Anti-corruption judge in Guatemala resigns and flees to the U.S.

Judge Erika Aifán
Judge Erika Aifán in her courtroom in Guatemala City in 2019.
(Moises Castillo / Associated Press)

A Guatemalan judge considered key in fighting corruption announced her resignation on Monday and that she had decided to leave the Central American country.

Judge Erika Aifán has presided over corruption cases against businessmen, officials, judges and lawmakers, and she was recently overseeing an investigation into alleged irregularities during President Alejandro Giammattei’s campaign.

She has been pursued by her own colleagues and faces at least 20 legal complaints for allegedly overstepping, something she denies.


“They left me no other option,” she said to the Associated Press in a phone conversation from Washington, where she has fled.

Aifán is the latest instance of a Guatemalan judge or prosecutor leaving the country in recent months after the government started investigations or threatened to arrest those who oversaw corruption cases.

Aifán said she felt particular pressure from Guatemalan Atty. Gen. Consuelo Porras, whose visa was canceled by the U.S. government because of corruption concerns.

“She has manipulated the prosecutor’s office, prosecuting those of us who have worked to fight against impunity and corruption,” Aifán said.

One of Aifán’s most recent cases was an investigation about alleged illegal funding to Giammattei’s presidential campaign in 2019. The president has denied wrongdoing.

The United Nations and the U.S. government have criticized what they consider harassment of the judge.

In July, the U.S. government announced the suspension of its cooperation with Guatemala’s attorney general’s office in response to the firing of its then top anti-corruption prosecutor.