Popular Protests Challenge Corruption and the Political Establishment

More good commentary regarding the demonstrations that have taken place in Guatemala over the corruption scandal that has led to the resignation of the Vice-president.

Jeff Abbott reflects from the demonstrations that took place on the 16th of May (#RenunciaYaFase2) when “tens of thousands of Guatemalans took to the streets of the capital city to express their rage with their corrupt politicians, and to demand that they all resign.

The weekly protests have drawn tens of thousands to the streets in an organic, decentralized mobilization of indignant citizens demanding that all the corrupt politicians must go.

The demonstrations began shortly after a joint investigation by Guatemala’s Public Prosecutor’s Office and the United Nations sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) uncovered a massive tax fraud ring, which has become known as “The Line.” On April 16, 22 people, including current and former heads of the Guatemalan tax collection agency were arrested for defrauding the state of $120 million dollars.

The administration was initially able to avoid being linked to the fraud ring, but came under intense scrutiny after Juan Carlos Monzón, the personal secretary of Vice-President Roxana Baldetti, was identified as the leader of the crime ring. Soon after the charges were filed, Monzón disappeared in South Korea while on an official visit alongside the Vice-President.

The Vice President quickly took steps to distance herself from her former secretary. On April 19th she held a press conference to give her side of the story, but quickly cut off the event because of intense questioning by the Guatemalan press, further stoking mistrust in the administration. Shortly after Guatemalan society erupted in indignation and began demanding the resignation of the Vice President, President, and other members of the administration thought to have been involved in the scheme. The “Resign Already” (#RenunciaYa) movement was born.”

You can read the full article here on Upside Down World. It has also been published on ZNet (here). Well worth reading.

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Categories: Justice, Solidarity in Action

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