Politics 12-09-2018

Guatemalan Congress suspends debate on political control after demonstrations

The Guatemalan Congress suspended the session due to demonstrations against the scheduled debate to discuss possible changes to the law that allows a preliminary hearing of politicians linked to corruption cases, reports the local press.

Due to the demonstrations that surrounded the Congress, the board of directors of the parliament suspended the ordinary session that was scheduled for 2:00 pm local time (19:00 GMT), published the local media Prensa Libre.

The president of the Congress, Álvaro Arzú, said in a letter, released on social networks minutes after the suspension of the parliamentary agenda, that "it is regrettable that a small group of violent people lend themselves to blocking the work of thousands of Guatemalans and the legislative body. "

The letter also calls on the authorities to "take appropriate measures against those who are violating the law" for what, according to the legislator, abuse "the free demonstration" and affect the rights of the rest of the citizens.

The Congress's agenda included the law to strengthen the oversight of the Comptroller General of Accounts, which would generate changes in the pre-trial law for politicians involved in investigations of justice.

This caused many protesters to gather around the Congress trying to avoid the entrance of the legislators to whom they threw eggs and insulted them.

The General Secretary of the Association of University Students, Lenina García, one of the organizations calling for the demonstration, indicated that the law on pre-trial matters "is very harmful to us as a population because it would be giving powers to the Congress that are not incumbent on it and that could be a setback in the fight against corruption and impunity, "Prensa Libre writes.

The incidents occur at a time when the parliamentary body carries out an investigatory commission against President Jimmy Morales for alleged illicit financing in the campaign that took him to the Government in 2016.

On August 31, Morales announced that he will not renew the mandate of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), created by agreement between Guatemala and the United Nations Organization in 2006, which had a term to stay in the country until September 2019.

In addition, last week the Guatemalan government denied the entry into the country of the owner of the CICIG, the Colombian Iván Velásquez.

Several Guatemalan organizations have scheduled marches for this week against the president's decision.

On September 10 there were roadblocks in Sololá (southeast) and then on September 11, in addition to concentrating in the vicinity of the Congress, they were grouped in routes of the department of Totonicapán (southwest) to block one of the most important roads in the country , the Interamericana.

In addition, on September 12 there will be a peaceful march from 8:00 local time (13:00 GMT), convened by the National Coordinator of Peasant Organizations and the Peasant Development Committee, along with other organizations and social groups, publishes the media Local Republic.

In this case, the demonstrations also call for the resignation of Morales and seek to denounce the increase in persecution and constant criminalization against human rights defenders and indigenous peoples.

CICIG and the Attorney General's Office had called for Morales' impeachment last month to try him for illicit electoral financing.

The preliminary hearing was accepted by the Supreme Court of Justice and then passed to the Congress, where at the end of last August the Pesquisatory Commission was installed, which must examine the evidence against Morales and issue a report to the plenary session.


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