Prison Stripes

Prison Stripes
Image from Guatemala, by Sandra Cuffe

In 2015, a major crackdown on government corruption rocked Guatemala following an eight-month investigation led by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala. On April 16, 2015, several high-level government officials were arrested for their alleged involvement in La Línea, a corruption ring that was defrauding the country of millions of dollars in customs revenue. 

On May 30, 2015, thousands of people gathered in Guatemala City's central plaza to protest government corruption and demand the resignation of then President Otto Pérez Molina. The protest came after numerous graft scandals led to a Cabinet shake-up and the resignation of then Vice President Roxana Baldetti. Above the crowd, a papier maché Pinocchio dressed in a striped prison uniform holds the message, "Lying, thieving, corrupt politicians, TO JAIL!" 

In September 2015, Otto Pérez Molina resigned after he was stripped of prosecutorial immunity by a Congressional vote of 132-0. He was arrested the day after he resigned. Baldetti had been arrested on fraud charges the previous month.

Sandra Cuffe is a freelance journalist based in Central America, where she covers environmental, indigenous, and human rights issues.