How to Spot a Puppet for US Meddling in Guatemala

The State Department Is the Problem (Part III)

How to spot a puppet for US meddling in Guatemala. These candidates are wolves in sheep's clothing, but there are ways to identify them.

Porras was obligated by law to pursue Sandoval's crimes. (@MPguatemala)

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

Do not vote for a candidate representing the socialist US State Department (DOS) and not Guatemalans. These candidates are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but there are ways to identify them.

DOS has taken over leadership of the toxic guerrilla agenda from prior to the 1996 peace accords, and this role can be seen from DOS actions right up until the present. For example, DOS immediately began to persecute military veterans as part of the guerrilla agenda once it had Claudia Paz y Paz in office as prosecutor general. She committed numerous crimes, including giving illegal written instructions to ministry prosecutors to use against veterans.

Trials against military veterans contained illegalities and multiple violations of due process and the defendants’ constitutional rights. Two successive US ambassadors—Todd Robinson and Luis Arreaga—attended the Sepur Zarco and Molina Theissen trials, respectively, and praised them despite their similarity to Soviet show trials.

Those who think this does not affect them are mistaken. A government that arbitrarily arrests its political targets and keeps them in jail illegally for years can do it to each and every person.

Judicial corruption is contagious. It cannot be limited to only political enemies because it requires judges that knowingly rule against the law, such as Yassmin Barrios, Erika Aifán, Gloria Porras, Miguel Angel Galvez, and Pablo Xitumul. In executing the DOS agenda these judges could rule illegally and count on DOS protection—at least until the new Constitutional Court in 2021. Now, even if brought to heel, they can count on ideological intimidation and DOS attacks on Guatemala’s government.

Corrupt and politicized justice scares off investors. This limits opportunity. Proper application of justice creates opportunity.

Every candidate claims to favor and promises to institute rule of law. Voters and the media should insist candidates clearly state their position regarding the trials of veterans. A candidate who fails to condemn the corruption in the veteran trials is likely to be a DOS puppet.

Pacto de Corruptos

Pacto de Corruptos is a catch phrase invented by DOS agents and allies to demonize their enemies, a typical socialist tactic. Former Prosecutor General Thelma Aldana used the term. Primer Informe identified bank accounts she controls with about $10 million in various tax havens.

Beware of candidates who use the phrase Pacto de Corruptos to describe their political opponents. Hollow allegations are mere gossip. Ask what the target candidate has done. Ask for specifics.

Prosecutor General Consuelo Porras

DOS sanctioned Prosecutor General Consuelo Porras for, among other things, having fired Juan Francisco Sandoval. His many crimes in the Bitkov, Odebrecht, Valdez Paiz, Asodefir, Multicausa, and other cases are public and well known.

Porras was obligated by law to pursue Sandoval’s crimes. The same was true regarding other DOS prosecutors and judges, such as Aldana and Aifán. Their crimes were public.

When Porras took office in 2018, her ministry was present in 64 municipalities. By 2021, it was present in all 340. Under Porras’s leadership, the ministry created 278 agencies in municipalities, nine branches, and 18 special branches. The ministry created four agencies for crimes against women in the interior of the country. Seven specialized branches coordinate investigations with US agencies.

The US Justice Department announcing unprecedented cooperation from Guatemala regarding human smuggling issued a statement on March 16: “The Department of Justice thanks Guatemalan law enforcement, who were instrumental in furthering this investigation.” It does not mention the Public Ministry or Porras, probably because DOS intervened to try to hide its corrupt, politically motivated attack on Porras.

Only Porras and the ministry she leads have the authority to do what the statement praises. Her unprecedented cooperation with US agencies, despite DOS sanctions against her, demonstrates her commitment to law enforcement.

DOS violated US law and the US Congress’s intention behind the law under which it sanctioned Porras. If she were corrupt, as DOS says, she would not cooperate with the US Justice Department and other US law enforcement agencies.

Unlike Porras’s two DOS puppet predecessors, who concentrated on politics and corruption instead of their job, Porras has brought her ministry to all parts of Guatemala. She has valiantly prosecuted former judges and prosecutors who have committed crimes, all while knowing the State Department would attack her for it.

Voters should demand candidates clearly state their support or opposition regarding Porras. Any candidate who repeats DOS lies and attacks on Porras will adhere to its policies that harm Guatemala.

The Zamora Trial

The trial of José Rubén Zamora is another test issue for DOS supporters. DOS claims it is persecution of journalism. However, the fact is that this is a straightforward criminal case unrelated to Zamora being a journalist.

Zamora, the owner of the newspaper ElPeriódico, was arrested on July 29, 2022, on charges of extortion, money laundering, and influence peddling. Guatemalan authorities caught Zamora’s employees delivering about $39,000 in cash in exchange for a check from someone Zamora had recruited to disguise the money’s source. The case was unsealed by the court pursuant to a prosecution request, making this information public.

A former Zamora attorney pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, as did the newspaper’s chief financial officer to the same offenses as Zamora. This constitutes evidence against Zamora under Guatemalan law.

Former prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval gave Zamora confidential information about Ronald García, who had criminal charges pending against him. Zamora used the favor to induce Garcia to launder money, but Garcia reported it to the authorities, which is how they caught the crime in the act.

Voters should insist candidates take a clear position on the case. Whoever states it is persecution of journalism is likely a DOS candidate. People should discuss the evidence and the seriousness of the prosecution and decide for themselves. DOS characterizes the case against Zamora as persecution to keep its own crimes from being exposed.

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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