Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why we defend CICIG

Barbara Schieber, editor of the Guatemala Times, sent me the following editorial that she authored for that publication. Given its description of the value of the Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG) from a Guatemalan perspective, I thought it was worth re-printing it here on my blog. I do so with the permission of Barbara and the Guatemala Times. MD

Why we defend CICIG

(Read the original article here)

Reading our most frequent critical messages from readers, we are surprised to see that most people interpret that recognizing the work of the Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG) is equal to defending and supporting the government of Álvaro Colom. For some critics of CICIG, CICIG is the same as the current government, for these critics, there seems to be no distinction between the two institutions. That is not only ridiculous, it is also very scary. It denotes a severe degree of ignorance or an intentional disinformation strategy.

The most hate mail we receive is related to our reporting on CICIG. The readers who write to us are convinced that we must be a government owned news site because we are not attacking CICIG. We want to inform that we are one of the few news sources in Guatemala that does not have any government advertising, nor do we receive funding from any other institution. We are independent.

Having cleared up this misconception we have the following opinion about CICIG:

We applaud, support and believe in CICIG´s work, both under Carlos Castresana and under the new commissioner Francisco Dall´Anese.

CICIG is the only hope for justice that Guatemala has had and will have for the future. Is CICIG 100% perfect? No. But there is nothing 100% perfect in Guatemala or in the world. And for anyone to pretend that an institution has to be 100% perfect in order to be useful and constructive is plain idiocy.

The concept of justice managed by Guatemalans who benefits from an ineffective justice system is self-serving: They only want justice tailored to their benefit. And that is not justice, that is prostitution of justice.

Well, that is what we had before CICIG came to Guatemala, Justice was a prostitute, and it still is in many instances.

In ex-president Alfonso Portillo's case, his friends, allies, ex-members of his government and business associates were attacking CICIG and they keep at it.

In ex- minister Carlos Vielman's case, his friends, allies, business associates, and ex-members of the Berger government are attacking CICIG and they will not stop. The best example is ex-vice president Eduardo Stein, who was an active promoter and supporter of CICIG until it touched some of his friends and ex-members of the government he was part of.

In the Rosenberg case, where CICIG actually saved Guatemala’s democracy, the anti government sectors attacked CICIG because the findings of CICIG prevented President Colom from going down.

Critics of CICIG are people who consider themselves to be from the right wing, from the left wing and whatever else they call themselves (including the dark forces).

By logical deduction, the sectors that have the most to lose by a functional, independent justice system are by default the sectors who want to destroy CICIG. That includes all the sectors that now make more money and have more power - be it economic or political - because justice has not reached them (yet). The current government of President Álvaro Colom has to be included in the list of sectors that are actively obstructing CICIG´s work.

By the way, resistance to functioning judicial systems is not just a Guatemalan phenomenon, or a Guatemalan problem. What makes Guatemala somewhat different is that there are always several Guatemalas, never a nation.

The best example I can give of another very notorious place where the enforcement and strengthening of “Lady Justice”” is very unpopular, is on Wall Street.

Guess why?

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