Guatemala a test case in region-wide anti-corruption battle


Claudia Escobar Mejía denounced a massive corruption case in Guatemala involving Roxana Baldetti, then vice president of the country, and the former president of the Congress, EfectoNaim reports. With each denunciation, his list of powerful enemies and the death threats grew, forcing Escobar – currently a Reagan-Fascell fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy – to leave the country, described by one expert as a test case in a region-wide battle against corruption.

usually does not get a lot of attention from the international media, notes Escobar, who founded the Judiciary Institute and the Association for the Promotion of Institutionalized Democracy and Comprehensive Development – Asociación FIDDI, organizations dedicated to promoting the rule of law in Guatemala. But the Central American state has been gaining recognition for its serious efforts to fight corruption and impunity, she wrote recently:

Partly due to the legacy of 36 years of internal armed conflict, Guatemala has been plagued by a culture of impunity, as well as a legacy of criminal structures that infiltrated government institutions—structures that are still operating today, more than a decade after the 1996 Peace Accords. In response to this problem, the Guatemalan government to ask the United Nations for help in rebuilding the rule of law, and in response, the International Commission against impunity in Guatemala—CICIG—was created in December 2006 when the Guatemala Government and the UN signed the agreement.

“This new institution was conceived as an independent body to support the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the National Police, and other state law enforcement institutions,” Escobar wrote for the Global Anti-Corruption blog. “The ultimate goal of CICIG is to strengthen institutions within the judicial branch so that they will be able to confront illegal groups and organized crime.” RTWT

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