By Mayra Beltran de Daetz
GUATEMALA CITY — Carlos Castresana Fernandez, Director of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG by its acronym in Spanish), resigned his position on June 7, 2010.
What motivated his resignation?
Threats and the systematic attacks by groups belonging to organized crime. Castresana took the position in September 2007 for what was only to be a two-year term. It was later extended until 2011.
However, Castesana won’t be fulfilling his commitment because the groups that forced his resignation won.
During the presentation of his resignation, Castresana denounced the recently appointed Attorney General, Conrado Reyes Sagastume, and accused him of corruption and having ties with organized crime. He demanded that President Alvaro Colon ask for Reyes’ resignation. Though Reyes denied all the accusations, he was soon relieved of his position.
Castresana, during a press conference he held, said that another reason for his resignation is that Guatemala has failed to follow through on some of the bilateral agreements made by the United Nation’s anti-corruption panel and pursue allegations of impunity in Guatemala’s justice sector, where there exists an impunity rate of 98 percent.
Yet, Castresana leaves the position having achieved three notable successes: He helped bring to light the circumstances behind the murder of lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg, the capture of the ex-president Alfonso Portillo and won a sentence of 820 years in prison for Juan Carlos Policarpio Chinchilla who participated in the murder of 15 Nicaraguans and a Dutch citizen.
As soon as the town of Guatemala City found out about the resignation of Castresana, activists in the social sectors met in front of the Presidential House in a rally of support.
Castresana concluded his press conference by crediting the work of organized groups of civil society and the mass media and declaring they are the ones who are the motors by which comes change. He said he was proud of the work his committee performed, especially that of the mainly 50 Guatemalans who form it, but repeated that it is the State of Guatemala who is not fulfilling its role in ending corruption in the country.
As if to dispute Castresana’s claims that Guatemala is not complying with the CICIG, President Alvaro Colom instructed Guatemala’s ambassador to the United Nations to assure everyone the country’s continued support of CICIG.
Castresana will continue working temporarily until his successor, Costa Rica’s attorney general, Francisco Dall’Anese, assumes his position. From all reports, Dall’Anese may prove to be a bigger thorn in President Alvaro Colom’s side than Castresana.
Dall’Anese is described as “the Iron Public Prosecutor” and has been the General Prosecutor of Costa Rica since 2003 where he has fought drug trafficking and corruption and oversaw the imprisonment of two ex-presidents on corruption charges. He is a professor of Criminal Law at the University of Costa Rica and in 2005 received an award by the Association of Public Prosecutors of Central America.
The people of Guatemala know that clearing the country of corrupt officials is not simple work but that it requires a person who is patient and experienced in confronting the challenges that result from such a cleansing.
However, I feel, as I think most Guatemalans do, that the CICIG is our best hope to help end the corruption and organized crime that are consuming our society.
Learn more about Mayra:
Mayra Etna BeltrÃ¡n Molina de Daetz is a native-born Guatemalan who lives in Guatemala City with her husband and teenage son. After attending one of the most noted secretarial schools in the country, Mayra graduated with a secretarial certification — and the ability to speak and write English, as well as, know French.
Yet, she wanted more of a career and so she took architect and graphic design classes at a local university in Guatemala City. Unable to finish her university studies due to finances, Mayra became a stewardess and has over 100 hours in the air.
Yet, she always wanted to be involved with the media and so she returned to school and was able to get a degree in sales and marketing.
As a result, she has worked for a weekly magazine and a newspaper.
I have had opportunity to attend International congresses, in which I have known very important people at the more important international newspapers, which has been a very gratifying experience and has allowed me to have friendships outside of my country.