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Bribery, court cases and earthquake in Guatemalan news week

The investigation was published last Tuesday by the Salvadoran digital newspaper El Faro and immediately had a reply in most national and some international newspapers, to the point that a day later the Communication Secretariat of the Presidency issued a statement and minutes afterwards, there was a press conference.

“We categorically reject any indication or unfounded assumption that seeks to link the ruler with former officials currently under investigation,” the text pointed out, referring to former Communications Minister José Luis Benito, who allegedly gave the money to Giammattei to finance his 2019 electoral campaign. .

Benito surrendered to justice on January 21 and has been in preventive detention since January 28, when he was linked to another trial for the crime of fraud in the Chimaltenango Bypass file.

He must also answer for the charges of laundering money or other assets, after a first statement hearing and the open file for the appearance of several suitcases of 16 million dollars in an apartment in Antigua Guatemala in his name.

According to the official note, the publication of El Faro responds to “false, malicious, manipulated and coordinated” intentions, which have joined “a smear campaign by the enemies of democracy and legality in Guatemala.”

That same day, the Secretary of Communication of the Presidency Kevin López called on the media not to replicate this type of false, malicious, constructed and coordinated news, López assured, in what seemed a desperate attempt to silence voices in a context also marked by complaints about criminal prosecution against judges.

This practice has been going on since last year, but last week it gained international notoriety again, after the arrest and imprisonment of two members of the defunct International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala and the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity for a confidential file.

Given the international repercussion of all these cases, the Head of the Public Ministry Consuelo Porras also came out to give her version, and incidentally describe the current media coverage as “biased and unfounded”, loaded with disinformation, she said.

In another news order, the week was marked by the earthquake of magnitude 6.8 on the Richter scale on Wednesday 16, which left three dead and almost 90,000 affected, as well as damage to homes and 22 highways in the country.

Nine departments felt more strongly the ravages of the shaking that occurred at dawn with an epicenter in the Pacific Ocean and the coast of Escuintla.


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