On April 27, 2018, something happened that the absolute majority of Guatemalans never expected. The hearing of the International Bicameral Commission of Security and Cooperation in Europe known as the Helsinki Commission of the USA was held in the US Senate . The hearing with name “The long arm of injustice” was dedicated to the case of the political persecution of the Bitkov family in Guatemala.
The hearing was initiated by the speech of the Co-Chair of the Helsinki Commission – Christopher Henry Smith , who has testified about the tragedy that occurred in Guatemala with our family. Two brave lawyers of our family Rolando Alvarado Lemus and Victoria Sandoval presented the evidence of the serious violations of Human Rights and the injustice suffered by our family in Guatemala. His affirmations were fully confirmed with the speech of Bill Browder – the famous defender of DD.HH and author of The Magnitsky Law .
Bill Browder presented the numerous evidences before the Commission that the persecution of our family was directed by the Russian government and was carried out through the Russian banks. The CICIG and the MP led by Thelma Aldana lent themselves to the service of the Russian banks. The evidence was so strong that no representative of the CICIG or the MP did not dare to speak out.
The consequences for CICIG were serious. The senators of the USA for the first time have discovered the true image of the CICIG . It was very disappointing to recognize that the CICIG created by the UN and financed in large part by the US and several other democratic countries lent itself to selective and illegal persecution of our family for the Russian criminal state. The corruption of CICIG was evident. Several US senators have issued their public pronouncements towards the CICIG.
The most definite was the statement by Uta State Senator – Michael S. Lee. Senator Michael S. Lee in his statement emphasized : “CICIG should be operating to eradicate real corruption, instead of building or bringing down winners or political losers.” “It has been unfair to the Bitkov. It is unfair to all those who seek a free and prosperous Guatemala. Today I wish that CICIG would never be established. I wish we could have spent all these funds and all this time working on corruption issues, but also on transnational crime. Or in the creation of economic opportunities for both Guatemalans and Americans. Or to strengthen the current government of Guatemala established by the people of Guatemala. “
Texas Senator Marco Rubio has declared. “I am concerned that CICIG, a commission partially funded by the United States, has been manipulated and used by the radical elements and by the Russian campaign against the Bitkov family in Guatemala. CICIG was established by the United Nations and Guatemala to prosecute corruption and human rights abuses, not to participate in it. While I support the idea behind this Commission, it will suspend the release of $ 6 million in funds from US taxpayers until we have clear answers about their role in the mistreatment of the Bitkov family. “
A few days after the hearing, Senator Marco Rubio sent the letter to President Jimmy Morales with the request to support our family and investigate the role of CICIG in our persecution.
On May 5, 2018, US funds destined for CICIG were frozen by the request of several senators. The CICIG tried to divert and confuse the whole world about its role and participation in the persecution against our family. His numerous statements and the publications of the co-opted media did not manage to clean up his destroyed image. It was not possible to sell the false version that captured and condemned the family of migrants, tortured them, put the 3-year-old child into the orphanage – it was something worthy of CICIG’s mandate. CICIG has never been able to explain – Why did they lend impunity to the entire criminal structure of human traffickers? The corruption of the CICIG, the MP judges and prosecutors who participated in this persecution was all too evident.
Unfortunately, neither UN nor other CICIG sponsors at that time were able to accept the reality and make an effort to correct and clean CICIG from the corruption and other vices that invaded this organization for 12 years of its existence without any control. Instead of correcting mistakes, they preferred to close their eyes and accept CICIG’s few and dubious arguments. Iván Velazquez – has shown his foolish and perverse position, when at the end of May 2018, he had to appear before the Helsinki Commission and tried to give the Senators explanations regarding our case behind the closed doors, as he has demanded. Without having any success to defend indefensible, Velazquez began to declare that CICIG is independent of all and must not render accounts to anyone. It seems that this position was not a better option for the sponsors and it did not help him to overcome the crisis. His numerous trips to European countries also did not give him the result he expected. He was always chased by the same question:What happened to the Russian family? It seems that his answers did not convince anyone. Even the most faithful followers of CICIG in Europe and in the US often expressed their disappointment for “The case of the Russians” where CICIG looked more than questionable. Using all their effort, influence peddling and a lot of astuteness, Velázquez and his team have managed to get 3 judges of the CC to contradict the Law and their own resolutions, resolving the complaint filed by the judge – puppet of CICIG – Erica Aifan Then another mockery of the trial was made to condemn me to 5 years of prison. However, this new conviction did not help to Velázquez, CICIG, or his accomplices. On the contrary, the new details were clarified in a new trial – such as the participation in the criminal structure of the persons closest to Velásquez and Aldana, amongst which were the ex-secretary of MP Mayra Veliz and former Minister of Foreign Affairs – Raúl Morales, also during the trial it had came out that CICIG and FECI gave full impunity to the entire criminal structure of human traffickers.
In these days, the president of the Helsinki Commission the Senator of Mississippi – Roger Wicker in his historical speech before the president of the US Donald Trump devoted most of the issue to our case. The Senator pronounced himself among everything: “There is no other better example of this argument (corruption of CICIG) than the persecution initiated by CICIG to the Bitkov family led by the Russian government, for all its many flaws that are numerous, the decision of CICIG to conspire with Russia is more outrageous. ” “US taxpayers who pay the CICIG account have the right to ask Commissioner Velásquez and his CICIG team. Is this way to fight corruption in Guatemala? In short, CICIG under the direction of the commissioner Velázquez went from “fighting corruption” to doing the dirty work of Vladimir Putin, going so far as to persecute corruption victims like the Bitkov. The case of the Bitkov demonstrates how bad and lost this CICIG is “. “CICIG is fulfilling the orders of Putin’s henchmen, acting as the long arm of the Russian dictatorship. The intervention of a bank controlled by the Kremlin shows that influencing CICIG is part of a broad Kremlin campaign to exert pressure across Latin America. “The conclusion of the speech is more than clear : “This is an opportunity for Guatemalans to work their way to justice that the CICIG abandoned in its complicity with the vendetta of Moscow, this should start with the end of the long nightmare of the Bitkov Family . His terrible experience has gone beyond a judicial error and with the CICIG out, Guatemala should do the right thing without further delay or excuse. “
This speech concludes all the enormous disappointment of CICIG’s work in Guatemala on the part of its biggest sponsor – US. Thus the end of CICIG experiment was predestined.
Today, 1 year after the hearing of the Helsinki Commission we can define that this hearing was the historical event, not only for our family but for all of Guatemala. On this day, the process of the liberation of Guatemala from a system of judicial terrorism, formed around the CICIG, was initiated. Taking advantage of its almost absolute power, it became an immense corruption that took Guatemala to a form of dictatorship. There are many victims of this system. Some lost health, others lost their lives, but thanks to the audience of the Helsinki Commission , to the courage and effort of Bill Browder, Christopher Smith, Roger Wicker, Marco Rubio, Rolando Alvarado, Victoria Sandoval and many other people – the world has recognized the truth and the process of recuperation has began.
There is one more lesson from this audience – we have seen that US democracy is able to correct its errors in an effective and immediate way and can adapt quickly learning from mistakes in complicated and variable circumstances. That is why US democracy is an example of global development and leadership.