Former Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina is the first president of that country to resign and was detained on Thursday night before his hearing resumed this morning. Molina appeared in court on Thursday on accusations of involvement in a customs fraud in which businesspeople paid bribes to avoid import duties. Judge Miguel Angel Galvez, who had ordered his detention said there was a need to, quote, “ensure the continuity of the hearing” unquote and guarantee the former president’s personal safety. For his part, Molina said that he has always said he will respect due process and insisted on his innocence. He further told the press that he could have done several things to derail the investigation. Molina stated, quote, “I could have replaced the prosecutor, I could have dug in.” He also assured that he has not intentions of leaving the country. Attorney General Thelma Aldana told reporters she will ask that Perez Molina, 64, be jailed during the court proceedings.
Molina though has also proceeded to criticize the Guatemalan justice system saying he doesn’t trust it. Molina criticized his country’s prosecutors adding that the case was built by them to “seek prominence” and “to fill their egos.” In the meantime, the newly sworn in president, Alejandro Maldonado demanded that all top government officials submit their resignations and promised an honest and inclusive administration. He promised the Guatemalan people that he would leave a legacy of honesty and restore faith in the country’s democracy during his very short tenure as president. Guatemala’s September 6th election is still scheduled to take place as planned. Analysts say the resignation was a key blow to corruption in the country and a boost for the rule of law.
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