Protesters are back on the streets of Guatemala demanding the resignation of President Otto Pérez Molina – with up to 100-thousand just on PLaza de la Constitución in the capital. Also the Contraloría General de la Nación (CNG, Court of Auditors) has joined the attorney general’s office in demanding the resignation of the Head of State, apparently implicated in the customs corruption scandal – a case known as “La Línea” – a scheme involving businessmen, officials and privates, who paid kickbacks to evade taxes, that is believed to have defrauded the state of millions of dollars.
In a statement, the court orders the retired General to “immediately hand in his resignation to avoid any further incidents with unpredictable consequences”. The attorney general’s office had motivated the demand with the need to avoid “ungovernability”.
President Pérez Molina is suspected to be among the ringleaders of the corruption scheme, involving his former vice-president Roxana Baldetti, who was arrested and is being detained pending a court decision on her responsibility.
The fate of the President lays in the hands of a special committee set up by Congress, dominated by the government majority, to decide whether or not to begin the complex impeachment procedure, starting with the revocation of his immunity. The committee was set up yesterday and includes Mario Linares and Gloria Sánchez of the President’s Partido Patriota, (PP); Jorge Mario Barrios Falla and Sergio Celis of the conservative Libertad Democrática Renovada (Líder); and Nineth Montenegro of the Encuentro por Guatemala, who is in fact the only opposition member. Nineth Montenegro denounced the total disinterest of the other members of the panel to examine the report on Pérez Molina to establish the possibility of his implication in the case. No meetings or deadlines have been set so far for the committee, as the September 6 general elections approach.
Meanwhile, the President’s son, Otto Fernando Pérez Leal, mayor of Mixco, lost his immunity to allow an investigation for misappropriation of funds and mismanagement of his functions.
Reports of the last hours also indicate that former Interior minister Héctor Mauricio López Bonilla, ‘loyalist’ of Pérez Molina, and ex Defence minister Manuel Augusto López Ambrosio, both under investigation for corruption, landed yesterday and the day before in Panama. The reasons for their travel are currently unknown.