Guatemala president faces mounting pressure in scandal

first_imgThe protest march was led by university students, but drew a broad cross-section of Guatemalan society.Even fast-food restaurants joined in — McDonald’s and Domino’s Pizza shut so their employees could march.“All our restaurants will remain closed. We are joining in the change reshaping our country,” said a message posted to the Twitter account of McDonald’s Guatemala.“This is a historic march. The president is a coward who no longer represents national unity,” said student Iván Castillo.The Guatemalan Comptroller General’s office said it would allow employees to leave work for the march.It urged Pérez Molina to step down, saying he must go “to preserve the peace in Guatemala in the face of demands from diverse sectors of the population.”That came hours after the Public Prosecutor’s Office called on him to resign “to stave off the inability to govern that national instability could cause.”Elsewhere in Guatemala, protesters blocked highways with picket lines, shutting down at least 10 major roads in the north and west of the country.Graft hotlineThe scandal was first uncovered by a United Nations commission set up to investigate high-level corruption in the Central American country.U.N. investigators say Pérez Molina, ex-vice president Roxana Baldetti and a raft of other top officials operated a scheme in which businesses paid bribes to clear their imports through customs at a fraction of the actual tax rate.The scandal has been dubbed “La Línea,” for the hotline investigators say importers would call to access corrupt officials.Baldetti, who resigned in May, has been arrested and charged with siphoning off some $3.8 million between May 2014 and April 2015.A judge ruled Wednesday that she must remain in jail pending trial.The probe has also netted the head of Guatemala’s Tax Administration, his predecessor and several dozen other agency officials.The heads of the central bank and Social Security Administration were also arrested in May over a separate corruption case uncovered by the U.N. commission.The scandal has prompted an exodus from Pérez Molina’s Cabinet as ministers seek to distance themselves from the president.Six of his 14 ministers have resigned in recent days, along with several other top officials.Pérez Molina has not been seen in public for five days.With many Guatemalans exasperated with their political leaders, some have called to postpone the elections until sweeping reforms are implemented in the country of 15 million people, 53.7 percent of whom live in poverty. Facebook Comments GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — Guatemala’s Congress launched an investigative committee Thursday to consider revoking President Otto Pérez Molina’s immunity, as thousands of protesters called on him to resign over a swirling corruption scandal.Pérez Molina has been left increasingly isolated since U.N. investigators accused him of running a massive fraud scheme at the national customs service, a scandal that has already felled his former vice president and caused nearly half his Cabinet to resign in protest.Shouting “Resign now!” thousands of Guatemalans took to the streets in the capital in a show of outrage at the conservative president, 10 days from elections to choose his successor.The 64-year-old retired general, in office since 2012, cannot run for re-election under the Guatemalan Constitution.He has apologized for the fact the graft happened on his watch, but denies involvement and has rejected calls to resign before his term ends in January.Carrying signs with messages like “Otto the Thief” and “Corruption is sucking our lifeblood,” protesters vented their anger against the entire political establishment, after weeks of increasingly disturbing allegations of high-level graft.Read all The Tico Times’ coverage of the recent turmoil in GuatemalaThe five-member Congressional committee considering lifting Perez’s presidential immunity, which was chosen by lots, comprises three opposition lawmakers and two from Pérez Molina’s coalition.It was formed after the Supreme Court gave the green light to prosecutors’ request for impeachment proceedings.The committee has 60 days to make a recommendation to the full chamber on revoking his immunity, which would require the backing of at least 105 of the 148 lawmakers.A similar vote failed earlier this month — but that was before Pérez Molina had been formally accused of involvement in the corruption.Even McDonald’s joins in Related posts:In Guatemala, Pérez Molina claims US conspiracy behind corruption prosecution In Guatemala, anti-establishment presidential candidate benefits from corruption scandals Guatemalan legislative commission recommends lifting President Pérez Molina’s immunity Guatemala top prosecutor Thelma Aldana speaks out against corruption and impunitycenter_img McDonald’s apoya a Guatemala y cierra sus restaurantes el día de hoy. pic.twitter.com/ExySYaAKwD— McDonald’s Guatemala (@McGuate) August 27, 2015last_img read more

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first_img Comments   Share   Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories D.J. was good, depending on who you askOne of the bigger story lines this camp is the progression of second-year pro D.J. Humphries, last season’s first-round pick who was inactive for every game but is penciled in to be the starting right tackle this year.Friday was his first significant game action since last preseason, and while he appeared to get beat on some plays, it did not appear as though anything he did poorly was catastrophic.Arians said he thought Humphries “played extremely well” from what he was able to see, adding that they ran the ball pretty well when heading in the right tackle’s direction.QB Carson Palmer agreed with his coach’s assessment, saying Humphries “looked really good.”“Khalil (Mack) is probably the second best pass rusher in the league already and to go out against him in your first time at home when you’re jacked up, I think it took him a little bit to settle down,” he said. “He said he was really amped up and I thought he really did a good job.”Humphries admitted his personality is such that he gets excited, which can work against him at times. He said there are some bad plays from Friday that will stick in his mind. Add in the fact that the final score matters so very little, and you have a rather difficult night to try and assess.That said, the Cardinals did share some thoughts following their 31-10 loss to the Oakland Raiders, and below are some of the notes worth highlighting.Good players played wellCoach Bruce Arians seemed pleased with his first teams, both offense and defense.“I liked the way we started,” he said. “I thought our good players played well. We got them out quickly, they were successful. Showed up ready to play.”To that end, QB Carson Palmer was 3-of-5 for 38 yards, David Johnson gained 31 yards on three carries, Chris Johnson totaled nine yards on three runs and Michael Floyd gained 30 yards on his one reception.Defensively, the starters surrendered a first down, but not much else.From there it was no doubt a mixed bag. Arians said he thought there were some good individual performances from some of the younger players, but noted the collective result wasn’t particularly great.Asked about the idea that the team’s good players were the ones that played well, defensive lineman Calais Campbell laughed.“For the starters, we were out pretty quick,” he said. “On defense, I mean, it wasn’t a three-and-out but they made a first-down completion real quick, and then we shut them down, made them punt. Then we were done.” Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs in the open field as he gets past Oakland Raiders’ Ben Heeney (50) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retirescenter_img Arians seemed especially miffed at the formation problems, noting that it’s a thing that should be learned in high school.“You can read a wristband, it ain’t real hard,” he said.Barkley was in the locker room after the game, but had no time to stop and chat because his wife was going into labor.For Campbell, it’s no fantasyMixed into Campbell’s answer about the team’s good players playing well was his thoughts on Carson Palmer, who he said looked good, and David Johnson, who he said was “definitely going to be my first pick in fantasy football this year because he looked amazing.”Campbell said he could not remember who he took first overall last year, but remembered earning some ridicule for nabbing Johnson in the fourth or fifth round.“And then he turned out to be a crucial piece to my championship run,” he said. “I did win a championship — insider information, I don’t know. My team was full of Cardinal players.”And yes, that includes the defense for which he plays.“Oh yeah,” he said. “I usually take the defense pretty high, too. Some people — I’ve been doing it with my family a lot of years — they try to take them early just because they know I really want them so they try to trade me later, but I’m strategic about my game plan.” “I know I’ve got to come out and not over-set on guys that have great inside moves,” he said. “Just come out and I watched enough film, I knew what I was going to get. I got so excited, I just kind of got out there and was like ‘I want to put my hands on this guy’ and it doesn’t work out like that; you can’t play like that. You’ve got to play sound to your technique and let the game come to you.”Still just 22 years old, Humphries said he began to get more comfortable as the night wore on, and he is confident that he’ll be “pumping on all cylinders like I’m supposed to” by the end of the preseason.Matt Barkley’s performanceFor Cardinals fans, Friday was the first opportunity to see QB Matt Barkley running the team’s offense in a game. To say his night was a rough one would not necessarily be inaccurate, though, at the same time, there are factors beyond the QB’s control that could have led to some poor statistics.In all, Barkley completed 8-of-24 passes for 121 yards with one interception.“Good and bad and ugly,” Arians said of his performance. “He had some really nice throws; forgot to send a motion on three plays in the formations for his receivers, so we didn’t have a play. But other than that, he did make some nice — he can make every throw, it’s just some of those little things he’s got to clean up.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact GLENDALE, Ariz — There are certain things one should look for in a preseason game, but the truth is, the only people who can really judge most performances are the coaches.They know where players are supposed to be; they know if someone played well or not.That’s not to say one cannot tell certain things, like if a receiver drops a pass or a defensive player misses a tackle, but really, there is plenty we really, truly cannot understand or make declarations from. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelolast_img read more