The offensive comment of the president of Guatemala to Gustavo Petro: that he continue “making the mistake of a guerrilla”
On the night of Monday, January 16, it was learned that the Public ministry —Prosecutor’s Office— of Guatemala announced that it intends to prosecute the Colombian Defense Minister, Ivan Velasquezfor his role in the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala —cicig—. This announcement was replicated by the president of that country, Alejandro Giammattei, who not only called the Guatemalan ambassador in Colombia for consultations, Reagan Vegabut instead issued an offensive statement against the Colombian president.
Guatemala will take legal action against Colombian Defense Minister Iván Velásquez
The Prosecutor’s Office of the Central American country accused the current head of the portfolio of having allowed the approval of cooperation agreements with two Brazilian executives of the Odebrecht construction company in 2017
“I am going to let President Petro continue making the mistake of a guerrilla, but that is little political. I am not going to fall into the game,” Giammattei said in dialogue with the EFE Agency in Madrid. In this sense, he mentioned that the differences between the two countries should be resolved through diplomatic channels to avoid deep conflicts.
Even the president of Guatemala and said in the interview that “unlike there —Colombia— As far as I know, and I don’t meddle in the internal affairs of countries, they are letting drug traffickers go free, people who murdered people during the armed conflict; there they and their justice”.
If Guatemala insists on capturing Iván Velásquez, Gustavo Petro would break relations with that country
The Colombian President supported the Minister of Defense who was included in a criminal investigation for alleged corruption related to Odebrecht
Giammattei also said that in his country there is “total independence” regarding the decisions made by judges and magistrates, and despite disagreeing with some of them, he understands that “my obligation as a citizen is to respect” the determinations of the judiciary.
Regarding an alleged political persecution against Minister Velásquez, the Guatemalan president said that up to now no arrest warrant has been issued, but rather an investigation process has been opened.
Iván Velásquez responded to Guatemala’s requirements for the Odebrecht case
The Guatemalan Prosecutor’s Office accuses the Minister of Defense of having allowed cooperation agreements with two directors of the construction company Odebrecht while he held a public position in the Central American country
He also referred to the consultation call made by the Colombian Government to its ambassador in Guatemala, Victoria González Ariza, and her response, which consisted of taking the same actions against the Colombian representative in that country.
He evoked that “Last week I received the credentials of the Colombian ambassador who sent me a message from President Petro totally different from what he is now declaring” and, under this panorama created on both officials, he made a “call for sanity” .
“This is a problem that can be seen from the foreign ministries and any explanation they require can be given with pleasure,” said President Giammattei.
For the president, withdrawing the ambassadors could put more than 200 years of relations between the two countries at risk; Even breaking that link through an investigation process that is not known how it will end “is absurd.” However, despite the risk that could be generated after the investigations carried out against the Colombian Defense Minister, he reiterated that he would not meet with Gustavo Petro on the grounds that he had previously “insulted” Guatemala before being elected as president.
“I think it is unnecessary, first of all because he insulted my country during the campaign and never apologized. In fact, at his inauguration the one who represented us was the ambassador. No one from the government was,” said Giammattei, who suggested that the Colombian head of state go to diplomatic officials.
“If he has a doubt, that’s what the foreign ministers, the diplomatic missions are for, the power through us to open the dialogue with the people who carry out the investigations, because they caught me by surprise,” he said. It is worth mentioning that since Davos —Switzerland— President Petro warned that if that country insists on imprisoning “just men, then we have nothing to do with Guatemala.”