RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The vice president of Guatemala, Guillermo Castillo, asserted that his country does not deserve a government like the one it currently has and criticized the performance of his colleague in power,
“In 2.8 months, the current Government concludes. 20 years preparing for this?”, the Vice President wondered on his social networks this Monday at the stroke of midnight.
“We do not deserve an Administration like this,” added Castillo, who also said, “I am very lonely within the Government, but I will do my best.”
Castillo and Giammattei have been estranged since the beginning of the Government of both in January 2020, when they took office after winning the 2019 elections with Vamos’ political grouping.
“As citizens, we deserve a different Guatemala. More than the President, I beg the Council of Ministers to react. Nothing is forever. The bill will come sooner or later,” Castillo warned.
The differences between the two became more visible in November and December 2020 when Giammattei’s government went into crisis over the approval of a controversial state budget for 2021, which provoked massive protests and was eventually repealed.
At the time, Castillo urged Giammattei to “resign for the good” of Guatemala, although the vice president’s words did not resonate with the president.
Giammattei became president of Guatemala after almost 20 years of political life and three lost elections, until the 2019 election when he emerged victorious with Castillo, with whom he had a friendship of several years.
Both toured the country on several occasions between 2016 and 2019 to collect votes for the 2019 elections.
FOR STATE CORRUPTION
Castillo’s words this Monday night came after some local media uncovered various acts of state corruption with the handling of the covid-19 pandemic.
“We can’t go on like this. Today we all miss the actions of the Cicig”, exposed the vice president of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig), an entity of the United Nations Organization that, between 2015 and 2019, dismantled dozens of criminal structures in the country.
The entity, however, left the country in 2019 by decision of the president at the time, Jimmy Morales, who was under investigation for several corruption cases along with his family members.
Under the command of its commissioner, Colombian lawyer Iván Velásquez, CICIG indicted more than 200 politicians, ministers, congressmen, elite businessmen and presidents, and former presidents for corruption. “We promised in the campaign a different government. Far from nepotism,” Castillo argued.
“How many parents, spouses, children, or siblings (of officials) are hired in the Executive or other branches of government from January 2020 to date?” asked the businessman turned politician and vice president.
According to various indexes of international organizations, Guatemala is one of the seven most corrupt countries in the Americas. In addition, the Central American nation appears as one of the poorest in the continent, with 59% of its 16.3 million inhabitants under the poverty line and 20% surviving in extreme poverty.
Giammattei’s government has been accused of several corruption scandals, mainly involving people linked to the president, such as his former presidential secretary, Giorgio Bruni, or one of his great friends and until 2020 state official, Miguel Martinez.