Perez Molina- The President
Otto Perez Molina was an ex-military officer who became the President of Guatemala by winning the 2011 Presidential Elections as a Patriotic Party candidate. His term would have ended on 14 January 2016.
The scam that led to the uprising
- Guatemalan President, Perez Molina allegedly operated a fraudulent system wherein businesses paid bribes to clear their imports through customs at a lesser portion of the actual tax-rate.
- The scandal was known as "La Linea" (The line) which came to revealed in April 2015, leading to mass-protests.
- Molina had repeatedly denied the accusations against him, stating that he did not procure any gains from it.
The fiery mass protests
- As the custom-fraud unfolded in April, protesters filled Geutemala city's constition square demanding the resignation of Perez Molina.
- The protests grew in quantity and quality as few protesters peacefully demonstrated in adjacent streets, unable to get to the main square.
- The young played drums and danced while chanting slogans.
- On August 28, the largest demonstration took place as a part of a national strike.
Amidst charges of corrupton for the custom-bribe case, Roxana Baldetti left the office of Vice-President of Guatemala on 14 May 2015. Roxana Baldetti was the first female Vice-president of Guetemala and had taken office in 2012.
The beginning of the investigation
- The Central-American Supreme-Court ruled that Molina should be investigated and asked the Congress to lift the President's immunity.
- The Guatamalan Congress named a commission requested by an opposition party which conducted investigation into Molina's fraud case.
- The matter was taken up with utmost seriousness amidst surging protests.
- A spokesperson of Molina stated that he would cooperate with the law as the investigation moves forward.
Molina stripped off immunity
- Five days before the Presidential Elections, the Guatemalan Congress voted to revoke President Perez Molina's immunity from prosecution to trigger investigation against him.
- The vote was carried out with 132-0; 26 deputies being absent.
- The anti-corruption protesters formed a human-cordon to allow the deputies to safely enter the chamber.
- This was the first time a President was stripped off immunity in a Central-American country.
Perez Molina resigns
- A few hours after a judge issued an arrest-warrant against him, Guatemalan President, Otto Perez Molina announced his resignation before midnight to "confront the proceedings against him."
- The Guatemalan Congress voted unanimously to approve his letter of resignation, making the resignation official.
- It was a noteworthy event that upheld democracy and marked success for the innumerable street protesters demanding his resignation, demonstrating since April.
Perez Molina behind bars
- Hours after his resignation, Molina was taken in custody and sent to jail to await the conclusions of the hearing in the multi-million dollar custom fraud case.
- In the courtroom, prosecutors played wiretap recording that implicate him in the customs-scam which raised $3.7million in a single year.
- Half of the sum went to Molina and former Vice-President Roxanna Baldetti.
- Molina proclaimed to be innocent.
New President sworn in Guatemela!
- After Perez Molina's resignation, Vice-President Alejandro Maldinado took office as the new President in Guatemala.
- Maldonado reached out to protesters, ensuring he would "leave a legacy of honesty" in his brief few months in office.
- He demanded the resignation of all top government officials and promised an inclusive administration.
- Maldonado is expected to govern until new president is sworn on 14 January 2016.
About Alejandra Maldinado
Alejandro Maldinado served as a constitutional judge, congressional deputy and an ambassador of the United Nations. He was the Minister of Education from 1970-1974 and the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1995-1996 before he took office as the Vice-President of Guetemala in May 2015 after Roxana Baldetti resigned.