Army to take control of Customs at Ports

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The President announced yesterday, at the request of the tax collection agency, that the executive branch will be taking over customs at the ports in Guatemala. They say, and it is generally agreed here, that there are a lot of criminal networks smuggling contraband and skipping out on paying import and export duties. This year the government says they have lost over $USD 1 billion, not a small sum. Of course this administration, and Peréz-Molina’s military background hardly inspire a lot of confidence in the process. Yesterday, he specifically left out any details on how the army was going to be running and given the history of repression, it is not particularly reassuring. The army also has a long history of involving itself in business (Cement, Soccer, arms sales). A lot of commentators claim that it is not only unconstitutional but also just an easier way to steal money—cut out the middle man.

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