The Justice Department Reveals State Department Lies

Supposedly Corrupt Guatemalan Official Shows Commitment to Rule of Law

DOS sanctioned, without substantiation, Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras. (Flickr)

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A Justice Department (DOJ) March 16 statement contradicts what the State Department (DOS) has done and undermines what it has said. The Biden regime’s efforts against human smuggling have momentarily taken priority over the State Department’s criminal agenda in Guatemala.

DOS sanctioned, without substantiation, Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras on September 20, 2021, for supposedly interfering with criminal investigations: “Porras’s pattern of obstruction included … actively undermining investigations carried out by the Special Prosecutor against Impunity, including by firing its lead prosecutor, Juan Francisco Sandoval.”

The headline of the DOJ statement says the opposite: “Justice Department Announces Historic Guatemalan Human Smuggling Extraditions at Joint Task Force Alpha Summit.” It announced “the first ever extraditions from Guatemala to the United States on charges of human smuggling resulting in death, and the first Guatemalan smuggling extraditions to the United States of any kind in nearly five years.”

“The Department of Justice thanks Guatemalan law enforcement, who were instrumental in furthering this investigation.” DOJ fails to mention names or agencies. Porras and her ministry were not only instrumental but indispensable. Guatemala’s constitution grants Porras’s ministy autonomy and a monopoly on criminal prosecution. None of what DOJ announced could have happened without the participation of Porras and her ministry.

The Biden regime wants to parade positive news about the Mexican border. DOJ states it brought “together law enforcement leaders to discuss disrupting and dismantling human smuggling networks operating along the Southwest Border.” Possibly DOJ did not name its indispensable partner because DOS has called Porras corrupt, has canceled her US visa, and is running a defamation campaign against her.

DOS intervened last year in Guatemala’s attorney-general appointment process. An apparent DOS document—widely circulated—had a detailed plan for how to prevent Porras’s reappointment. In an April 28, 2022, hearing Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken to confirm its authenticity. DOS has not answered.

The lack of an answer confirms the document’s authenticity, which Smith had said he hoped was not the case. If admitted, DOS’s illegal intervention would be on display and would expose its criminal network in Guatemala. Congress would have to examine DOS behavior there and throughout the world.

If, as DOS claims, Porras were corrupt, she would not be placing herself under extra scrutiny and partnering closely with DOJ on intensive law enforcement. This enigma could soon create a problem for the Biden regime.

Among the reasons Porras gave for firing Sandoval on July 23, 2021, was that he had delayed action on a criminal referral the US Department of Homeland Security had filed on August 2, 2019. The referral alleged the NGO Asodefir had used a USAID grant to buy bank shares instead of for its intended purpose.

Despite Sandoval’s alleged obstruction of a case involving US taxpayer money, Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted after his firing: “We stand with the people of Guatemala and with Prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval, whom I recognized this year with an Anticorruption Champion Award. His dismissal undermines the rule of law and strengthens the forces of impunity.”

Sandoval’s successor, Rafael Curruchiche obtained 14 arrest warrants in the Asodefir case within nine months of taking his post. DOS then sanctioned Curruchiche in part for supposedly making spurious claims against prosecutors, which would include Sandoval.

Sandoval has also been charged in the infamous Odebrecht case. He conspired with his boss, former Attorney General Thelma Aldana, and former Commissioner Iván Velásquez of CICIG (a UN-created anti-impunity commission). This trio and partners illegally granted releases to Odebrecht officials.

DOS has criticized the charges against these three people, despite the prosecution having released documentary evidence. Blinken wrote a letter praising Sandoval and his “dedication to fighting corruption”—adding by hand, “With appreciation for your leadership.”

DOS has criticized money laundering and extortion charges against José Rubén Zamora, the owner of a newspaper, as persecution of journalists. The judge unsealed the case, and the evidence against Zamora is a slam dunk, including his own assertion that he was an intermediary for the US embassy.

Sandoval, a fugitive in the United States under DOS protection, has been trying to undermine the prosecution. In a recent interview, Curruchiche explained, “There are recordings everyone has been able to hear that have established the close ties between Zamora and Sandoval and that many times Sandoval passed sealed case information to Zamora that he would publish and use to extort the target. Sandoval has stated he has removed sealed ministry information and delivered it to [DOS], and this is a crime.”

Curruchiche also said there are four arrest warrants against Sandoval. Curruchiche has “formally requested the United States extradite him” and noted Sandoval enjoys US protection.

Will DOS or DOJ interests prevail regarding Sandoval’s extradition? If the US government refuses to extradite Sandoval, despite the voluminous evidence against him, Guatemala will have little reason to extradite anyone to the United States.

That would sacrifice national security to protect DOS’s criminal network in Guatemala from exposure. DOS almost certainly is also engaged in such activity in other countries. This makes congressional investigations urgent.

Read the original on BizPac Review.

Steven Hecht

Editor at Large Steve Hecht is a businessman, writer, and film producer, born and raised in New York. He has lived and worked in Guatemala since 1972. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Master of Business Administration in Banking and Finance, both from Columbia University. He has worked on development projects in Guatemala to help the country leave its underdeveloped state and reach its great potential. Realizing the misconceptions prevalent about Guatemala and Latin America in the outside world, he has written for the Washington Times, Daily Caller, Fox News, Epoch Times, BizPac Review, Washington Examiner, Frontpage Mag, New English Review, PanAm Post, and PJ Media. He has appeared as a guest on national American media networks and programs, including the One America News, Newsmax, and The Lars Larson Show. Steve’s reporting has included meeting with coyotes, the human smugglers who have ferried millions of illegal immigrants into the United States via Guatemala’s 595-mile border with Mexico.

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