GUATEMALA CITY — UN anti-corruption prosecutors pulled the curtain down on more than a decade of high-profile investigations in Guatemala when its mandate ended Tuesday, heightening fears of a return to impunity in the Central American country.
President Jimmy Morales sparked an international outcry in January when he announced he would not renew the mandate of the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala.
The body, known by its Spanish acronym CICIG, has been in the eye of the storm since it began investigating Morales' own family for corruption.
"Guatemalans are witnessing the exit of CICIG, which is due to pressure from people from dark sectors," said Eleonora Muralles, head of a victims' group.
"It investigated those powers that were previously hidden and now are unmasked, belonging to economic elites that were untouchable here.
"Now they want to reverse the work so that there be no more investigations," said Muralles, president of the association of Families and Friends against Crime and Kidnapping.
Alvaro Montenegro, a member of the Alliance for Reforms collective, said CICIG "touched the heart of impunity and corruption" in Guatemala, by targeting "characters who have very strong economic power."
CICIG was set up in 2007 to investigate organized crime groups, which have gained influence since the end of the country's armed conflict in the 1990s. — AFP