Guatemala’s Anti-Corruption President Attacks Anti-Corruption Commission

Guatemala is in the midst of its second political crisis in as many years. The country elected political outsider Jimmy Morales in 2015, hoping for a fresh start, after its former president was brought down in a corruption scandal that shocked the country. But less than two years into his term, Morales is locked in a battle with one of the anti-corruption mechanisms that may have helped him get elected.

The United Nations and a previous Guatemalan administration founded an anti-corruption commission, popularly called the CICIG, in 2007. Its goal is to root out high level organized crime from the government. On Sunday, Morales declared the head of the CICIG a persona non grata and gave him 48 hours to leave the country. The country’s highest court has since deemed Morales’ declaration illegal.

Many Guatemalans see Morales’ failed move as an attempt to shield himself from ongoing CICIG fraud and illegal financing investigations into his family and political party. The scandal has shattered Morales’ image as an honest president, and led to calls for his resignation.

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