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Weekly Report - 26 January 2017 (WR-17-03)

GUATEMALA: Morales’ anti-corruption pledge put to the test

President Jimmy Morales was forced to admit last week that the situation facing his family is “difficult”. His remarks follow the 18 January announcement by the attorney general’s office (AG) and the United Nations-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig) that his brother and son, Samuel Everardo Morales Cabrera and José Manuel Morales Marroquín, had been detained on fraud charges, along with eight others. The move is linked to a case uncovered in September 2016 involving suspected corruption at the national property registry office (RGP) which took place under the previous administration led by Otto Pérez Molina (2012-2015). President Morales has sought to distance himself from the case, highlighting remarks made by AG Thelma Aldana that “there is no evidence in the investigation…suggesting [his] participation”. Yet it remains a major embarrassment for the president whose surprise electoral victory in 2015 stemmed from an anti-corruption platform.

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