The Robert Mueller of Latin America

The Robert Mueller of Latin America

By The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX

Guatemala sends more migrants to the U.S. than anywhere in Central America. What is driving so many people to leave?

Crusading prosecutor Iván Velásquez has been called the Robert Mueller of Latin America. He’s known for jailing presidents and paramilitaries.

But Velásquez met his match when he went after Jimmy Morales, a television comedian who was elected president of Guatemala. Morales found an ally in then-U.S. President Donald Trump.

Like the alleged quid pro quo with Ukraine that prompted Trump’s impeachment, the details can seem confusing – but, ultimately, Velásquez says, both parties got what they wanted: Morales got Trump to pull U.S. support for an international anti-corruption force that was going after his family. And he says Trump secured Guatemala’s support for some of his most controversial policies, both in the Middle East and on immigration.

Veteran radio journalist Maria Martin teams up with Reveal’s Anayansi Diaz-Cortes for this week’s show. Martin takes us to Huehuetenango, a province near Guatemala’s border with Mexico that sends more migrants to the U.S. than anywhere in Central America. There, she shows that Trump’s hard-line immigration policies did nothing to slow the movement of people from Guatemala to the southern border of the U.S.

This is an update of an episode that originally aired Aug. 29, 2020.

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