Guatemala’s attorney general called for an impeachment process against President Otto Perez Molina on Friday, for his alleged connection to massive corruption scandals swirling around the government.
The call comes hours after former Vice President Roxana Baldetti was arrested for her alleged involvement in a fraud network known as “La Linea” operating through the country’s customs agency. Baldetti resigned May 8 amid popular pressure, after embezzlement scandals began to emerge.
According to the U.N.’s corruption body in Guatemala, CICIG, documents reveal a “close relationship” between Baldetti and Perez, particularly regarding the president's direct involvement in illicit activity in La Linea.
Last week, Guatemala’s congress voted to uphold Perez Molina’s presidential immunity from trial. The decision blocked further investigation into the president’s alleged involvement in corruption and the potential for his impeachment as a result of a congressional probe involving several delays.
CICIG’s investigations into a wave of corruption scandals, which have implicated several high-level government officials, have fueled popular discontent with the government and prompted widespread calls for Molina’s immediate resignation.
The political shake-up comes just weeks before Guatemala’s general elections are set to take place Sept. 6. Social movements have called for elections to be postponed in the face of political crisis and for a null vote in protest under the popular banner “under these conditions, we don’t want elections.”
President Perez Molina has repeatedly reiterated he will not resign, and will carry out his term until January.
Under the Guatemalan constitution, Perez Molina is barred from running for re-election.
“Wow, I thought I’d never see this day” – Refering to the arrest warrant for Baldetti.
Señor @ottoperezmolina ya no hay excusa el antejuicio ahora fue interpuesto por el MP y CICIG, usted debe renunciar ya— José E. Valdizán (@Jevaldiz) August 21, 2015
Mr. Otto Perez Molina, there’s no excuse before the (Guatemala’s pre-trial proceedings), and now the MP and CICIG, you should resign already.
Protests in Guatemala against corruption have been shaking the country for close to four months now.
“The marches are significant because they brought together a wide range of sectors including business, academic and student, indigenous and campesino, as well as unaffiliated citizenry who are simply fed up with corruption and impunity,” Ellen Moore, Guatemala Programs Coordinator for Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, also known as NISGUA, told teleSUR in June.
The CICIG today has confirmed the structure of La Linea. (President) Otto Perez Molina and Baldetti are at the head of it.