GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemalan Attorney General Thelma Aldana called on Monday for a meeting between Ivan Velasquez, the head of the UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), and President Jimmy Morales to discuss why the head of state declared the corruption investigator persona non grata.
“I think it would be prudent if we were to have a meeting with the president so that he can tell us what the problem is, so that if there are elements that we should correct, that can be done, and to explain to the president our duties and on what we have based our investigation,” Aldana told reporters.
Morales on Sunday declared Velasquez, a Colombian lawyer, persona non grata for involving himself in the country’s internal affairs.
Velasquez was ordered to leave Guatemala immediately for coercing lawmakers and manipulating magistrates via the media, although the Constitutional Court provisionally suspended that decision.
Meanwhile, the Guatemalan government said Monday that it is analyzing the legalities of Velasquez’s expulsion, although it did not specify whether it will comply with the constitutional ruling.
“At times like this, there is a complete legal analysis on the issue. What I can tell you is that the president respects the law, the state of law, the independence of the government branches and, in that sense, it’s an issue with a diplomatic character,” said spokesman Heinz Hiemann.
The country’s top judicial entity ruled in favor of Velazquez on two motions presented to avert his expulsion so that he – as local CICIG chief – may continue to pursue the fight against corruption and impunity along with the attorney general.
Hiemann said that Velasquez’s expulsion is a “diplomatic ... international” matter, although he did not provide any further details.
On Sunday, Constitutional Court chief justice Francisco de Mata Vela told reporters the injunction was issued in response to a filing by two attorneys.
“This court grants the temporary injunction requested and suspends the decision made by the president,” the chief justice said, adding that the Interior Ministry and Foreign Ministry should “abstain from executing the decision of the president, which is suspended.”
The judicial body’s justices voted 3-2 to grant the injunction, Constitutional Court spokesman Santiago Palomo said.