Guatemalans by the Thousands Show Their President the Door
EspañolRoughly 5,000 Guatemalans marched through the streets of Guatemala City on Saturday night, carrying torches and shouting slogans against corruption, to demand the resignation of President Otto Pérez Molina.
The protest followed a congressional committee report presented during a plenary session on Friday, in which lawmakers proposed stripping Pérez Molina’s prosecutorial immunity in order to move forward with their corruption investigation.
Protesters on Saturday marched from the Supreme Court building to the presidential palace, carrying placards with slogans of “Pérez Molina, out” and “They messed with the wrong generation.”
“The president’s resignation would bring some fresh air to the situation … it would be a good way to move forward,” Juan Alberto Fuentes, former Finance minister and member of the group “Semilla,” said during the protest.
In early May, former Vice President Roxana Baldetti resigned amid allegations of her involvement in a customs-fraud operation known as “La Línea.” Nearly a month later, authorities arrested the president of Guatemala’s Central Bank, Julio Suárez, and former president of the Guatemalan Social Security Institute, Juan de Dios Rodríguez, who was at one time Pérez Molina’s personal secretary.
Since Baldetti’s resignation, at least 10 other high-ranking officials in the Pérez Molina administration have been implicated in corruption scandals, five of which are currently in the process of being stripped of their immunity.
“I don’t think anyone expected this scenario, in which for the first time in the country’s history, there is an effort by a state institution to stop corruption,” said Oscar Vásquez, director of Citizens’ Action, a Guatemalan NGO and the local chapter of Transparency International.
Vásquez attributes the progress to the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), led by Colombian attorney Iván Velásquez.