RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Thousands of Guatemalan peasants began this Monday a series of mobilizations and road blockades to demand the resignation of the country’s president, Alejandro Giammattei, for alleged acts of corruption during his government.
Organized by the Peasant Development Committee (Codeca), which claims to bring together some 200,000 people in Guatemala’s 22 departments, the demonstrators have blocked at least 19 routes in the country, including those leading to the Mexican border, the southern coast, and the Atlantic Ocean, among others.
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According to the group leaders, they plan to block at least 48 strategic points throughout the day as a pressure measurement for the resignation of the president and the attorney general and head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) Consuelo Porras.
According to an initial report by authorities verifying traffic, the entrance to the Guatemalan capital through the southern coast is blocked.
Guatemalan peasants are demanding the resignation of Giammattei and Porras for being implicated in cases of corruption and impunity in the country, especially after the removal on July 23 of the anti-corruption prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval, by decision of Porras.
Sandoval, who uncovered more than 50 corruption cases in the last six years, was dismissed for allegedly carrying out “selective justice”, according to Porras’ argument. Still, the former prosecutor rejected the accusations and pointed out that it is the head of the MP who “seeks impunity” in favor of her friends.
The former anti-corruption prosecutor went into exile in the United States on July 24, from where, through a lawyer, he has asked the Supreme Court of Justice to reinstate him in his post for having been dismissed “illegally”.
Sandoval’s dismissal was harshly criticized by US authorities and also by the international community in Guatemala, as well as by various sectors of the population.
The mobilizations against Giammattei, under the search for a “plurinational strike”, were initially called by the indigenous organization 48 Cantones de Totonicapán, which was later joined by other indigenous, peasant, and popular groups of the country, although the call has not had the support of the businessmen.
Last Thursday and Friday, there were also blockades on different highways in the Central American country, and, according to Codeca, the demonstrations will continue this Monday.