Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Trump and CICIG

The former commissioner of CICIG (which is now officially defunct) Iván Velásquez has a message that has been dismal reality for a while. The Trump administration was central to CICIG's demise, as evidenced by the timing.
After the CICIG announced that it was investigating Morales and members of his family for campaign finance violations, he and others began to threaten the commission and launched a campaign to erode the U.S. bipartisanship support. They spent millions on Washington lobbyists and dispatched a steady stream of state officials to make the case that the CICIG was a leftist operation. When the Trump administration announced it was moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Guatemala was the first government to follow suit — all in an effort to get closer to the U.S. government and continue its push to discredit the agency. 
The efforts paid off. Last year, when Morales barred me from returning to the country in violation of the agreement with the United Nations, the tepid response from the Trump administration amounted to a stamp of approval. That’s when Morales refused to extend the mandate.
The administration has done considerable damage to the region, and one could argue that Guatemala is among the worst hit. Take the combination of supporting corruption while attacking the country's migrants and pressuring Guatemala to accept Hondurans and Salvadorans who want asylum in the U.S.

U.S. Rep. Norma Torres co-signed a letter calling on the UN to make sure all of CICIG's employees, plus people who work in Guatemalan courts, receive protection. Trump and Morales combined to make them targets for angry elites.

In a 2017 LAPOP report, Liz Zechmeister and Dinorah Azpuru showed how Guatemalans overwhelmingly trust CICIG. A 2019 poll showed 72% approval. Guatemalans have protested against its closure, but the military and the criminal oligarchy that controls the state have stood firm.

The result, as you can easily guess, will be more emigration. Corruption, violence, and permanent economic inequality leaves no other options for thousands.


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