Guatemala’s nationalist President Jimmy Morales has ordered the immediate expulsion of the United Nations’ International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). The CICIG claims to be investigating corruption, human rights, and extrajudicial killings in the country, but in reality has acted to destabilize the country on behalf of the political left, leading to mass northward migration from the Central American nation.
Backed by the Guatemalan military, Morales announced the termination of the international agreement that gave CICIG its legal legitimacy in the country in a press conference on Monday. In addition, he has banned the CICIG’s Commissioner, a Colombian national, from entering the country.
Morales, the leader of the right-wing populist National Convergence Front, is a political outsider, having been a popular comedian before running for President in 2015. He has been accused by his opponents of being an illiberal strongman, but the people of Guatemala, who elected him by an overwhelming 2:1 margin, see him as a patriotic hero.
Although the CICIG has historically received funding from the U.S. State Department, particularly the Obama administration, the Department declined to comment on Morales’ decision. The Guatemalan government has received support for its decisive action from some quarters in the United States.
“Every nation has a right to sovereignty! Guatemala has a right to decide if it wants the UN to interfere in its internal affairs,” wrote Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Twitter. “CICIG was never supposed to last all these years. Additionally, the United States has funded CICIG for far too long. Time to stop that too!”
“A nation’s sovereignty is the core of its freedom,” added Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). “Guatemala has every right to speak up and defend violations of sovereignty and abuses committed by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala.”