Sires, Cook Express Strong Concern over Recent Guatemalan Actions
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, issued the following statement on Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales’ recent announcement that he would not renew CICIG’s mandate, the abuse of U.S.-donated military grade vehicles, decision to prevent the return of the CICIG Commissioner to Guatemala, and deteriorating investment climate conditions.
Ranking Member Sires and Chairman Cook:
“We are deeply troubled by President Morales’ recent decisions. While we respect Guatemala’s sovereignty, the U.S. has, on a bipartisan basis since 2007, supported CICIG’s work to help the Public Ministry prosecute corruption cases and strengthen the rule of law. We continue to support bipartisan efforts on Capitol Hill and in the Administration to push for legitimate reforms that will improve CICIG’s effectiveness. CICIG should not remain in Guatemala indefinitely, but we believe CICIG’s work is critical during this time. We have also advocated for Guatemala to improve its investment climate, and recent decisions directly impede those efforts, threatening Guatemalan jobs, and increasing risks of more migration to the U.S.”
“We urge President Morales to reconsider the renewal of CICIG’s mandate and allow the return of the CICIG Commissioner, as these actions threaten U.S. foreign assistance to Guatemala. Further, the unexplainable show of force outside CICIG’s offices and the U.S. embassy using U.S.-donated vehicles also puts future U.S. equipment donations to Guatemala at risk. We note Secretary Pompeo’s call yesterday with President Morales and urge the State Department to continue its longstanding, unequivocal support for CICIG’s anti-corruption work in Guatemala and important CICIG reform efforts.”
*NOTE: On February 14, 2018, Chairman Cook and Ranking Member Sires sent a letter to President Morales urging an improved investment climate and affirming support for CICIG and the Attorney General.