Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department for communications among U.S. and Guatemalan officials regarding the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG, its acronym in Spanish).
Judicial Watch filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the State Department failed to comply with May and August 2018 FOIA requests for records of communications and meetings between the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and CICIG’s Commissioner Iván Velásquez Gómez; any representative of CICIG; as well as other Guatemalan officials. Judicial Watch also seeks records of communications of State Department officials, including Ambassador Todd Robinson, with Velásquez and others related to CICIG (Judicial Watch Inc. v U.S. Department of State (No.1:19-cv-00968)).
CICIG says it is in Guatemala merely to “support” the attorney general in her work “identifying and dismantling” criminal networks and is not involved in politics. But an academic analysis of CICIG by Jonatán Lemus, a Francisco Marroquín University political science professor, suggests otherwise. Mr. Lemus observes that “CICIG has also been criticized for the very same reasons others have praised it: becoming a player in judicial appointments, proposing some controversial reforms to the Guatemalan constitution, and the use of televised conferences to shift the public in its favor. From this perspective, instead of strengthening Guatemalan institutions, the Commission is making national institutions dependent on its assistance.”
Todd Robinson, Obama’s former ambassador to Guatemala, who is now a senior advisor for the State Department, reportedly worked with Velásquez, a Colombian attorney and former judge with powerful leftist alliances who ran the CICIG, to depose President Otto Pérez Molina and wanted to cancel the 2015 elections to put leftists in power. Robinson is said to be aggressively working against President Donald Trump’s foreign-policy agenda.
To continue the Obama policy, Robinson had to subdue President Jimmy Morales, an anti-establishment outsider. A local news outlet funded by George Soros’s Open Society Foundations has bragged that Robinson vetoed Morales’s choices for interior minister and finally named Robinson’s candidate. The same happened with other ministries, including foreign relations.
In April 2018, the CICIG came to the attention of the Helsinki Commission for alleged abuse of power and was also asked to answer questions at a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee. The invitation was declined.
In May 2018, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) placed a hold on the State Department’s release of $6 million to the CICIG, saying: “I am concerned that CICIG, a commission mostly funded by the United States, has been manipulated and used by radical elements.”
More recently, a complaint was filed by the Morales government to the UN about witness tampering by CICIG, as well as illegal negotiations with convicted criminals and other matters went unanswered. Morales asked the UN to replace Velásquez. The UN neglected to act on the complaint or replace Velásquez. But in January 2019, the Morales government allowed the commission to wind down by not renewing its two-year mandate.
Velásquez appears to be part of a broader effort launched under President Barack Obama to destabilize moderate and conservative governments abroad. Judicial Watch uncovered details of a similar initiative in Macedonia, where the Obama administration spent millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government by working with groups funded by Soros.
The Obama administration reportedly “embraced Castro-supported allies throughout Latin America, including in Guatemala,” and is believed to have led to the growth of transnational criminal activity. During the Obama administration, In 2016, Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, commander of SOUTHCOM, spoke of transnational drug, weapons and human smuggling, to include people with known terrorist ties from the Middle East, that are moved up through south and then Central America and over the U.S. border.
After a special investigation, Judicial Watch reported in 2018:
Guatemala has found itself increasingly targeted by the Soros network. In 2016, Soros’ Open Society Foundations [OSFs] provided more than $1,000,000 to organizations there, and hundreds of thousands more to U.S.-based organizations supporting his agenda in the country. Relative to GDP, OSFs spend more than twice as much in grant and program funding in Guatemala than in the United States.
The Judicial Watch investigation found that the OSF’s close alignment with the United Nations, which maintains a massive footprint in the nation, enables the Soros network to exert tremendous influence.
“The Obama administration, the Deep State, Soros operations and UN bureaucrats worked together to attack conservative governance in Central America in support of hardcore leftist policies. The ripple effect is damaging the United States by destabilizing the region and encouraging mass migrations that are overwhelming our borders,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.