Bad apples everywhere

5 months ago Comments Off on Bad apples everywhere

WHEN Otto Pérez Molina resigned as Guatemala’s president last September and was promptly jailed on corruption charges, it was seen as the ultimate triumph for the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a UN-backed body of independent prosecutors and investigators, many of them foreign. Now it seems the scandal that led to Mr Pérez’s downfall—a kickback scheme at the customs agency—was just the tip of the iceberg. On June 2nd CICIG and local officials arrested 25 people and issued warrants for 27 more as they unveiled an accusation of jaw-dropping scope: Mr Pérez’s entire political party had been a mere front for a plan to capture and run the Guatemalan state for personal enrichment.

Political parties have long been weak in Guatemala. Every president since 1985, when regular elections resumed, has belonged to a different party, most of which are now defunct. So there was nothing unusual about Mr Pérez, a former general, founding the Patriotic Party (PP) in 2001 as a vehicle for his political ambitions.

But according to CICIG, by 2008 the PP was accepting illegal campaign contributions as…Continue reading