Department Press Briefing – July 27, 2021

Jalina Porter, Principal Deputy Spokesperson, image from Pixabay

The United States has made clear to the highest levels of Government of Guatemala our view that the fight against corruption is essential to our shared goals of strengthening the rule of law, increasing economic opportunity, and addressing the root causes of irregular migration. The message has been delivered consistently, without equivocation, by our ambassador in Guatemala and during recent visits of high-level U.S. Government officials that reaffirmed the partnership of our two nations, including the visit of Vice President Kamala Harris, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras’ July 23rd decision to remove Special Prosecutor Against Impunity, or FECI, Chief Juan Francisco Sandoval fits a pattern of behavior that indicates a lack of commitment to the rule of law and independent judicial and prosecutorial processes. As a result, we have lost confidence in the attorney general and their decision – and intention to cooperate with the U.S. Government and fight corruption in good faith. We understand the removal of the FECI Chief was a decision by a Guatemalan official acting within the official’s authority, but our concern is with the implications with this decision for the rule of law and regional stability.

As a result of the attorney general’s actions, the U.S. Government is temporarily pausing programmatic cooperation with the Public Ministry while it conducts a review of our assistance to activities the attorney general leads. We’re watching closely for additional actions that would undermine the rule of law or judicial independence in Guatemala.


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