Tensions are rising between the governments of Guatemala and Colombia. This Monday, the Central American country’s attorney’s office announced it Odebrecht launched an investigation into the case Against Ivan Velázquez, Colombia’s current defense minister, who headed the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala between 2013 and 2017. President Pedro immediately responded to the news, questioning the validity of the judicial decision against his minister. “We will protect him and he will continue to be our minister. If Guatemala insists on arresting only men, we have nothing to do with Guatemala.” President announced, it also announced that it would invite the Colombian ambassador to Guatemala, Victoria González Ariza, for consultations. The Guatemalan government returned the message on Tuesday with equal hostility.
“In response to the nearly 200 years of fraternal relations between Colombia and Guatemala, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects the Colombian government’s call for justice in Guatemala,” it said. Short report of Ministry of External Affairs, have announced that they will also invite their ambassador for consultation. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs regrets that the government of Colombia turned the law and order issue into a political issue and took sudden decisions without following diplomatic procedures. In this sense, we have mutually decided to invite the Guatemalan ambassador in Colombia for consultation.
Brian Nichols, the US Under Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, expressed concern about the rule of law in the Central American country amid the diplomatic standoff. Nichols did not refer to the Velázquez case, but rather to arrest warrants issued by the Guatemalan attorney general’s office against other anti-corruption investigators: Thelma Aldana (former attorney general); Mayra Véliz (Former Secretary of the Public Ministry); David Gaydon (former CICIG president), Pablo Carrasco (lawyer and former Odebrecht consultant). “Concern about the arrest warrants of the Guatemalan Public Ministry against the persons guaranteed to be held accountable for corruption in the Odebrecht case in Guatemala. “Such actions undermine the rule of law and confidence in the Guatemalan judiciary,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
disturbed by @MPguatemalaArrest warrants against individuals who worked to ensure accountability for corruption in the Odebrecht case in Guatemala. Such actions undermine the rule of law and confidence in Guatemala’s judiciary.
– Brian A. Nichols (@WHAAsstSecty) January 17, 2023
The credibility of Guatemalan justice is questionable. The arrest warrants and the investigation against Velázquez were announced by lawyer Rafael Krucic, one of those added by the United States. ‘Engel List’, in June 2022. It’s a US government list that identifies people who have “threatened democratic institutions or processes, engaged in substantial acts of corruption, or obstructed investigations into such corruption in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.” Among those pointed out is prosecutor Karruchic, who is accused of “obstructing investigations into corrupt practices, obstructing high-profile cases against government officials.”
Also in the crosshairs of the United States is Guatemala’s Attorney General, Consuelo Boras, the head of Gurruchinche. US Department of State Added in 2021 A list of “corrupt and anti-democratic” actors continues to obstruct their justice. Boras, however, has the support of Guatemalan President Alejandro Giamatte, who last year renewed him as attorney general for another four years. Faced with US accusations, Giamatte was unconcerned. “There is no value in depriving a person of capacity, fitness and integrity of media or political accusations that may be in accordance with our constitution,” he said in support of Boras.
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