Guatemala’s president tried to shut down a U.N. commission that announced it was investigating him

From the Washington PostOn Aug. 27, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales ordered the immediate expulsion of the head of the U.N. Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, Iván Velásquez. Within hours, the country’s Constitutional Court had blocked the move.

Morales’s sudden announcement sent shock waves throughout Guatemala and the international community. Representative Eliot L. Engel, ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, issued a statement calling for closer scrutiny of Guatemala’s commitments vis-à-vis U.S. assistance.

What’s the story here? And what does it mean for Guatemala’s fight against impunity?

The CICIG, a unique international body authorized to collaborate on national investigations, offers Guatemalans the hope that members of government and the elite who commit crimes will no longer be immune from punishment. Since 2007 the group has worked hand-in-hand with the public prosecutor’s office to take on numerous landmark cases. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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