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47 Dems Ask for Guatemala Sanctions    01/18 06:27

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- A group of 47 Democratic members of Congress urged 
President Donald Trump on Thursday to impose sanctions on corrupt officials in 
the government of Guatemala and suspend assistance to the Central American 

   The legislators, led by Reps. Norma Torres and Jim McGovern of California, 
said the Trump administration has turned a blind eye while Guatemalan President 
Jimmy Morales has sought to end a United Nations-backed anti-corruption 
commission working in his country.

   The commission has angered Morales by investigating him, his sons and his 

   "We are deeply concerned that, absent a strong U.S. response, the current 
government's pattern of anti-democratic behavior will continue to escalate, and 
that Guatemala will descend into lawlessness," the legislators wrote in a 
letter to Trump.

   They said the Trump administration should address the situation in Guatemala 
with sanctions similar to those applied to government officials in Venezuela 
and Nicaragua.

   The White House did not immediately provide a reaction when contacted by The 
Associated Press.

   Some Republican members of Congress, such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, 
have raised questions about the commission's activities.

   Guatemala's highest court last week blocked Morales' decision to 
unilaterally end the anti-graft commission, known as the International 
Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala.

   Morales contends the commission violated Guatemala's sovereignty and the 
rights of suspects.

   Although backed by the high court, the commission has withdrawn its members 
from Guatemala because the government refused to guarantee their security.

   During its 11 years of operating in Guatemala, the commission has worked 
with Guatemalan prosecutors to press corruption cases that have implicated some 
680 people, including top elected officials, business executives and 
bureaucrats. The panel said in November that it has won 310 convictions and 
broken up 60 criminal networks.

   The commission participated in investigations that forced former Vice 
President Roxana Baldetti and President Otto Perez Molina to step down from 
office in 2015 to face fraud and corruption charges.


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