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Government Corruption

March 19, 2010: Portillo's Extradition could take five years. Experts believe five years may pass before Ex-President Portillo is tried in the U.S. justice system, where he has been charged with conspiracy to launder $70 million from the Guatemalan state. Portillo has appealed the charge. If he is found guilty in Guatemalan courts, he must serve his sentence in Guatemala before his extradition and trial in U.S. courts. [Prensa Libre]

February 27, 2010: Interior Minister Raul Velasquez deposed for involvement in money laundering. Velasquez was dismissed yesterday after the discovery that at least Q20 million (approximately US$2,450,600) paid to energy company Maskana, S.A. to provide fuel for the police ended up in the bank accounts of companies in the U.S., Brazil and Panama and in personal accounts of individuals related to Maskana. Investigations revealed that Maskana and the Guatemalan companies who received funds were fronts and their offices did not exist. It is unclear whether Velasquez received funds as part of the deal. [Prensa Libre]
The new Minister, Carlos Menocal, is a journalist by training who has worked with many of the major Guatemalan papers. In March 2009 he was named by Colom as the Anti-Impunity Commissioner, in charge of coordinating with the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). On his first day in office, Menocal removed the four Vice Ministers who served under Velasquez and has named two of the four replacements. [Prensa Libre] [elPeriodico]

February 20, 2010: Mack Explains National Civil Police Crisis. Helen Mack, head of the Presidential Commission for Police Reform believes that poor working conditions contribute to corruption within in the National Civil Police. Mack argues that to combat corruption within the police force, working conditions for police must improve.  She cited the example of police who after graduation from the police academy did not receive their salaries.  The director was quick to point out that these conditions do not justify the corruption but that they do exacerbate the problem.  Mack believes that with transparency and sufficient funding, results could be seen in a year and a half. [PrensaLibre]

January 27, 2010: Guatemalan Ex-president Portillo captured

January 20, 2010: 21 Active Charges against Salvador Gándara. Salvador Gándara, ex Minister of Government and mayor of Villa Nueva, continues to accumulate charges against him.  Some of the already 21 charges against him include abuse of authority, coercion, illegal detentions, constitutional violations, threats, disappearances, contamination and money laundering.  The charges are divided into administrative crimes, crimes against the environment and against Villa Nueva.   He is also accused of providing a false witness, Olvidio Batz Tax, in the Rosenberg case.  One obstacle to the case was that the judge assigned by the Supreme Court had received the notification to begin his investigation.  However, on January 27th, the Supreme Court suspended Gándara’s amparo (habeas corpus) and the court can now begin investigations. [Prensa Libre]

September 25, 2009: Arrests may confirm police-criminal links. The arrests of several current or former police officers in the death of a prominent lawyer proves that many police are in bed with organized crime, analysts said. Six of the 10 suspects were current or former police officers, including the alleged ringleader, William Gilberto Santos Divas, a former official in the National Civil Police known as "El Comisario.'' Another, Edwin Idelmo Lopez, was a military specialist until 2005, according to authorities. [Miami Herald] Read more on the Rosenberg case.

August 8, 2009: Former PNC Directors banned from leaving the country. The Guatemalan Criminal Court banned five former chiefs of the PNC who are under investigation from leaving the country. The first legal action was issued against Porfirio Pérez Paniagua, former director of PNC, Rolando Pérez Mendoza, who served as deputy director, Víctor de Jesús López, a former deputy director of operations, and Hector Castellanos, a former deputy director of investigations. Another person who was banned from leaving the country is Orlando Villatoro Alvarado, former chief of operations in the Special Criminal Investigation Division (DEIC). [Prensa Libre]

August 7, 2009: National Civil Police dismisses leadership. Porfirio Pérez Paniagua, Director of the PNC, Rolando Pérez Mendoza, deputy director, Victor de Jesus Lopez, deputy director of operations, and Hector Castellanos, assistant director of research, were dismissed last Thursday (August 7). The Public Ministry (MP) immediately launched an investigation against them for their alleged responsibility in the theft of at least 119 kilos of cocaine. Besides these removals, there were 23 policemen in the place where the cargo was discovered, so as they are also now under investigation. The new Director of the PNC was named Baltazar Gomez Barrios, former head of la División de Análisis e Información Antinarcótica (DAIA). The officer has 23 years of working in the institution, and becomes the fourth person to lead the PNC during the current government. The new deputy director, Werner Geovanny Leal Yaxcal, comes with 19 years of police experience. The new deputy director of operations is Otzín Leonel Jaime Diaz, who has 17 years of working in the police; and the deputy director of research was named Benigno Ottoniel Barraza Martinez.[Prensa Libre]

July 9, 2009: Salvador Gándara will leave Ministry of the Interior. The departure of Salvador Gándara from the Ministry of the Interior will take place July 15, according to official sources.  Yesterday morning, President Alvaro Colom said Gándara was being "evaluated," but unnamed party officials have said that Gándara has submitted his resignation and President Colom has accepted it.  There are rumors that Raúl Velásquez, former Deputy Minister of Community Support, would replace Gándara.  Gándara entered the position with the support of First Lady Sandra Torres de Colom, with whom he had previously worked.  However, a lack of improvement in security has led to the fourth change in the position since Colom took office. [Prensa Libre]





Violence Against Women

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