GUATEMALA CITY – The Guatemalan public sector expressed on Tuesday support for the United Nations-sponsored International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and its commissioner, Ivan Velasquez, whose visa was revoked after the organization’s 10th report was made public.
Through its Privileges and Immunities subdivision, the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs revoked Velasquez’s visa on Oct. 10.
The head of the Special Anti-Impunity Prosecutor’s Bureau (FECI), Francisco Sandoval, said that what happened was expected, but it also seemed “paradoxical” that other CICIG officials’ visas were extended while the commissioner’s was not.
On Aug. 27, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales declared Velasquez persona non grata, the decision that was later annulled by the Constitutional Court.
On Sunday, hundreds of people gathered outside the CICIG’s office demanding the departure of Velasquez as well as the “respect for the rule of law.”
An earlier protest on Sept. 20 saw thousands of demonstrators supporting the CICIG and calling for Morales to be brought to justice.
Sandoval said that any peaceful demonstration is “a symbol of the exercise of the power of citizenship,” because it is “constitutionally established.”
The Prosecutor General and head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Thelma Aldana, said it is not significant that the president does not have the will to support justice reform, “since we supplement the absence of the president with our work,” which enjoys “excellent communication” with Congress, the Supreme Court of Justice, as well as other entities of the State, society, the press and the international community.
The head of the Human Rights Ombudsman, Jordan Rodas Andrade, said that the work of the CICIG “strengthens respect for human rights” by contributing to the fight against corruption and impunity.
“There are results that were previously unthinkable in the country,” said Andrade, while thanking the international community and the UN for the support they have provided through the body.
The two-year mandate of the CICIG in Guatemala is extended until September 2019, as well as the tenure of Velasquez.