Guatemalan Protesters Want UN Commission Gone

Broad Coalition Alleges Ideological Justice, Lack of Accountability, Violation of Sovereignty

Approximately 400 Guatemalans gathered outside the CICIG offices in Guatemala City.

Approximately 400 Guatemalans gathered outside the CICIG offices in Guatemala City.

Opponents of a UN commission in Guatemala, which has locked horns with the current president, are becoming outspoken in their discontent. The rising tension manifested in a protest this Saturday morning outside the headquarters of the CICIG, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala.

The 400 people present at the CICIG in Zone 14 of Guatemala City represented a coalition of residents and advocacy groups. Ricardo Méndez Ruiz—a local businessman and president of the Foundation against Terrorism—initiated the event with the support of Guatemala Immortal, a social-media following whose stated objective is freedom for citizens. The Liga Propatria also had a presence, as participants condemned the CICIG as ideologically biased and working against its mission of the rule of law.

They contend that the CICIG itself is a demonstration of impunity, lacking any clear accountability. They want its commissioner, Iván Velásquez, to heed the persona non grata order from President Jimmy Morales and leave the country immediately.

“Get out of Guatemala, Iván Velásquez! No to interference, abuse of power, and biased, unfair, and ideologically selective justice.”
— Guatemala Immortal

One protester, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, said the CICIG “has corrupted the justice system and removed the presumption of innocence.” The attendee believes CICIG power in the country hinges on the perception among many that even innocent parties can have their lives disrupted by arbitrary detentions.

Boris Lemus, another protester, said that “Guatemala is a democratic country, and perhaps we have poverty in our country and many things to fix, but we prefer private property, the rule of law, and sovereignty before socialism.”

Guatemalans sing their national anthem, in a rejection of international meddling.

The CICIG first came to Guatemala in 2007, with the approval of the Guatemalan Congress and the United Nations and notable funding from the US federal government. Since then the commission has become a polarizing presence, garnering strong support from local and international progressives and socialists, but also from some business leaders such as Dionisio Gutierrez.

Vanderbilt University published 2017 survey data from voting-age Guatemalans that showed majority support for the CICIG. However, that came prior to the persona non grata declaration. Further, two major research reports have come out in the past month, critical of the CICIG’s activities—one from a local coalition of civil-society organizations and one from Judicial Watch (PDF), a rule-of-law NGO based in the United States.

The local report, an 11-part series, has drawn attention to problems with many legal activities of the CICIG, along with the unprecedented block from the Constitutional Court on the persona non grata order. The Judicial Watch report noted deep progressive sympathies within the CICIG, along with explicit support from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.

There were no visible signs of disapproval or opposition to the protest. However, there were many local journalists observing. Further, more than two dozen police ensured no opportunity for violence.

Guatemalan police stand guard to ward off any chance of confrontation at the protest against the CICIG.

Patricia Areano
Patricia Areano was the Antigua Report personal assistant.

2 Responses so far.

  1. SANDRA DE RIZZO says:

    EL COMISIONADO IVÀN VELASQUEZ, ES UN CONOCIDO EX GUERRILLERO COLOMBIANO, M-19 Y LUEGO FARC…DECLARADO EN COLOMBIA COMO NARCOGUERRILLERO POR EL PRESIDENTE URIBE, TRABAJA DE LA MANO DE LA EMBAJADA DE VENEZUELA Y DE ASOCIACIONES DE EXGUERRILLEROS GUATEMALTECOS, DISFRAZADOS DE ONGS, Y DE MEDIOS DE COMUNICACIÒN TELEVISIVOS, ESCRITOS, Y DIGITALES, CON CLARAS INTENCIONES DE TRAER EL SOCIALISMO A GUATEMALA,CON FUERTE APOYO MILLONARIO DE OBAMA Y SOROS. RAZÒN POR LA CUAL DESFENESTRARON AL PRESIDENTE OTO PEREZ MOLINA, CON HISTORIAS SIN PRUEBAS, POR LAS QUE LLEVA 3 AÑOS EN LA CARCEL, SIN JUICIO…Y LA MAYORIA DE LIDERES MILITARES ENCARCELADOS, SIN JUICIO, HACE 2 AÑOS…, ASÌ MISMO TRATANDO DE BOTAR DE SU PUESTO AL PRESIDENTE JIMY MORALES, CONSTITUCIONAL Y LEGITIMAMENTE ELÈCTO, IVAN VELAQUEZ, TELMA ALDANA Y SU BANDA DE FISCALILLOS DE MP. ESPERAN LOGRAR UN GOLPE DE ESTADO, COLOCAR UN GOBIERNO TRANSITORIO Y COLOCAR EN EL PODER A DEDO UN GOBIERNO SOCIALISTA QUE SE PERPETÙE EN EL PODER AL ESTILO ORTEGA EN NICARAGUA Y CHAVEZ- MADURO EN VENEZUELA. LOS GUATEMALTECOS NO QUIEREN EL SOCIALISMO, EN ELECCIONES LIBRES NUNCA HAN SUPERADO EL 4% DE LOS VOTOS…

  2. Moyito says:

    ivan debe irse de Guatemala, quiere dar un golpe de estado. Esta irrumpiendo nuestra justicia

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