Jimmy Morales’s war on Guatemala’s graft-busters
“NEITHER corrupt nor a thief.” With that slogan Jimmy Morales, a comedian with almost no record in politics, won Guatemala’s presidential election in October 2015. It is easy to see why that line, and that biography, persuaded voters. The election came just after the country’s president and vice-president had been jailed on charges that they masterminded a scheme to bilk the customs authority of its revenues. That turned out to be one of several scams in which they allegedly took part. The detective work that led to their downfall was carried out by a UN-backed “commission against impunity” (CICIG) and Guatemala’s chief prosecutor. It came after months of protests by tens of thousands of Guatemalans.
Mr Morales has let them down. CICIG is investigating claims that his party took illegal donations, including from drug-traffickers. It has asked congress to strip him of immunity from prosecution. In response he has declared the chief of the commission, Iván Velásquez, persona…Continue reading