Guatemalans protest president, attorney general

Thousands of Guatemalans have taken to the streets in protest, blocking highways and calling for a national strike over the government’s apparent unwillingness to tackle corruption

APTOPIX Guatemala Corruption
APTOPIX Guatemala Corruption

Thousands of Guatemalans took to the streets in protest Thursday, blocking highways and calling for a national strike over the government’s apparent unwillingness to tackle corruption.

Pressure has been building since Attorney General Consuelo Porras fired anti-corruption special prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval on July 23. In response, the United States government this week said that it had lost confidence in Guatemala’s commitment to battling corruption and was temporarily suspending cooperation with Porras’ office.

President Alejandro Giammattei has previously spoken of his friendship with Porras, who was appointed by his predecessor, President Jimmy Morales

Singing the national anthem, some 10,000 people blocked one of the country’s main highways early Thursday. Organizations representing Indigenous Guatemalans, farmworkers, students and professionals have said they will join a national work stoppage.

Sandoval said after his firing that as his investigations got closer to Giammattei and members of his cabinet, Porras made efforts to block him. Porras said she fired him because his investigations were ideologically biased.

Sandoval’s office was a critical remaining piece of Guatemala’s anti-corruption efforts. In 2019, the Morales forced out the United Nations’ anti-corruption mission, which had worked closely with Sandoval’s office to dismantle graft networks.

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