Friends, I write you now upon receiving the news that Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina has lost his political immunity following a vote in congress this afternoon. Members of a pro-Perez union tried to restrict congress members from entering congress to vote and arrived early this morning with bats and sticks to intimidate citizens. As a response, hundreds of Guatemalans showed up with flowers and made a human chain to allow members of congress to enter without delay. Inside, 132 members of congress voted to cancel the President’s immunity. Guatemalans are celebrating this historic moment in the streets and country side of Guatemala with crowds shouting and singing the national anthem. Tens of thousands are already in the capital’s Central Plaza.
Perez Molina and his corrupt administration were uncovered in April amidst a fraud scandal within the government revenue and immigration agencies (see our article that we published last Friday here). Former vice-president Roxana Baldetti has already been criminally charged. During her arraignment hearing last week, Perez Molina’s voice was heard giving orders via wiretap to “gets things moving.”
Guatemalan general elections are slated to happen this Sunday, September 6. It remains unclear whether they will go ahead given the current situation.
Perez Molina is also known as Tito Arias, his nom de guerre from his time as a Guatemalan Military General in the Quiche region during the Internal Armed Conflict. Arias was also mentioned during the 2013 genocide trial against Efrain Rios Montt, for the role he played in the genocide against the Maya Ixil people.
We will send more information as it comes in!
In elation and solidarity,
Jackie & Lisa