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Israel’s influence within the U.S. government threatens anti-corruption probe in Guatemala

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There’s a tantalizing hint about Israel’s influence within the U.S. government buried in a long article in today’s New York Times — about corruption in Guatemala. Here’s what happened; three years ago, hundreds of thousands of Guatemalan protesters forced their government to agree to an independent investigative agency to root out widespread corruption. The new International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig), backed by the United Nations, with U.S. financial support, was headed by a Colombian, and it immediately produced results, including the jailing of a former president.

But after the anti-corruption commission started striking close to the current president, Jimmy Morales, he abolished it, and prevented its head from even coming back into Guatemala. The Trump administration has remained mysteriously silent about Morales’s move — even though the U.S. had previously warmly endorsed its investigations.  

Why? There’s a hint deep in the Times’s story today. It turns out that 

Guatemala supported the Trump administration’s decision to move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem — and even followed suit, moving their own embassy there.

There is more. Back in May the billionaire pro-Israel gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson actually provided a Boeing 767 jetliner and flew the Guatemalan delegation to Israel for the ceremony.

An Israeli specialist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem explained then to the Times of Israel that both Guatemala and Honduras, another Central American nation which also moved its embassy, acted to protect their relationships with the U.S. Arie Kacowicz said,

They pretty much need and want support and legitimacy from the US and one way of achieving that is by being on friendly, cordial and even extraordinary terms with Israel.

These truths are jaw-dropping. The Guatemalan anti-corruption commission is a huge success, and a potential inspiration for similar probes in other nations. The Times article speculates that American silence about its demise could weaken efforts by Guatemalans to maintain it:

Without the stalwart support of the United States, many have wondered if the protesters can muster the force they showed in 2015, when hundreds of thousands filled the capital for months.

So. The Guatemalan president and his circle of thieves curry favor with the U.S. administration over Israel; the U.S. does Israel’s bidding (over a minor issue, the location of the embassy). And it is the Guatemalan people who suffer.   

James North

James North is a Mondoweiss Editor-at-Large, and has reported from Africa, Latin America, and Asia for four decades. He lives in New York City.

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4 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson on September 11, 2018, 3:25 pm

    RE: “Israel’s influence within the U.S. government threatens anti-corruption probe in Guatemala”

    ■ FOR SOME ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND, SEE: “Trump works to thank Guatemala for moving embassy by weakening anti-corruption panel”
    BY FRANCO ORDOÑEZ | | July 10, 2018

    (EXCERPT) After Guatemala joined the United States in moving its embassy to Jerusalem, the Trump administration has been working to weaken an international commission on corruption that is targeting the Guatemalan president, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

    The Trump administration is still debating what specific changes it wants to pursue, but talks between agencies have alarmed supporters in Guatemala and Washington who feel the changes could undercut the role the United Nations-backed body plays in combating official corruption and other root causes of illegal immigration.

    Proposed changes to the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, or CICIG, include changing the body’s mandate to more narrowly redefine corruption, increasing reporting requirements for donors, limiting terms of the commissioner and appointing a deputy commissioner which Guatemala would help select, according to the sources.

    Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, who with his family is a target of CICG’s investigations, has accused CICIG of abusing its power and has tried to oust the commissioner, Iván Velásquez.

    Until recently, the criticism largely went unheeded as the agency got credit for tackling crime and corruption. But the body now faces its own accusations of corruption and abusing its power that Republicans say has gone unchecked for too long.

    The White House was particularly grateful to Morales for backing Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital amid international uproar. Guatemala was the second country to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv after the U.S. did earlier this year. Jerusalem is a divided capital with part of it in Palestinian territory.

    “The only reason why the U.S. is all about it is because they’re so happy with Guatemala that they moved the embassy to Jerusalem,” said one U.S. source with direct knowledge of the conversations. “Just because the president (Morales) is upset that CICIG is investigating some of his family members then he makes a decision to do the whole thing in Israel to get in front of the Trump administration and then tell Trump, ‘Help me on CICIG.’ “ . . .


    P.S. MY RHETORICAL SNARKCASM: What will the Trump Crime Syndicate come up with next?!?!

  2. JWalters on September 11, 2018, 11:01 pm

    This is how the Zionists got the UN to vote for partitioning Palestine, threats and bribes. The partition resolution was never finalized because it was not approved by the Security Council. The sacred UN vote to partition is another part of the Zionist fraud.

    • Misterioso on September 13, 2018, 11:04 am


      Thanks for pointing out that UNGA Resolution 181, the 1947 Partition Plan, was never adopted by the Security Council. Also, for the record, Res. 181 was recommendatory only, without legal foundation, contrary to the British Class A Mandate and the 1941 Atlantic Charter.

  3. Rob Roy on September 13, 2018, 9:04 am

    Why don’t people in Congress (who still may have a moral code) demand that Israelis who influence US policy register as foreign agents?

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