Luis Almagro OAS Secretary General, AFP
OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said on Monday that the Guatemalan prosecutor’s office cannot be allowed to violate the country’s “institutions and constitution” as the transfer of power process is “under threat”.
Bernardo Arevalo, a member of the Social Democratic Party who was elected president of Guatemala, said his Semilla party was the victim of judicial persecution after prosecutors called for the suspension of the movement due to registration irregularities in 2017. accused of being.
Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) has lifted the disqualification until October 31, but the situation remains very tense.
As Mr. Almagro said on Monday, when he submitted a report on his mission in Guatemala to OAS member states, the transition process of the outgoing right-wing government of Alejandro Giammattei and Mr. Arevalo is “under threat.” It is estimated that .
“It is unacceptable for an elected president to take office as an independent,” he told a meeting of the Permanent Council. He explained that this would have an impact. , the executive branch of the OAS in Washington.
The Secretary-General, who visited the country twice in September, said there were “threats” to the process, one of which was the public prosecutor’s office.
“The complaints expressed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are not clear, have no legal classification, and clearly persecute political parties,” he said, adding that there were no problems with Semira until Arévalo ran for office. he recalled.
“Judges cannot decide whether to recognize or disqualify political parties,” he said. “We cannot allow the public prosecutor’s office, which has no authority over elections, to break anything (…), much less break the country’s institutions and constitution.” said emphatically.
In his opinion, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Criminal Court “intend to replace the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which has or will have a direct impact on the Constitution.”
Mr. Almagro does not have a good memory of his personal meetings with the Ministry of Public Affairs. The situation at that time is recorded. Although “the presentation was very specific,” it was “permeated with a negative atmosphere with possibilities” that often affected the transition process.
He told representatives of OAS countries that prosecutors had accused him of blackmail, assuming that the OAS would guarantee an investigation into the party.
“The problem is not there, but the use of the tools,” Almagro said. Furthermore, the prosecutor’s office presented “false information” during the meeting, pointing out that Semira was reluctant to investigate and that the OAS was also reluctant to investigate. That, he protested, was “false.”
Bernardo Arevalo and Alejandro Giammattei / Provided by the Government of Guatemala.
Mr. Almagro said that, like the demonstrations in several Guatemalan cities demanding the resignation of a judge and three prosecutors, including Attorney General Consuelo Porras, “no one will taint this transition process and it will be peaceful and peaceful.” It is requested that the measures be implemented in the future.
What is important for him is to continue the transition process in the run-up to Mr. Arevalo’s inauguration in January 2024, especially given Mr. Arevalo’s decision to suspend the transition process in protest of judicial attacks on his party. Because of that.
“Governance must be ensured,” he said, adding that dialogue and “open channels” with Giammattei and Arevalo should be maintained in a country facing structural problems such as drug trafficking and organized crime. He defended it as necessary.
Nevertheless, Almagro suggests a change in the “methodology” so that the meetings are “interpartite” and “not included in the continuum of public events.”
Congress must also follow in the footsteps of Giammattei, who he praised for recognizing “the will of the people” and for “playing an important role”, Almagro said.
During the session, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Mario Bucaro intervened remotely, telling Arevalo that while he “respected” the decision to halt the transition process, he did not agree with it, which could affect the transfer of command to each country. He asked them to refrain from speaking.