President Jimmy Morales of Guatemala on Friday shut down a crusading anticorruption commission sponsored by the United Nations that has pressed a number of high-profile investigations, including one pending against the president himself related to campaign financing.
Speaking in front of civilian and military leaders, Mr. Morales said he had informed the United Nations secretary general of his decision to revoke the body’s mandate and “immediately” begin transferring its capacities to Guatemalan institutions.
Minutes before the surprise announcement, army vehicles donated by the United States that Guatemala uses to fight smuggling operations were deployed to the commission’s headquarters in the capital in what critics called an attempt at intimidation.
The decision caps a long history of friction between the president and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, also known as Cicig for the initials of the commission’s name in Spanish.
At the time, Mr. Morales declared Mr. Velásquez a persona non grata and fired his foreign minister for refusing to carry out the order to expel him, before later backing off and saying he would obey the court’s decision.
.. “We sincerely regret the great mistake that the president made public in not renewing Cicig’s mandate,” said Jordán Rodas, Guatemala’s human rights prosecutor. “We are grateful for its valuable contribution in the country to the fight against corruption and impunity.”