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Guatemala’s Attorney General refuses to resign

InternationalGuatemala’s Attorney General refuses to resign

Photo: Consuelo Porras, Guatemalan Attorney General

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Jan. 25, 2024

Tensions are escalating within the Guatemalan government headed by newly inaugurated President Bernardo Arévalo, due to the refusal of the Guatemalan attorney general, Consuelo Porras, who has opposed Arevalo’s presidency, to resign.

Barely a week after Arévalo’s inauguration on January 15, amid multiple challenges to his presidency, the conflict has intensified.

Porras, alongside Senior Prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche and Judge Fredy Orellana, had previously attempted to undermine Arévalo by discrediting his party, Movimiento Semilla (the Seed Movement).

Porras’ office aggressively pursued investigations against Arévalo, his vice president, and their party, including officials involved in the elections—going as far as issuing numerous arrest warrants, raiding party offices, and seizing electoral records and ballots.

The anti-corruption stance of Arévalo, a former lawmaker, diplomat, and sociologist who emerged victorious in the August 2023 elections, put him at odds with prosecutors accused of corruption and aligned with the nation’s elite.

Efforts to revoke Arévalo’s immunity, despite strong international support, were unsuccessful. It is believed that Porras’ last effort to disrupt the inauguration ceremony involved a nine-hour delay due to congressional disputes.

It was therefore no surprise that Arévalo, three days after his inauguration, sent Porras a letter requesting a meeting to seek her resignation.

Porras, however, publicly refused both the meeting and resignation in a video message published by her office, and has insisted on completing her four-year constitutional mandate.

“I am not going to resign,” she said in the video. “You (President Arévalo) as the maximum authority of the nation must respect what the (Constitution) and the country’s laws establish.”

She threatened legal action to block any attempts to oust her, citing the autonomy of her office.

Appointed in 2018 by then-President Jimmy Morales and reappointed in 2022 by Alejandro Giammattei, Porras has faced U.S. sanctions for impeding corruption inquiries and engaging in actions that have been deemed a threat to democracy.

In response to her defiance, Arévalo summoned her to a mandatory Cabinet meeting on January 22. He stated at a press conference that her absence would constitute a “breach of duty.”

Arévalo intends to query Porras on several matters, including COVID-19 vaccine purchases and alleged bribery in the previous administration.

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