GUATEMALA: COURT ABSOLVES EFRAIN RIOS MONTT OF ALL CHARGES IN CONGRESSIONAL GUATEGATE SCANDAL.A Guatemalan court issued a controversial ruling exonerating the president and vice president of Congress from any wrongdoing wrong·do·er
One who does wrong, especially morally or ethically.
wrongdo in the legislative scandal known as Guategate. Some critics of the decision are saying it was politically motivated and they want the attorney general to appeal.
The scandal, which broke last August, involves the illegal alteration of an alcoholic-beverage tax law (see NotiCen, 2000-09-14).
After months of refusing to cooperate with judicial authorities, Congress president Efrain Rios Montt announced April 21 that he was willing to testify in court on the tax law. Following a brief hearing April 24 in which Rios Montt answered 50 questions, Judge Sergio Castro threw out all charges against him.
Acting on a petition from prosecutor Ramon de Jesus Saenz, Judge Castro ruled that the charges lacked supporting evidence. Castro said he based his ruling on the fact that Rios Montt was not present during the congressional session when the alterations were made in the tax law.
Also cleared of charges in the case was Congress vice president Luis Rosales. Congressional officers Deputies Carlos Wholers and Zulema Paz and former deputy Carlos Soto, were freed on bond. All five are members of the governing Frente Republicano Guatemalteco (FRG).
Though Rios Montt and Rosales have been cleared in the case, Castro will proceed with hearings to determine whether the remaining 19 accused FRG deputies are guilty of tampering with the tax law.
In March, the Corte Suprema de Justicia (CSJ) stripped the 24 FRG legislators of their immunity (see NotiCen, 2001-04-19). Because of a ruling by the Corte de Constitucionalidad (CC), six of the 24 deputies, including Rios Montt and Rosales, were at risk of losing their seats in Congress' executive body (Junta Directiva). That ruling is now moot for Rios Montt and Rosales since Judge Castro's ruling restores their immunity and returns them to their congressional posts.
Opposition leaders and civil organizations condemned the ruling, with several commentators noting that Rios Montt signed the final version of the tax bill. Nobel laureate Noun 1. Nobel Laureate - winner of a Nobel prize
laureate - someone honored for great achievements; figuratively someone crowned with a laurel wreath Rigoberta Menchu said that, in addition to making the changes in the law, FRG leaders destroyed typed transcripts and audio recordings of the session in which the changes were made.
The Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM) said the ruling was a "national shame." Miguel Angel Sandoval, head of the Movimiento por la Justicia y la Democracia La Democracia means “the democracy” in Spanish. There are also places with that name: Guatemala
Frank La Rue La Rue may refer to:
Mario Flores Flores, town, Guatemala
Flores (flōrəs), town (1990 est. pop. 2,200), capital of Petén department, N Guatemala. Flores was built on an island in the southern part of Lake Petén Itzá and on the site of the of the organization Undidad Nacional de la Esperanza For the municipality in Colombia, see .
La Esperanza (the name is Spanish for "the hope") is a town in northern Ecuador, in the Imbabura Province. It lies at the northern foot of the Mount Imbabura volcano. La Esperanza is the best base-town for climbing Imbabura volcano. (UNE) said, "It's as if they gave the FRG a blank check Blank check
A check that is duly signed, but the amount of the check is left blank to be supplied by the drawee. to do whatever it wants without worrying about the law, because now it has the attorney general in its power."
Verdict comes as Rios Montt sinks in the polls
Defending Rios Montt and the other deputies forced the FRG into protracted pro·tract
tr.v. pro·tract·ed, pro·tract·ing, pro·tracts
1. To draw out or lengthen in time; prolong: disputants who needlessly protracted the negotiations.
2. legal and political battles, during which Rios Montt's popularity sank.
In a Vox Latina poll commissioned by the daily Prensa Libre Prensa Libre is a Guatemalan newspaper published in Guatemala City by Prensa Libre, S.A. and distributed nationwide. It is formerly the most widely circulated newspaper in the country and currently has the second-widest circulation. and taken before the ruling, 85% of respondents said Rios Montt was a liar, 84% said he had committed abuses of power, and 82% said he was involved in corruption.
The scandal has rubbed off on President Alfonso Portillo. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they would not vote for him again. Furthermore, the poll showed 67% thought the Portillo administration was the most corrupt in the past 16 years, a period covering four previous presidents. [Sources: Notimex, 04/16/01, 04/24/01; Prensa Libre (Guatemala), 04/17/01, 04/18/01, 04/20/01, 04/23/01, 04/24/01; Spanish News Service EFE EfE Environment for Europe (EU)
EFE Einstein Field Equations (general relativity)
EFE Early Fuel Evaporation (Automotive Emission Control)
EFE Endocardial Fibroelastosis , 04/23/01, 04/24/01; Siglo Veintiuno (Guatemala), 04/25/01]