Guatemalan Democracy’s Chief Enemy Is Foreign

The State Department Is the Problem (Part I)

Every election, Guatemalan voters say the most important issues are security and opportunity. Guatemalan democracy's chief enemy is foreign.

Every election, Guatemalan voters say the most important issues are security and opportunity. (Flickr)

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Editor’s note: this is the first installment of a four-part series on the US State Department’s interest in the 2023 Guatemalan elections. See Part II here, Part III here, and Part IV here.

Every election, Guatemalan voters say the most important issues are security and opportunity. The greatest obstacle to achieving these objectives is the US State Department (DOS).

Voters should look at what DOS has done in the last 13 years. Guatemalans should also insist that candidates for president and Congress clearly state their positions on key issues. This will identify DOS supporters and those who would be prone to folding under DOS pressure.

DOS Treachery: 2010 to Today

The guerrillas signed the 1996 peace accords because they had failed to overthrow the government. Adhering to the Sao Paulo Forum plan, the former guerrillas transitioned from armed combat to internal subversion. In 2010, DOS took over leadership of this effort, using Orwellian words of democracy as cover.

DOS abused its power in 2010 to install Claudia Paz y Paz as prosecutor general. She executed the DOS agenda but failed, because of her crimes, to gain reappointment. That was despite DOS’s best efforts to back her. After DOS gave her successor the choice between joining its team or going to jail, Thelma Aldana took over where Paz y Paz had left off.

Realizing that controlling criminal prosecution was insufficient, DOS used the UN anti-impunity commission (CICIG) as a battering ram to appoint Gloria Porras to the Constitutional Court (CC). Then using the UNE Party as its figurehead, DOS changed the Electoral Law to steal the 2019 election.

The DOS CC was the worst court in Guatemala’s history and maybe one of the worst in world history. To promote the DOS agenda, the CC continuously violated the Constitution it was sworn to uphold. Despite obvious CC crimes and harm to Guatemala, DOS repeatedly praised and defended the court.

Many Guatemalans are unaware of this because DOS and its allies exacerbated media corruption. Major media promoted DOS propaganda and suppressed truth, just as now happens in the United States. This media deception particularly applied to the CC and CICIG.

As its major backer and ideological soulmate, DOS controlled the CICIG. DOS officials were terrified that President Jimmy Morales would work with their supposed boss: US President Donald Trump. DOS had the CICIG illegally pursue Morales and his family. DOS then warned Trump not to work with him because of the corruption charges it had created.

This led to Morales expelling the CICIG, a huge setback for DOS. The head of the special branch against impunity of the Public Ministry, Juan Francisco Sandoval, consequently became the spearhead of DOS’s agenda.

By the time the CC term was ending in 2021, Guatemala’s authorities were aware the CC had significantly harmed the country: lower investment, fewer new jobs, and increased violence. They appointed magistrates who would not perform DOS’s bidding.

Without DOS control of the CC, Prosecutor General Consuelo Porras could apply the law to the DOS stable of corrupt judges and prosecutors. She fired Sandoval for, among other reasons, obstructing an investigation—the Asodefir case—begun by the US Department of Homeland Security into the illegal diversion of USAID money.

To protect its criminal agents, DOS violated the 2020 US law that created the Engel List. DOS arbitrarily began to sanction its political targets in 2021, including Porras, to fight back against her prosecutions. DOS claimed Porras had obstructed justice for, among other things, having fired Sandoval—even though his crimes were in the public domain.

DOS does not care about due process, just as DOS does not care about its agents committing crimes against another US government department.

DOS Needs New President to Hide Its Crimes

The criminal prosecutions of DOS agents—Sandoval, former judge Erika Aifán, Aldana, and others—is full of risks for DOS. Members of the US Congress last year asked many questions about DOS interference in the 2022 prosecutor general selection process and its misuse of sanctions. DOS ignored or evaded the questions because Democrat soulmates controlled both chambers of Congress.

If the new Republican-majority Congress pursues the answers to its questions, DOS could be exposed for its criminal actions in Guatemala. This would include former Ambassador Todd Robinson threatening members of Guatemala’s Congress to appoint Gloria Porras to the CC, a crime for which its official could be prosecuted in the United States.

On June 7, Chair Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere pressed Robinson—now chief of the INL, the DOS counternarcotics bureau—regarding his work with Porras. Robinson replied, “we are working with those prosecutors that we think can be useful and are not working in an antidemocratic or corrupt manner.”

If INL works with the Public Ministry, as DEA does, INL must work with the prosecutors Porras appoints by constitutional mandate. Not working under this arrangement with the ministry—i.e. with specific prosecutors of Robinson’s choosing—would be illegal. Either Robinson answered inaccurately or he admitted committing crimes.

Robinson and his DOS career colleagues are coming under congressional scrutiny and will have a hard time hiding their crimes.

DOS might avoid exposure of its crimes if the next president can find a way to force Consuelo Porras out of her position and install a successor DOS controls. With control of the presidency, DOS could then abuse power to undo the prosecutions of DOS criminal agents and regain control of the CC and Congress.

DOS would then continue its efforts to impose immoral collectivism on Guatemala.

Editor’s note: the second installment addresses how to identify DOS-favored candidates.

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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