A Guatemalan judge’s flight into exile signals trouble for US

Whitney Eulich writes in The Christian Science Monitor on the situation regarding the exile of Judge Erika Aifán and Washington’s increasing lack of influence in fighting corruption and criminality in Guatemala.

One of Guatemala’s most important judges, Erika Aifán, fled the country this month, saying she feared for her life. Her departure was not only a blow to Guatemala’s judicial independence, but it also signaled the shrinking influence of U.S. diplomacy in Central America.

Ms. Aifán sat on Guatemala’s high-risk court, and became at least the 15th high-profile judge or prosecutor to flee the country in less than a year. For more than a decade, Guatemala had been held up as the regional example of how to investigate high-level corruption; the rapid departure of so many independent members of the judiciary underscores the nation’s drastic about-face on fighting impunity.

Biden administration officials had repeatedly praised Ms. Aifán as an example of leadership. Yet, “that support did not have the impact [the U.S.] had hoped,” she told The Washington Post last week after announcing that she was afraid to return home because she risked being detained, despite a two-decade-long career in the justice system.


The halfheartedness of Washington’s efforts to make its influence felt may be explained by Central America’s low ranking in the table of U.S. security threats.

You can read the full piece, with photos and links, here, A Guatemalan judge’s flight into exile signals trouble for US.

Categories: Corruption, Criminalisation, Guatemala, Human Rights, Impunity, Justice, Legal, Violence

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