Guatemalan President Arévalo Vows to Remove Controversial Attorney General

Guatemalan President Arévalo vows to remove corrupt Attorney General Porras, launching an anti-corruption campaign to restore democracy and rule of law in the country.

Trim Correspondents
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Guatemalan President Arévalo Vows to Remove Controversial Attorney General

Guatemalan President Arévalo Vows to Remove Controversial Attorney General

Guatemalan President Bernardo Arévalo has pledged to remove Attorney General Consuelo Porras from office, accusing her of using her position to intimidate critics and undermine his anti-corruption efforts. Arévalo, a 65-year-old social democrat who took office in January 2024, has launched a campaign to root out corruption in the Central American nation.

Porras, who has been sanctioned by the United States and European Union for being "corrupt" and "anti-democratic," withdrew from a cabinet meeting with Arévalo. In response, the president filed a lawsuit against her for "dereliction of duty." However, the court has not yet ruled on the matter, and Porras has filed a request to remove Arévalo's immunity in order to prosecute him for alleged money laundering.

Why this matters: The battle between Arévalo and Porras highlights the challenges faced by leaders attempting to combat corruption in Guatemala. The outcome of this power struggle could have significant implications for the country's democratic institutions and the rule of law.

Despite the legal obstacles, Arévalo remains committed to his anti-corruption campaign. In his first days in office, he presented 34 corruption cases to the justice system and eliminated over 1,300 unnecessary government positions that he described as a "corrupt exchange mechanism." Arévalo has also reversed some of his predecessor's decisions, such as the presidential decree that provided ministers and secretaries with armored cars and security agents.

However, political analyst Renzo Rosal warns that Arévalo's fight against corruption risks becoming just "narrative and a set of good wishes" because the justice system "is playing in favor of the actors who seek to maintain their impunity." The new administration has filed criminal complaints against former Health Minister Amelia Flores for alleged fraud in the purchase of 16 million doses of the Russian Sputnik vaccine and against two former officials for irregularities in the construction of 14 schools.

Arévalo has vowed to continue his efforts to remove Porras through legal means, stating that "order and cleanliness are not achieved overnight." He described the fight against corruption as the most important challenge, emphasizing that public funds were previously used to "fatten the pockets" of a "perverse minority" and perpetuate a corrupt system. Arévalo declared, "I will not rest until Porras, whom I describe as a 'threat to democracy,' is removed from office through legal means."

Key Takeaways

  • Guatemalan President Arévalo pledges to remove Attorney General Porras for corruption.
  • Porras, sanctioned for corruption, withdrew from a cabinet meeting with Arévalo.
  • Arévalo filed a lawsuit against Porras, but she seeks to remove his immunity.
  • Arévalo's anti-corruption campaign faces legal obstacles from the justice system.
  • Arévalo vows to continue efforts to remove Porras through legal means.