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  HOME | Central America

Guatemalan Government Gives Visa to CICIG Chief

GUATEMALA CITY – The Foreign Ministry notified on Tuesday Ivan Velasquez, the head of the UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), that it was granting him a visa, changing course after denying the corruption investigator a visa last week citing irregularities in the application process.

“The CICIG fulfilled all the requirements for officially obtaining a visa and they were notified,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman told EFE.

On Oct. 9, the Foreign Ministry told Velasquez in a letter that the visa issued to him a week earlier had been revoked due to irregularities in the application process and that Guatemalan immigration officials had been notified of the situation.

The decision came after President Jimmy Morales, a former comedian who rose to power on an anti-corruption platform, sought in late August to expel Velasquez from the Central American country for allegedly exceeding his mandate.

The Constitutional Court, however, immediately suspended the expulsion order, which Morales issued after the CICIG had accused the president of failure to report anonymous campaign contributions and said it would move to strip him of immunity from prosecution.

Although no one has linked the two incidents, Velasquez had expressed confidence that the situation would be resolved.

The CICIG, whose objectives include probing the existence of illicit security forces and clandestine organizations that commit crimes affecting the basic rights of citizens, has dismantled nearly a dozen criminal structures in Guatemala since April 2015.

Former President Otto Perez Molina and erstwhile Vice President Roxana Baldetti have been jailed pending trial for allegedly co-directing one of those structures, a customs-fraud scheme known as “La Linea” in which importers allegedly bribed government officials in exchange for substantially reduced tariffs.

Velasquez’s visa was set to expire on Wednesday.

 

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