ONLINE EVENT: Freedom of the Press and Democracy Under Attack in Guatemala

This post is also available in: Spanish

On July 29, 2022, renowned journalist José Rubén Zamora, founder of the newspaper elPeriódico and outspoken critic of the Guatemalan government, was arrested at his home under bogus charges of money laundering, blackmail, and influence peddling. Zamora is an acclaimed, award winning journalist, whose newspaper has reported on multiple allegations of corruption within the Guatemalan federal government.

The arrest of one of President Alejandro Giammatei’s most ferocious critics is just another sign of Guatemala’s descent into authoritarian rule. Just last year, the head of Guatemala’s Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity (FECI), Juan Francisco Sandoval, was fired and forced to flee the country. His replacement, Rafael Currichiche, issued Zamora’s charges. In March of 2021, Judge Erika Aifán resigned after learning she would soon be stripped of her judicial immunity and arrested on unsubstantiated “abuse of authority” charges. Judge Aifán had been handling cases that would have previously been under the purview of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a commission that assisted prosecutors in building cases against some of the country’s more powerful figures. It was shut down in 2019 by President Jimmy Morales, who himself is suspected of corruption and abuse of campaign finance laws. Judge Aifán’s investigations of bribery and money laundering at the highest level, including allegations that President Giammatei funded his campaign with millions of dollars in bribes, placed her in danger.

The Inter-American Dialogue, Fundamedios, and Voces del Sur are honored to present this event, which will explore the implications of Zamora’s arrest on freedom of expression, and the strengthening of an already authoritarian regime.

There is no registration necessary, you can stream the event on the Dialogue’s Youtube account.

Follow this event on Twitter at @The_Dialogue, and @FUNDAMEDIOS.

We invite participants to email questions to meetings@thedialogue.org.  

This event will be held in Spanish.

Opening Remarks

Rebecca Bill Chavez 

President & CEO, Inter-American Dialogue (@RebeccaBillChav)

Speakers

Jose Carlos Zamora

Chief Communications and Impact Officer, Exile Content Studio, son of detained founder of elPeriódico (@jczamora)

Lucy Chay

Deputy Director, elPeriódico 

Juan Luis Font

Journalist and Cohost, ConCriterio (@JLFont001)

Marielos Monzón

General Coordinator, Ciclos de Actualización para Periodistas (@MarielosMonzon)

Moderator

Santiago Canton

Program Director, Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program, Inter-American Dialogue (@SantiagoACanton)

Closing Remarks 

Frank LaRue

Advocacy and Human Rights Director, Fundamedios (@FLarue_libex

Watch Here:


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