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Corruption erodes democracy in Guatemala

On 4 September 2018, President Jimmy Morales denied Iván Velásquez Gómez – Commissioner of the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) – entry to the country. President Morales announced he would not renew the Commission’s mandate.

On 16 September, the Constitutional Court of Guatemala voted to overturn the ban, but President Morales refused to comply, causing a constitutional crisis. Protests broke out in September, and more than 2,000 police, backed up by military units, prevented protesters from marching to Congress.

This was not Morales’ first attempt to block efforts to tackle corruption and impunity. In 2018, a series of bills were proposed in Congress that posed huge threats to civic space, including onerous CSO registration requirements and anti-terrorism legislation that effectively criminalises criticism of the government.[1]


[1] Front Line Defenders, Democracy & Human Rights at the Crossroads in Guatemala, 19 September 2018, available at