Iván Velásquez, March 2nd

Iván Velásquez

2018 Right Livelihood Award Laureate
United Nations High Commissioner of the
International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019
At Kresge Town Hall

Keynote Talk, 11:15am | Workshop, 3:30pm

Sponsored by Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation,
Kresge College Common Ground Center, Research Center for the Americas & Legal Studies


Mr. Velásquez is speaking at the UCSC Bioneers Conference. The entire conference is February 28th to March 2nd and is free and open to the public. Click on the registration button above for the detailed conference agenda and parking information, and to register for these sessions or multiple days of the conference. 

Questions? Contact David Shaw at daveshaw@ucsc.edu.


KEYNOTE TALK, MARCH 2, 2019 - 11:15AM

The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) - A Successful Experience in the Fight Against Corruption

Introduction from Fernando Leiva, Associate Professor of Latin American & Latino Studies 

This session aims to present the existing model of international cooperation in Guatemala to support the Attorney General's Office in investigations of high-powered criminal structures. We will talk about its structure, functions, respect for sovereignty and some achievements of CICIG. The issue is topical for Latin America, because the newly elected president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, has confirmed after his election that his country will create an International Commission against Impunity in El Salvador, CICIES. Likewise, the president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, has just announced that he will seek to create an International Commission against Corruption, for which he decided to start conversations immediately with several international organizations.

WORKSHOP, MARCH 2, 2019 - 3:30PM

Fighting Corruption in Guatemala, a Captured State

Moderator: Cecilia M. Rivas, Associate Professor of Latin American & Latino Studies

Based on the concept of "capture of the State" developed more than 20 years ago by the World Bank, that notion, specifically related to the case of Guatemala, will be developed to show the relationship between capture and systemic or structural corruption and the mechanisms to overcome this dysfunctionality of the State.


panel-500w.jpgIn 2018, Iván Velásquez (Columbia) received the Right Livelihood Award, known as ‘the Alternative Nobel Prize’ jointly with Thelma Aldana (Guatemala) "...for their innovative work in exposing abuse of power and prosecuting corruption, thus rebuilding people’s trust in public institutions.”

Iván Velásquez has been at the forefront of one of the most successful anti-corruption efforts seen anywhere in the world. Since 2013, Velásquez has led the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), an Independent body established by an agreement between the Guatemalan government and the UN. Through his leadership, he has spearheaded the campaign to tackle deep-rooted criminal networks and corruption that have plagued Guatemala for decades.

In a country still reeling from the effects of 36 years of internal conflict, Velásquez has demonstrated a historically unique model of joint international and local legal action that sets a benchmark for other countries with similar problems. The cooperation has resulted in several high-profile and sensitive criminal investigations, most notably the La Línea corruption case, which led to 60 prosecutions, including the arrest of then President Otto Pérez Molina and his Vice President Roxanna Baldetti.

Velásquez has played a crucial role in shaping a defining era in Guatemalan history, while also rebuilding trust in public institutions. As a consequence, he has faced sustained resistance and endured great personal risk. His courageous and exemplary work has so far resulted in more than 60 criminal structures identified, more than 310 convictions, and 34 proposed legal reforms.



rla-logo-cmyk.pngThe Right Livelihood Award—widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’—was established in 1980 to honor and support courageous people and organizations offering visionary and exemplary solutions to the root causes of global problems. In addition to presenting the annual award, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation also supports the work of its laureates, particularly those whose lives may be in danger due to the nature of their activities.


rlc-logo-cmyk.pngSanta Cruz Institute for Social Transformation, in collaboration with Kresge College, is the one and only Right Livelihood College Campus in North America. By linking activists and academics, the collaboration highlights UC Santa Cruz's trailblazing leadership in service of people and the planet, and makes vital contributions to the intellectual life of the campus and community. Please contact us to get involved.

Thank you to the Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation, Kresge College Common Ground Center,  Research Center for the Americas, Latin American and Latino Studies, and Legal Studies Department for making this event happen.