Guatemala attorney general’s reappointment raises alarm

Sandra Cuffe writes in Al Jazeera about the re-election (re-appointment?) of Attorney General Consuelo Porras.

Guatemala’s controversial attorney general has started a second term, but Maria Consuelo Porras‘ last-minute reappointment this week has sparked widespread condemnation and new sanctions amid alarm over backsliding on the rule of law.

President Alejandro Giammattei swore in Porras for another four-year period on Monday, despite critics who accuse her of playing a role in dismantling anti-corruption efforts and judicial independence, including through the “persecution” of key anti-impunity prosecutors and judges.

“We are entering an authoritarian period in Guatemala,” said Edie Cux, legal director of Accion Ciudadana, the Guatemalan chapter of Transparency International, a global anti-corruption NGO.

“It generates not only a crisis of the justice system but also a crisis in general in the country,” he told Al Jazeera.

The United States announced new repercussions just hours after the swearing-in ceremony, barring both Porras and her husband from entering the US. Washington suspended aid to her office last year, as well.

“During her tenure, Porras repeatedly obstructed and undermined anticorruption investigations in Guatemala to protect her political allies and gain undue political favor,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement explaining the move.

You can read the full piece, with links, here, Guatemala attorney general’s reappointment raises alarm.

In response to the move, El Faro English presented a short thread on twitter.

President Giammattei has sworn in current Attorney General Consuelo Porras to her second term through 2026, despite serious accusations of obstruction of justice that led to aggressive sanctions from @StateDept and suspension of cooperation with @USAID.

Attorney General Porras has shielded President Alejandro Giammattei from major corruption probes. After @_elfaro_ published evidence that the president negotiated $2.6 million in campaign bribes, Porras said the Public Ministry would investigate the leak.

When Porras fired top anti-impunity prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval in July, he cited an investigation into the bribes as one of the reasons for his dismissal. He is now exiled in the US, and Porras dismantled the prosecutors’ unit working the case.

Porras was reelected after a process marked by intimidation. She threatened the congressional commission reviewing the candidates with “legal and administrative consequences” if they considered evidence that she had plagiarized her doctoral thesis.

Porras has become a main point of contention with the Biden admin. for “obstructing investigations into corruption.” In July @USAID cut off “senior level engagement” and “programming” with her office, and in September the @StateDept revoked her U.S. visa.

You can view the tweet here,

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

Tags: , , , , , ,

Post comments here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: