Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Says Guatemala’s Anti-Corruption Efforts Demonstrate that the Fight Against Graft is Winnable, but there is No Silver Bullet
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Says Guatemala’s Anti-Corruption Efforts Demonstrate that the Fight Against Graft is Winnable, but there is No Silver Bullet

Press Contacts

  • Tom Caiazza

Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress has released a report looking at the factors that have contributed to the corruption-fighting power of Guatemala’s International Commission Against Impunity—known by its Spanish-language acronym, CICIG—and the promise and challenges of replicating the CICIG model in other nations plagued by graft.

“The success of CICIG in Guatemala cannot be ignored,” said Trevor Sutton, CAP Nonresident Fellow and author of the report. “But that does not mean a CICIG clone is the answer for every country struggling with corrupt institutions. CICIG should be viewed as a way to catalyze broader reform rather than a stand-alone solution for corruption and the impunity it enables.”

Guatemala has long struggled with pervasive violence fueled by organized crime and weak institutions. Corruption has been a persistent obstacle to improving security both at the local level and at the highest reaches of Guatemalan governance. In 2006, CICIG—U.N.-backed investigative body focused on combating impunity and organized crime—was created in Guatemala, a country struggling with one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Since that time, CICIG has convicted a string of high-profile Guatemalan figures on charges of corruption and abuse of office and just last year exposed a massive fraud scheme that led to the arrest and removal of the country’s president and vice president. It has also pursued an ambitious reform agenda that has empowered local actors and contributed to an improving security environment in the country. CICIG’s unique design and mission were critical to these achievements—but so were a number of external factors specific to Guatemala. The report offers recommendations for identifying other countries where the CICIG model is likely to succeed and the ways that the United States and its international partners can contribute to that success.

Click here to read the report.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at tcaiazza@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7141.