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  • Renewed Democratic Liberation (LIDER) party's presidential candidate Manuel Baldizon addresses supporters during a political rally in Villa Nueva, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, September 4, 2015.

    Renewed Democratic Liberation (LIDER) party's presidential candidate Manuel Baldizon addresses supporters during a political rally in Villa Nueva, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, September 4, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 March 2018
Opinion

Manuel Baldizon, who twice ran for the Guatemalan presidency was arrested by U.S. authorities at Miami's international airport on account of Odebrecht corruption charges in his home country.

The former Guatemalan presidential candidate and business magnate, Manuel Baldizon, will remain in a Miami jail until at least May.

RELATED: 
Obeying Trump, Guatemala Confirms Israel Embassy Move to Jerusalem

Baldizon, who ran for the Guatemalan presidency in 2011 and 2015, was arrested by U.S. authorities on Jan. 20 as he entered the Miami airport in accordance with an Interpol arrest warrant stemming from corruption charges in his home country.

Upon his arrest, U.S. airport authorities found the former politician was traveling with a revoked Visa and claiming to be seeking political asylum.  

Today’s hearing was a follow up to his first which took place on Feb. 26 when Baldizon was made aware of why he was being detained.  

"The United States will follow established international protocols to return Mr. Baldizon to Guatemala to face justice," was what U.S. officials announced when the politician was arrested, yet Guatemala's foreign minister has not had access to the hearing's outcome and the Miami judge has not taken statements from the Baldizon’s lawyer.

It’s unknown whether or not the judge will present a verdict regarding the former presidential candidate’s case at the May hearing.

Baldizon is wanted by the Guatemalan state prosecutor’s office and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig) who jointly accuse him of receiving Odebrecht kickbacks in the amount of US$1.2 million in exchange for a US$399.8 million highway construction contract. The former minister of communication, Alejandro Sinibaldi Aparicio, is also implicated in the case.

Also in Guatemala, The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), a media monitoring organization will give its highest honor — the Emet Award — to the Ambassador of Guatemala to the United States Manuel Alfredo Espina Pinto on May 6 in recognition of Guatemala's "longstanding and courageous support of Israel," according to the Jewish News Syndicate.

This award comes after the Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced earlier this month his country will move its embassy to Jerusalem on May 16 to support the U.S. decision to do the same.

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