The Guatemalan Public Ministry seized this Saturday (30) minutes with information on the votes cast by the population in the June elections. Criticized by the international community, the operation involved the search and seizure of documents at the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE).
“We are no longer responsible for any minutes. They took all the boxes, with all the results,” judge Blanca Alfaro told journalists after moments of tension at the TSE headquarters, in the center of the capital Guatemala City.
According to the AFP agency, Alfaro and other judges clashed and argued with several police officers and prosecutors at the time boxes with the minutes were removed from the TSE.
Judge Gabriel Aguilera indicated that the seized minutes contained votes cast in the June general elections, in which social democrat Bernardo Arévalo surprised by advancing to the second presidential round, which he won in August.
Arévalo claims that the Public Ministry’s actions are an “ongoing coup d’état” to prevent him from taking office on January 14.
According to AFP, the criticized Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity, led by prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche, began the search and seizure operation on Friday (29), alleging alleged irregularities in the electoral process.
“We will demand accountability from those who participate in actions to undermine the democratic transition of the elected president,” said the head of United States diplomacy for Latin America, Brian Nichols, on the social network X (formerly Twitter), when criticizing the operation.
The electoral observation mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) stated that the actions against the electoral court “constitute a shameful example for the continent”.
Two weeks ago, the Prosecutor’s Office invaded a voting center and opened 160 boxes with votes from the first round and photographed them. The act happened after the TSE refused to open the boxes.
According to Guatemalan Electoral Law, only volunteer citizens from vote-receiving boards can count the ballots.
This entire process is led by the Attorney General of the Republic, Consuelo Porras, Judge Freddy Orellana (who authorized the Attorney General’s action two weeks ago) and Attorney Rafael Curruchiche.
The three are banned from entering the United States because they are part of the so-called Engel List, as the list of “corrupt and undemocratic actors” in Central America drawn up by the US State Department is called.
They gained this distinction after persecuting lawyers, journalists and activists who worked against corruption in the past.
Elected at the polls, Bernardo Arévalo asked for the resignation of the three and filed a criminal complaint against Curruchiche and Cinthia Monterroso, from the same prosecutor’s office, and asked for the withdrawal of Porras and Orellana’s immunity, so that they can be investigated for crimes such as violating the Constitution and abuse of authority for electoral purposes.