[JURIST] The UN International Commission Against Impunity [official website, in Spanish] reported [report, in Spanish] that approximately a quarter of the money used for Guatemalan political campaigns is from criminal groups. The main criminal group being drug traffickers. The report also indicated that government contractors themselves contribute to more than half of the funds. Ian Velasquez, head of the commission, stated “Corruption is the unifying element of the Guatemalan political system based on an amalgam of interests that include politicians, officials, public entities, businessmen, non-governmental organizations and criminal groups.” The report suggested several campaign finance reforms including limiting private funding, strengthening institutional coordination, and reforming the system itself.
This report came just one day after the commission petitioned [text, in Spanish] to take away the immunity of one of Guatemala’s vice presidential contenders, Edgar Barquin for allegedly laundering money that was used to fund his political campaign. This is not the first politican to face these charges in Guatemala, in February 2015, former Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo was released [JURIST report] from a US prison after serving a sentence for taking bribes from Taiwan.