Guatemala faced political demonstrations and protests Monday after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the nation’s highest electoral body, was reportedly raided for the fourth time by the nation’s Public Ministry (PM) last week.
According to a press release by the US Department of State, the PM seized election materials as part of a continued effort to “undermine Guatemala’s peaceful transition of power to President-elect Arévalo.” Guatemala’s highest-ranking anti-corruption prosecutor for the PM, Rafael Curruchiche, allegedly directed the raid on the TSE. Curruchiche was sanctioned by the United States in 2022 for obstructing investigations into corruption against government officials and for raising “apparently spurious claims” against former prosecutors and government officials.
The US Embassy in Guatemala reported the nation’s PM made attempts to revoke the legal status of Arévalo’s party, the Semilla party, during primary elections in June. In late September, Curruchiche claimed the raids on the TSE had no connection to Arévalo or the leaders of his party. One news outlet described police forces wrestling boxes of vote tallies from judges. Some judges have asserted that the election results will not change.
Bernardo Arévalo won the Guatemalan presidential election in August with 58 percent of the vote. Arévalo was an underdog candidate and ran on an anti-corruption platform against Guatemala’s former first lady, Sandra Torres. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with President-elect Arévalo virtually yesterday to discuss the peaceful transition of power in Guatemala. Blinken pledged to “use all available tools against those who act to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Guatemala.”
The US Embassy in Guatemala reported political demonstrations related to the raid on the TSE blocked several roads in the nation.