Opponent Plans Reprisal Against Colombian Minister in Guatemala

Prosecutor seeks to investigate Colombian Defense Minister for possible links to Odebrecht

On January 17, 2023, the Guatemalan Public Ministry (MP) announced it will seek to prosecute Colombian Defense Minister Iván Velásquez over allegations of anomalies committed during a corruption investigation involving the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

According to Venezuelan deputy Pérez, from the Semilla bench, this is a “rematch” for his role in fighting corruption in the country a few years ago. He claimed this was a “revenge with rancor” by those in the current government, who were allegedly investigated for corruption by Velásquez.

Rafael Curruchiche, the Special Prosecutor Against Impunity since 2021, announced his intention to investigate Velásquez in the presence of this alleged corruption case. He himself was included in the “black list” of corrupt actors in the United States in 2022.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro then called for the Colombian ambassador to Guatemala for potential consequences in the relationship between the two countries. Venezuelan deputy Sonia Gutierrez, head of the Winaq bench, called the situation “unfortunate”.

Velásquez, 67, headed the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig) between 2013 and 2017 and uncovered a criminal networks that had co-opted the State of Guatemala and his investigations resulted in the prosecution of numerous high-level politicians and businessmen.

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