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Yearbook 2018

Guatemala. In mid-October, the National Congress voted no to waive President Jimmy Morale's immunity for the third time, preventing him from being put on trial for illegal campaign funding in conjunction with the 2015 election campaign. After that, Congress voted for changes in criminal law that, among other things, absolve party secretaries from responsibility for just illegal campaign finance. Shortly before, the Supreme Court had approved a request from the UN-supported Commission on Impunity (CICIG) and the National Prosecutor's Office to investigate Morale's handling of campaign funds in 2015. The transparency in public business was also strongly questioned by President Morale's decision not to renew CICIG when its mandate expires. out in September 2019. At the same time, he dismissed CICIG's chief Iván Velásquez and banned him from staying in Guatemala.

2018 Guatemala

According to, Human Rights Watch highlighted CICIG, which has reported most of Guatemala's ex-presidents since 1996 for corruption, as one of the most successful anti-corruption agencies in Latin America. CICIG also enjoys great public confidence. In September, a series of demonstrations were held with thousands of participants in protest of President Morales, and both the Minister of Labor and the Minister of Finance resigned. However, the decisions of Congress in October ended up in the media shadow of the so-called migrant caravans of refugees from Central America, many of them from Guatemala, through Mexico towards the US border.

On April 15, a referendum was held on how to resolve the old border dispute with Belize. Of the voters, 96% said yes to the proposal to have the matter submitted to the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ).

One of Central America's most active volcanoes, Volcán de Fuego, only four miles from the capital Guatemala City, received no less than five eruptions during the year. The June 3 outbreak was the strongest in 44 years, with more than a hundred fatalities and major damage to farmland in the region. President Morales issued state of emergency in three surrounding provinces but became the object of protests and demonstrations due to delayed handling of the disaster.

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