Ugh.

So my last blog on the subject of ex-president of Guatemala, Alfonso Portillo, I wrote:

“This is a defining moment for Guatemala and its judicial system. I am hoping and praying that all parties play by the rules, and that Mr. Portillo doesn’t get off the hook on some crazy technicality, or the judge rules important evidence is inadmissible for whatever reason she gets paid to bring up. Guatemala needs to prove it can punish criminal behavior, that corruption will not go unpunished. Here’s their chance.”

For those not familiar, Portillo was president of Guatemala from 2000-2004, during which time he embezzled about $15 million. Might not seem much compared to the millions we’ve heard thrown around after the financial crisis here in the U.S., but $15 million in Guatemala is some serious cash-ola. Guatemala is also infamous for letting criminals off the hook (corruption, in general), given criminals have the necessary money and connections.

With the introduction of the CICIG in Guatemala, I really thought this trial was going to go differently. I’m not sure what part of my rationality caved in with this thought process.

Today it was announced that Portillo, AND his fellow ministers of finance and defense, were all innocent of the embezzlement charges. From what I can tell from the two short articles available at this time (nothing in English yet), it seems the accounting evidence fell short of proving what needed to be proven, and something or other about deficient audits. Well no shit–I wonder who’s fault that was. I’m looking forward to reading the opinion (if there is any), and seeing just how ridiculous it is.

Ugh.

(Radio Netherlands Worldwide)
“There’s nothing I can’t get away with.”

Damn you for being right.

Update: I guess the U.S. still has a chance to try him on embezzlement charges. At least he was stupid enough to go through U.S. banks! It also seems that a key reason there was insufficient evidence was because the judge threw out two of the prosecutor’s key witnesses for lying under oath. Hmmmmm..
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