A statement from Rep. Engel on Resignation of the Head of CICIG in Guatemala was recently posted on the Washington Office on Latin America's website:
News from Congressman Eliot Engel
Representing the Bronx, Westchester, and Rockland Counties
Offices in the Bronx, Mount Vernon and West Nyack
2161 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515
Contact: Eric Jacobstein or Jason Steinbaum, 202-226-9980
For Release: Thursday, June 10, 2010
STATEMENT FROM CHAIRMAN ENGEL ON THE RESIGNATION OF CARLOS CASTRESANA AS HEAD OF THE U.N. INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION AGAINST IMPUNITY IN GUATEMALA (CICIG)
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, issued the following statement regarding the resignation of Carlos Castresana as Commissioner of the United Nations International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG):
“Carlos Castresana took on one of the most challenging jobs in the world in becoming head of the U.N. International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala. He has been an outstanding Commissioner, and I was saddened to learn of his resignation earlier this week. Significant progress has been made under Carlos Castresana’s leadership in standing up to organized crime and routing out impunity.
“I urge U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to swiftly appoint a new CICIG Commissioner. The CICIG cannot afford to lose momentum. A new Commissioner must have the prosecutorial and investigative expertise that Castresana possesses, so that CICIG’s cases – including the case against former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo – can quickly move forward.
“I also urge all branches of the Guatemalan government – the executive, congress and the judiciary – to fully support the CICIG at this critical moment. The Guatemalan people and government demonstrated tremendous political will and courage in supporting the creation of the CICIG. As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, I believe that progress in reducing crime and violence in Guatemala depends in large part on the success of the CICIG. Now is not the time for the Guatemalan people to be discouraged. Instead, they must understand that ultimately justice can prevail.”
Mike: If you believe Castresana has been an "outstanding commissioner," require the Guatemalan Government to take the recommendations of CICIG more seriously and implement them. I know, easier said than done.
Colom and Congress failed to carry out Castresana's recommendations. This led to his frustration and, ultimately, his resignation. What kind of message does it send to the people of Guatemala when the renowned international commissioner of CICIG "throws in the towel" (A Guatemalan congressman used that term yesterday, but now I can't find it.).
The UN and US simply saying "Thanks. Great job Carlos. Who wants the job now?" just doesn't cut it.