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Political crisis in Guatemala

28 August 2015
Peaceful march against state corruption in Guatemala
Guatemala is an extremely dangerous country for anyone involved in the trade union movement. Activists and leaders are subject to reprisals, dismissals and killings.

This crisis has started to affect other social actors, and if that was not enough, the country is currently immersed in one of the worst political crisis in its history. Since 16 April this year, the public prosecutor and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) have accused officials of General Otto Pérez Molina’s government of customs fraud and involvement in a criminal gang known as “La Línea” (The Line). Thirty members of the gang are currently in detention. Vice-President Roxana Baldetti’s private secretary stands accused of being the leader of this organisation and is a fugitive from justice.

These denunciations resulted in protests and demonstrations by various social sectors, which forced the Vice-President to resign. Last week, a warrant was issued for her arrest on three counts. The prosecutor and CICIG say there is enough evidence to show she is the leader of the gang and is guilty of fraud. There have also been calls for the impeachment of President Otto Pérez and the Supreme Court has ruled the impeachment can go ahead. This is now in the hands of Congress, which today formed a commission composed of five deputies, including two from the governing party, two from LIDER and one deputy from Encuentro Por Guatemala. One hundred and five of 105 voted in favour of removing the president’s immunity to prosecution, but he has rejected calls to resign even though a series of demonstrations since April has shown the Guatemalan public’s indignation. However, the president has defended himself and the stage is set for a confrontation with the Guatemalan public.

This extreme situation raises the threat of a coup and constitutional and institutional rupture. If this happens, it will seriously endanger our trade union colleagues in the country, so we are asking PSI affiliates throughout the world to follow the situation closely and be ready to act in accordance with PSI’s directives.  

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