With democracy hanging by a thread, indigenous communities are leading nation-wide protests to allow President-elect Bernardo Arévalo to take office on January 14. The Root Causes Initiative, grassroots…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2023
Washington, DC – Tens of thousands of Guatemalans from all walks of life are engaged in large-scale, peaceful, pro-democracy protests demanding the resignation of Guatemalan Attorney General María Consuelo Porras. Porras is on the U.S. list of corrupt actors for jailing and exiling anti-corruption journalists, prosecutors, and judges. She is leading illegal efforts on behalf of a network of corrupt officials, business people, and organized crime syndicates to stop Guatemala President-elect Bernardo Arévalo from taking office in January. On September 12 and 30, officials from her office illegally raided the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. Now, Porras and outgoing President Alejandro Giammattei are threatening pro-democracy protestors.
The Root Causes Initiative released the following statement:
“As faith groups from the U.S., Mexico, and Central America working to address the root causes of migration, we call on President Biden and Vice President Harris to unequivocally stand with the Guatemalan people in their struggle for democracy.
The Biden-Harris Administration must publicly reiterate the right of Guatemalans to engage in peaceful protest. The human rights and the will of the Guatemalan people must be respected.
The U.S. should join calls from Guatemalans for Attorney General Consuelo Porras to resign and be prosecuted for corruption and human rights abuses.
We repeat our call on the U.S. State Department to impose targeted Global Magnitsky Act sanctions on Porras, Rafael Curruchiche, Fredy Orellana, and other corrupt officials and business people who have engaged in serious acts of corruption and human rights abuses, clearly meeting the legal test for Magnitsky sanctions.
Absent strong and consistent action from the U.S. and the Organization for American States, Guatemala faces political and economic chaos followed by even larger waves of migration.”
Along with this statement, the Root Causes Initiative released a letter today to President Biden and Vice President Harris from 1,200 religious and lay leaders calling on the U.S. to sanction the network of corrupt officials, criminal enterprises, and economic elites who have systematically undermined democracy in Guatemala.
The Root Causes Initiative is a network of faith-based and grassroots organizations and religious leaders from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the U.S. working to resolve the underlying conditions forcing people to migrate from Central America. The Root Causes Initiative’s Platform for sustainable and equitable development, human rights, and humane treatment of migrants is supported by 340 organizations and religious leaders across the region.