The World Today for June 23, 2023


The Fix Is In


A Guatemalan court recently convicted newspaper publisher José Rubén Zamora of money laundering and sentenced him to six years in prison. His newspaper, El Periódico, regularly investigated Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei and Attorney General María Consuelo Porras, the New York Times reported, adding that human rights observers lamented the development.

“Civil rights groups say Wednesday’s court ruling is the latest erosion of democracy in the impoverished Central American nation,” wrote the BBC.

Officials said Zamora ran afoul of the law due to his handling of the newspaper’s money, not his journalism, the Financial Times added.

But another legal development a few days before raises questions about the integrity of the country’s judicial system. As the Jurist explained, a Guatemalan appellate court released three military officers who had been convicted of crimes against humanity, even though the Inter-American Court of Human Rights convicted them of abducting and raping the children of a family of leftist activists in the early 1980s. The officers had received sentences ranging from 30 to 58 years.

The legal rot doesn’t stop there, analysts say. Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has disqualified top candidates who wanted to replace Giammattei in the country’s June 25 presidential election, according to Al Jazeera. The court took conservative businessman Carlos Pineda’s name off the ballot, for example, because he failed to submit paperwork correctly.

The court also stopped Indigenous community leader Thelma Cabrera from running, saying her vice presidential candidate failed to resolve a legal complaint against him as a human rights attorney, added TeleSur. Several candidates who are the children and grandchildren of former Guatemalan leaders – the country’s political elites, in other words – have been allowed to run for office, however, reported the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA).

“The same parties, the same people from the same political parties, are participating,” Cabrera told NACLA in a separate interview. “They only change their name, color; they use masks.”

Meanwhile, many of those political elites on the ballot are promising a crackdown on crime that would resemble that enacted by the president of neighboring El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, wrote the Associated Press. Bukele has erected new prisons and thrown throngs of alleged criminals in jail. Many Salvadorans, weary of rampant gangs, have praised his efforts – but critics say he is upending the rule of law in the process.

Sandra Torres, a former First Lady of Guatemala, is promising to use the impoverished country’s meager resources to build and maintain two mega-prisons for gang members rather than implement other programs that might curb crime at the source, for example.

If Torres wins, there might not be anyone able to point out potential alternatives.

To read the full edition and support independent journalism, join our community of informed readers and subscribe today!

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.