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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Guatemala Protests Escalate, Calls for Prosecutor Resignations

For the fourth consecutive day, tens of thousands of Guatemalan citizens peacefully marched, calling for the resignation of influential senior prosecutors accused of undermining the upcoming presidency of Bernardo Arevalo. Arevalo, a center-left candidate, won a decisive victory in August’s election. However, Attorney General Consuelo Porras has escalated her efforts to disqualify his anti-corruption Movimiento Semilla party, even conducting raids on the electoral authority’s offices and confiscating ballots.

Luis Pacheco, the leader of 48 Cantones, a prominent Indigenous organization, declared, “We will indefinitely halt the country’s activities. We demand the resignation of Prosecutor Consuelo Porras.” Pacheco made this statement outside Porras’ offices in Guatemala City, where various groups have been camped since Monday, displaying Guatemalan flags and holding signs condemning corruption. One of the signs bore the message, “Remove the coup plotters.”

The prosecutor’s office has defended its actions, describing them as lawful investigations into alleged registration irregularities within Semilla and the necessity of obtaining evidence through these raids. Arevalo, previously a relatively unknown legislator, gained widespread support with his promise to combat corruption. He now finds himself embroiled in a contentious post-election struggle against established opponents in anticipation of his scheduled inauguration in January.

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Following his unexpectedly strong performance in the initial round of voting in June, Porras petitioned a judge to disqualify Semilla, citing registration issues dating back six years. These actions by her office have drawn international criticism and sparked public outrage. Diverse groups of protesters, including Indigenous communities, rural farmers, teachers, and students, have taken to the streets, demanding the resignations of Porras and one of her chief prosecutors, Rafael Curruchiche, both of whom have faced corruption allegations from the U.S. government.

President Alejandro Giammattei, who had promised a smooth transition in August, had nominated Porras for her current term as attorney general and has generally refrained from commenting on the investigations and raids. However, Giammattei’s government announced the resumption of transition discussions with Arevalo’s team on Wednesday.

John Collins
John Collins
John is an esteemed journalist and author renowned for their incisive reporting and deep insights into global affairs. As a prominent contributor to City Telegraph, John brings over 5 years of experience covering diverse geopolitical landscapes, from the corridors of power in major capitals to the frontlines of conflict zones.

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