Well, it seems Guatemala can’t catch a break. Faithful readers may remember some prior blog entries where I mention the CICIG, the Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, and the work of it’s director, Carlos Castresana. For whatever criticism Mr. Castresana and the CICIG have gotten, no one can deny the fact that more has been done in the past two years by Mr. Castresana and this organization to fight crime and corruption, then in anytime since the end of the civil war.
It was with a heavy heart that I read news earlier this week announcing Mr. Castresana’s resignation from the CICIG. From what I read, Mr. Castresana was frustrated with the lack of cooperation from the Guatemalan government, and stated that he could do no more for the country. The tipping point, apparently, was the appointment of Conrado Reyes as Attorney General, an individual whom Mr. Castresana believed was linked to organized crime. Alvaro Colom, the president of Guatemala, disregarded Mr. Castresana’s concerns and appointed Mr. Reyes anyway.
It’s interesting, however, that days after Mr. Castresana’s resignation the Constitutional Court of Guatemala handed down an ruling in which it ousted Mr. Reyes from the position of Attorney General. Colom is not disputing the ruling. Huh.
In a speech given to the press regarding his resignation, Mr. Castresana praised the success of the commission so far, giving a briefing on what they have accomplished so far, and what he recommends still needs to be done. He also stated he will be staying on board until a replacement is found.
Personally, I’m very sad to see Mr. Castresana go. He’s one of the first people that I have seen talk about the issues and problems facing Guatemala without holding back: he was not afraid to name names, and to call out people who were before untouchable. His replacement has big shoes to fill, and I wish them the best of luck.