FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2023
Chicago — In response to the recent actions of Guatemala’s Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP, which is the acronym used in Spanish), Alianza Americas expresses its deep concern regarding the lack of impartiality, transparency and violation of the electoral due process.
The work of the MP is essential to guaranteeing the rule of law and the proper functioning of institutions meant to promote justice. The person in the role of attorney general plays a fundamental role in the leadership of the MP. Unfortunately, the actions of Attorney General Consuelo Porras have been questioned as a result of allegations that she has acted in the interest of a criminal alliance and for misrepresenting Guatemalan institutions in favor of this alliance. It is vital that the actions of justice operators are impartial and remain free of political influences or external agendas.
The recent filing of a writ of protection, allegedly to restrict the freedom of expression of those requesting the resignation of prosecutor Porras, is the most recent example of the use of institutions meant for the administration of justice for purposes contrary to justice. The denial of the appeal by the Constitutional Court is positive news for the protection of freedom of expression, a fundamental element in a democratic society. Criticism plays an essential role in the monitoring of power and accountability.
The recent raids at the residence of the parents of Juan Francisco Sandoval—the former prosecutor from the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity (FECI, which is the acronym in Spanish) who is currently in exile due to threats to his safety—and the detention of his lawyer Claudia González—known for her work in the defense of various cases of criminalized former justice operators— demonstrate how imperative it is that due process in Guatemala is guaranteed and that the rights of the persons tasked with the integrity of these processes are respected. This is yet another case in which the administration of justice is being used for purposes contrary to justice.
At this critical moment, we are dismayed that the MP of Guatemala seems to have been transformed into an entity that pursues partisan political objectives. The relationship between these raids and the case of Magistrate Blanca Stalling raises doubts about the motivations of the actions undertaken. The situation is more than worrisome, as the attorney general seems to benefit a selective persecution that threatens the integrity of justice and democratic stability.
Additionally, the recent decision of the General Directorate of the Citizen Registry, a branch of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE, which is the acronym used in Spanish), to provisionally suspend the Movimiento Semilla party leaves us astonished. This decision took place before the TSE made official the results of the elections and recognized the triumph of Bernardo Arévalo and Karin Herrera, elected under the banner of Movimiento Semilla in the presidential runoff on August 20th. Respect for democratic rules and fairness in an electoral process are essential pillars to ensure representation and respect for the voice of the citizenry.
The impartiality and independence of the administration of justice and the guarantee that electoral processes are carried out in a transparent and fair manner are fundamental for Guatemala. As part of the international community, Alianza Americas is staying vigilant on the situation in Guatemala and the actions that distort institutionality and weaken the rule of law.
Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America.