Zacatepeques, San Lucas, Guatemala—— Because the government lacked the will to solve the problem, thousands of Guatemalans took to the streets to demand the resignation of the country’s president and attorney general corruption.
These protests are one of the largest and most widespread protests since 2015.
Hundreds of people gathered on the Highway of the Americas in San Lucas Zacatepeques, sometimes holding festive protests, demanding President Alejandro Giammattei and Attorney General Maria Polas ( Maria Porras) resigned. It was mainly indigenous protesters who participated in a national strike along with student groups and residents.
“We ask Giammattei to resign,” Angelina Aspuac, an activist for the People’s and Social Council, told Al Jazeera.
“We are tired of seeing this government’s corruption,” she said. “The decisions they made are not good for us. They allow and seek the law to lead to impunity.”
Aboriginal ancestry authorities declared in Porras move Juan Francisco Sandoval (Juan Francisco Sandoval), the head of the Special Attorney’s Office against impunity. She accused Sandoval of “abusing power,” but Sandoval hinted at high-level corruption in the prosecutor’s office and the presidential palace.
Sandoval has received international attention for his leadership of the Anti-Impunity Bureau, especially in the United States, which took over the investigation of the internationally renowned UN-supported Guatemala International Commission against Impunity, which is called CICIG. closed In 2019, he was forced to go abroad for fear of his safety.
After Sandoval was removed from office, Jalena Porter, deputy spokesperson of the US State Department, announced on Tuesday that the United States will partially suspend cooperation with Bolas, saying that the United States “lost confidence” in the country’s willingness to resist the Japanese War. corruption.
On Wednesday, Bolas wrote to the State Department to defend her actions during her tenure.
The effects of corruption are particularly felt in rural areas, where national projects are still unfinished, highways are in disrepair, and poverty and hunger have increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know they are corrupt because they violated our rights,” Marcelino Carx, a member of the ancestral authority of the indigenous Kaqchikel community of San Juan Zacatepeques, San Fiocaña, told Al Jazeera at the roadblock.
Similar protests blocked major highways throughout Central American countries. The largest of these was held in Totonicapán, where thousands of people blocked an important intersection throughout the day.
More than a year after Jamatae came to power, protests broke out. Independent political analyst Renzo Rosal said that the protests were a buildup of social pressure in Guatemala during the pandemic.
“This is the last straw that killed the camel,” Rosal told Al Jazeera.
“People generally question the president’s inability to manage vaccines and pandemics,” he explained. “We are seeing dissatisfaction accumulating. Last week’s [removal of Sandoval] Is the last thing. “
In the nearly two years since then President Jimmy Morales terminated the agreement with CICIG, there has been an increase in corruption and impunity in Guatemala. September 2019 Mission Officially ended, To transfer all cases to the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Combating Impunity.
The end of CICIG opened the door to increased corruption.
“With the departure of CICIG, this situation of corruption and impunity has been strengthened,” Rosal said. He said: “The powerful actors in this country, I am especially referring to the president, congressional representatives and judges, who participate in controlling institutions.” “They let the prosecutor’s office work for them.”
In 2015, CICIG received international acclaim after investigating the corruption of Otto Perez Molina. The exposure of government corruption led to large-scale protests across the country that lasted for several weeks, eventually leading to the resignation of Vice President Perez Molina and several government officials. Perez Molina is currently facing corruption charges.
Rosal said the protests on Thursday were just the beginning.
“This shows anger and dissatisfaction,” he said. “This should be seen as the beginning.”