed forces, according to a Prensa Libre article based on a poll the news outlet commissioned.

Fifty percent of Guatemalans expressed confidence in the military, the poll found. That figure represents a drop of more than 10 percent since 2014, when a survey (pdf) by Vanderbilt University's Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) found that 61 percent of Guatemalans expressed confidence in the armed forces. (See Prensa Libre's graphic below)

 16-07-01GuatemalaPollEng

Prensa Libre links the decline to the series of corruption scandals exposed with the help of the United Nations-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala - CICIG).

Revelations of widespread corruption led to the resignation and criminal prosecution of former Guatemalan president Otto Pérez Molina, the first military general to occupy the office since the country returned to democratic rule in the mid-1980s. CICIG has accused Pérez Molina, along with his vice-president Roxana Baldetti, of leading a "criminal mafia structure that had co-opted power through the ballot box in Guatemala."

SEE ALSO: Guatemala News and Profiles

Two men who served as defense minister under Pérez Molina, Manuel López Ambrosio and Ulises Anzueto, have been arrested in connection with the anticorruption investigations, as has former Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla, who is also veteran of the armed forces.

Moreover, a former military officer has been described as Guatemala's biggest drug trafficker. Marlon Francesco Monroy Meoño, alias "El Fantasma" (The Ghost), who was recently arrested, reportedly used his military contacts to facilitate his drug trafficking activities.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Prensa Libre poll also shows that the justice system, political parties, members of congress and the presidency have all seen dramatic declines in public confidence in recent years. Compared to the 2014 LAPOP survey, confidence in the justice system fell 17 points, from 43 to 25 percent. Confidence in political parties declined 19 points, from 32 to 13 percent. Congress and the presidency both lost more than 30 points, falling from 42 to 12 percent and from 48 to 11 percent respectively.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

It is interesting to note, however, that CICIG -- which in many ways serves as the public face of Guatemala's ongoing efforts to combat corruption -- ranks more highly than any other institution included in Prensa Libre's survey. It even ranks more highly than the Catholic and Evangelical churches. And somewhat ironically, the scandals the commission helped expose are likely part of the reason for the marked decline in confidence in many other public institutions.

CICIG has indeed made significant progress in terms of bringing to justice top officials accused of corruption. But as InSight Crime has previously pointed out, the corruption that has undermined confidence in Guatemala's public institutions has its roots in social and political structures. Enacting reforms to deal with these structural issues will require sustaining the momentum for change that CICIG has helped to generate.

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

GUATEMALA / 29 NOV 2011

The United Nations anti-impunity commission in Guatemala, CICIG, will cut its staff by 30 percent due to a decrease in…

ELITES AND CRIME / 4 SEP 2015

How is it possible that a corruption scandal could force out a president in a matter of months? This is…

ELITES AND CRIME / 22 FEB 2017

Reports have emerged that a Venezuelan businessman and alleged drug kingpin with ties to the sitting vice president imported state-controlled…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…