Guatemala’s anti-corruption president attacks anti-corruption commission

September 1, 2017, 11:01am

Guatemala is in the midst of its second political crisis in as many years, thanks to comedian turned president Jimmy Morales.

The country elected political outsider Morales in 2015, hoping for a fresh start, after its former president was brought down in a corruption scandal that shocked the country. But less than two years into his term, Morales is locked in a battle with one of the anti-corruption mechanisms that may have helped him get elected.

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The United Nations and a previous Guatemalan administration launched the anti-corruption commission popularly called the CICIG in 2007. It’s designed to root out high level organized crime from the government. The commission is popular in Guatemala.

On Sunday, Morales declared the head of the CICIG a persona non grata and gave him 48 hours to leave the country. The country’s highest court quickly deemed Morales’ declaration illegal.

But many Guatemalans aren’t taking solace in the court’s ruling, and suspect that Morales’ failed move is part of a larger attempt to shield himself from ongoing fraud and illegal financing investigations into his family and political party.

The scandal has shattered Morales’ image as an honest president, and has triggered calls for his resignation.