Guatemala’s Ministers of Interior, Energy and Mining, Environment, and the Secretary of Intelligence resigned on Thursday, amid a series of corruption scandals. The resignations come two weeks after Vice President Roxana Baldetti was forced to step down due to a top aide’s involvement in customs fraud.
Despite the resignations, President Otto Pérez Molina refuted claims that his government is collapsing. “[Rumors] that the cabinet is being dismantled [are] totally false, none of the ministers have indicated that they want to leave, not even in the most difficult of moments. I am making this decision with each one of them. Therefore, this is just a speculation. They are leaving their post at my request,” the president said.
While the four resignations are related to different scandals, Mauricio López Bonilla, Minister of Interior and Michelle Martínez, Minister of Energy and Mining, are being questioned about contracts they issued while in office, including contracts linked to the Baldetti scandal and contracts for the decontamination the Amatitlán lake. None of the officials have been charged.
Despite demonstrations with more than 60,000 protestors across the country calling for his resignation, Pérez Molina has indicated he will not step down from office. “There are sectors that are unhappy and I understand them, but I was visiting the interior of the country where they support us,” he said Monday.
Guatemalan bonds have fallen 1.5 percent over the past week due to the crisis; the Central American country is now the worst performing emerging market after Venezuela.