Following the general election result in August, the attorney general of Guatemala, Consuelo Porras, is now doing her best to prevent the president-elect, Bernardo Arévalo, and his party, the progressive left-leaning Movimiento Semilla (Seed Movement), from taking office on January 14. Her latest bid involved accusing the party of illicit association and an attack on cultural property following their support via social networks of those who protested the fraudulent election of the rector of the influential University of San Carlos (USAC) in 2022, the country’s only state university.
In the early morning of November 16, Porras launched a manhunt consisting of 31 raids and 27 arrest warrants for university professors and students, journalists and social leaders, including the former ombudsman, Jordán Rodas, the strongest candidate for the USAC rectorship, who has been in exile for more than a year. Five professors and a number of students have been arrested and stand accused of trumped-up crimes. Later that same day, Porras revealed that she aimed to strip the elected Seed Movement and six opposition politicians of immunity, thereby interfering with the democratic process.
Consuelo Porras is a bureaucrat who went unnoticed in the courts for 30 years. She is said by those who have had dealings with her to dance to whatever tune appears to be in her favor. Seemingly innocuous, she was appointed attorney general in 2018. It was not long before she revealed herself to be anything but, showing herself intent on dismantling the rule of law by thoroughly corrupting justice. A religious fanatic, immune to massive popular protest and international sanctions, she has viciously persecuted independent justice figures and dissidents, stating that she is “saving Guatemala from communism.” She tends to hide herself away and takes what her inner circle feeds her as gospel. Hence, her surprise at the October mass protests in October over the suspension of Arévalo’s party following his landslide August victory. Since then, she has ramped up her security.
However, Porras and her team of prosecutors have not been acting alone. Miguel Martinez — conservative President Alejandro Giammattei’s spin doctor — and Congressman Manuel Conde, are pulling the strings. They have huge resources as a result of four years of corruption and use it to bribe politicians, prosecutors, judges and magistrates. Porras’ is also supported by the troglodyte faction of the rapacious oligarchy, which has cultivated a symbiotic relationship with neo-fascist groups. Among their ranks are the same former intelligence officers who sowed terror during the country’s armed conflict (1960-1996), known as the mata-amarrados. Every week they come up with fantastical plans that they execute in just the right measure to keep democracy in a state of instability.
Unlike when democracy came under threat in Venezuela, Nicaragua and El Salvador, the international community is responding fast to the crisis in Guatemala due to the illegitimacy of the current regime and a legitimate elected opposition.
The U.S. and the EU are increasing their capacity for coordination and the Permanent Council of the OAS — Organization of American States — has met five times since the post-electoral crisis broke out, the last meeting taking place on November 15 with a resolution overwhelmingly against the current conservative Guatemalan regime. Meanwhile, voices are being raised urging the application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Guatemala’s U.S. representative, Patrick Ventrell, has already spoken out about individual sanctions on politicians, officials and businessmen that are being ramped up and could disrupt trade relations if the Attorney General continues to try to destabilize democracy.
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