Since 2015, Guatemala has been experiencing a deep political and institutional crisis, initiated as a result of a criminal process promoted by the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) and the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) against a network of high-level state and non-state actors involved in corruption and tax evasion, which has revealed the existence of a corrupt and criminal structure within state institutions. These investigative and judicial processes were accompanied by broad social and popular mobilizations demanding a profound reform of the Political System. The result was the resignatiocn of the highest levels of the government of the Patriot Party that governed between 2012 and 2015 and the realization of a new electoral process that brought to the government a new party, the National Convergence Front FCN - Nation, linked to retired military linked to abuses committed during the internal armed conflict. The FCN - Nación governed between 2016 and 2019 deepening the crisis, political and institutional, and among its measures was the non-renewal of the mandate of the CICIG which, at the end of 2019, closed its work in the country.
The current government, which took office in January 2020 and is presided over by Alejandro Giammattei Falla, with positions against abortion, same-sex marriage, in favor of the death penalty and the use of the military in citizen security, represents a continuity of the crisis of legitimacy and stability that condition the exercise of political power and that characterizes the current situation of Guatemala at the political level, represented by a worrying situation of corruption and shielding in favor of impunity and by the rupture of the constitutional order. During the years of Giammattei's government, and publicly motivated by the Covid-19 crisis, there has been a gradual remilitarization of the country and all this, according to the generalized interpretation of social organizations, in order to impose by force all extractivist projects, infrastructure, monocultures, etc.
This situation is aggravated by the high rates of corruption from which Guatemala suffers since, according to the organization Transparency International (TI), Guatemala is "one of the countries with the most significant and constant declines since 2012" having dropped from 91st place in 2012 to 150th in 2021 in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). Attacks on independent judges and NGOs, an MP that obstructs investigations and authorities increasingly reluctant to fight corruption, are some of the factors that have positioned Guatemala at the bottom of this index. The document points out that since the departure of the CICIG, conditions in the country have worsened and that actions against independent justice operators have also been a factor that has weakened the fight against corruption, especially during the last two years, leading to the voluntary exile of more than 20 justice operators. The process of election of new magistrates to the Constitutional Court (CC), a key entity in the fight against corruption and the fight against impunity, which concluded in March 2021 with the election of the ten magistrates and alternate magistrates for the period 2021-2026, has been pointed out as a process lacking transparency and seeking to consolidate the so-called "corrupt pact", the name given to a group of politicians and judges who seek to co-opt Justice to avoid being prosecuted for corruption. With this same objective, the current Attorney General, Consuelo Porras, was reelected in 2022 for another four-year term, despite her inclusion in Washington's list of Antidemocratic and Corrupt Actors and the calls for attention issued by the national and international community in relation to the lack of respect for due process throughout the selection process.
Likewise, the closure in 2020 of key institutions created following the signing of the Peace Accords (1996), and the creation in their place of the Presidential Commission for Peace and Human Rights (COPADEH), an institution without funds and clear responsibilities assigned, has made visible the current government's disinterest in addressing the causes that were at the root of the internal armed conflict. In this regard, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) in its report on Guatemala for the year 2020 recommends ensuring that COPADEH gives continuity and strengthens the implementation of activities previously carried out by the Peace Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic (SEPAZ), the Presidential Commission for Human Rights (COPREDEH) and the Secretariat for Agrarian Affairs (SAA) and that land policies and programs are reviewed and reformed, and the capacities of the competent authorities to address land-related conflicts are strengthened.
To the above has been added a regressive legislative agenda for the promotion of human rights, with the entry into force in 2021 of the NGO Law, which is said to curtail the rights of association, or the proposal of Law 5920, which is said to seek amnesty for all those prosecuted for war crimes. The result is a political context characterized by the reconfiguration of new elite pacts that continue to exclude the broadest social sectors (youth, students, urban democratic sectors, indigenous peoples, women's and feminist movements, artists, actors of sexual diversity, class unions) seeking the implementation of reforms that do not aim at structural change but at the maintenance of a state model where the benefit of a few is achieved at the expense of collective needs.
This is confirmed by the annual reports on progress and challenges in human rights published in 2022 by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). In the IACHR report, Guatemala was included in the section that warns of situations and threats to human rights. Both reports point to an accelerated deterioration in terms of judicial independence, repression of minority groups, governance, and an increase in attacks on human rights defenders, land and environmental defenders, and journalists. The reports point to the identification of an alarming pattern of criminalization in a context of corruption and co-optation of institutions and justice.