U.S. announces visa restrictions on 300 Guatemalans for “undermining democracy”

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By LatAm Reports Staff Writers

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller condemned in a statement “the undemocratic actions” of the Guatemalan Public Prosecutor’s Office against the country’s president-elect, Bernardo Arévalo de León.

The United States announced Monday that it banned the entry into the country of 300 Guatemalans, including 100 members of Congress, for “underwing democracy” from the Central American country.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller condemned in a statement “the undemocratic actions” of the Guatemalan Public Prosecutor’s Office against the country’s president-elect, Bernardo Arévalo de León.

Miller gave as an example the arrest warrants against electoral workers, the request to withdraw Arévalo’s immunity from prosecution and attempts to overturn the election results.

According to Joe Biden’s administration, all these actions demonstrate the “clear intention to delegitimize” the elections and “prevent” the inauguration of Arévalo in January, and constitute a violation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

The visa restriction on 300 Guatemalans seeks to “promote the accountability of corrupt and undemocratic actors in Guatemala and support the will of the Guatemalan people,” Miller explained.

The State Department did not detail the identities of any of the 300 sanctioned, including the 100 deputies. The Guatemalan Congress consists of 160 legislators.

“The Guatemalan people have spoken. Their voices must be respected,” the spokesman stressed.

On December 1, the U.S. sanctioned Luis Miguel Martínez Morales, a close collaborator of Guatemala’s outgoing president Alejandro Giammattei, for corruption.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Central American country, whose leadership is also sanctioned by the United States, has been accused of trying to prevent progressive politician Arévalo de León, winner of the elections, succeeding Giammattei as the new president of Guatemala next January.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office (Proscal Council) of Guatemala tried again last Friday to tear down the triumph of the president-elect with new accusations against him and also on the Supreme Electoral Court. These are the keys to understanding the “attempt at the stroke,” as the OAS has called it.

The prosecution’s prosecution

Since July, after the surprising second place in Arévalo de León, the Prosecutor’s Office has tried with several criminal cases to reverse the triumph of Arévalo de León and in the face of his few advances in this section, it has also launched a criminal battle against the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

According to experts and analysts, this is due to the fact that an investiture of Arévalo de León on January 14 would be the beginning of an anti-corruption regime, which in turn would bring to justice for bribes to dozens of officials, former officials, businessmen, ministers, military, deputies and former presidents, in addition to the leadership of the same Prosecutor’s Office.

 The crumbling Electoral Tribunal
Despite attempts by the Prosecutor’s Office to annul the elections this Friday, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal indicated at a press conference that the results of the elections are sealed and accredited.

However, the Tribunal is crumbling, as four of its full judges left the country in the face of the prosecution. Even the same president of the Court, Blanca Alfaro, said that a decision of the country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, does have the power to annul the elections.

The Constitutional Court
The highest court in the country, the Constitutional Court, will therefore have the last decision on the elections and an annulment of them would have no record since the establishment of democracy in 1986. So far, the judges have not ruled.

The Court is composed of judges mostly related to the current president, Alejandro Giammattei, and his allies in Congress.

The surroundings of Giammattei
On December 1, the United States sanctioned the former government’s former government’s former government member Miguel Martínez Morales, who was accused of millionaire corruption and other alleged crimes, with the “Magititsky Law.” The sanction was disclosed just after Congress removed its immunity from electoral magistrates.

According to the opposition deputy and first openly homosexual legislator in Guatemala’s history, Aldo Dávila, Martínez Morales would be Giammattei’s sentimental partner.

In this regard, consulted by the local press, Martínez Morales said that “you themselves say so,” without further comment on it.

The pressure of the United States and the OAS
Over the past 45 days, three U.S. delegations have arrived in the Central American country to meet with local authorities and verify the electoral transition process.

Added to this is a group of senators and legislators who arrived last Friday, December 8, in Guatemala. However, the Prosecutor’s Office rejected any kind of international interference that day and everything points to the fact that they are willing to maintain the pulse for reversing the electoral results.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in El Salvador