Guatemala Has Been Plunged Into Constitutional Crisis Over a U.N. Anti-Graft Probe

From Time(GUATEMALA CITY) — Two days after prosecutors announced they would seek to lift Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales’ immunity, he ordered the expulsion of the head of a highly praised U.N. anti-corruption commission and plunged into a faceoff with the nation’s top court and the international community.

It was a stunning reversal for a president whose predecessor had been forced to resign by the same body’s investigation two years earlier and who campaigned as the panel’s biggest advocate. “Neither corrupt nor a crook” was Morales’ campaign slogan.

What happened between the television comedian taking office in January 2016 and the constitutional crisis he provoked Sunday was that the U.N. commission and the aggressive Guatemalan prosecutors it has helped train over the past decade turned their sights on him and allegations of illegal campaign financing.

Morales has strenuously denied any wrongdoing, and rumors swirled last week that Morales’ visit to U.N. headquarters in New York was to get rid of the commission’s head, Ivan Velasquez. By Friday afternoon, Velasquez stood beside chief prosecutor Thelma Aldana to announce that they were asking a court to start the process for removing Morales’ immunity from prosecution, a move that would eventually need the support of congress. …

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