Michelle Mendoza’s dark family past: corruption and abuse of power scandals

michelle medonza guatemala

Bertha Michelle Mendoza, an ex well-known journalist in Guatemala, comes from a family with a dark history of corruption and scandals, according to an investigation.

Her brother has been accused of corruption on many occasions, while her mother, Claudia Martina Muñoz Andrade, has been accused of abuse of authority and has been prosecuted for her misconduct as a prosecutor.

Investigation reveals acts of corruption, embezzlement of millions and influence peddling in Michelle Mendoza’s family

Claudia Martina Muñoz Andrade, mother of Michelle Mendoza, who served as a prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Mixco, was accused and arrested in 2009 for the crimes of threats, abuse of authority and ideological falsehood.

According to police reports and Public Prosecutor’s Office records, Muñoz Andrade was arrested after it was proven that the then prosecutor had used her position to favor her daughter Bertha Michelle Mendoza.

According to Muñoz Andrade’s statement, in 2006, her daughter Bertha had a “violent and volatile” relationship with Ulysses Dent, with whom she had a one-year-old daughter. Following an incident of violence, Muñoz Andrade denounced Dent, but the evidence presented was later proven to be false.

Later, when Bertha and Dent divorced, former prosecutor Muñoz Andrade allegedly used her position to forge the signature of a prosecutor from the Public Prosecutor’s Office and obtain a certification of Dent’s cédula de vecindad, in order to link him to a process for violence against women. However, in 2015 this case was annulled when it was proven that the evidence was false.

The pattern of corruption in Michelle Mendoza’s family

The investigation reveals a pattern of behavior in Bertha Michelle Mendoza’s family, which has resorted to illegal and corrupt practices to benefit themselves and affect third parties. This dark history calls into question the credibility and integrity of the expert journalist, whose activism has focused precisely on denouncing cases of corruption in Guatemala.

  • Negligence and corruption in the investigation against police murderers

The president of the group OASIS, Jorge Lopez, who since 1996 has denounced the frequent attacks and crimes against transgender and gay people in Guatemala, made multiple complaints against the prosecutor Muñoz for failures in the legal processes she knew about.

López claimed that police killings of sex workers and people of diversity were not being properly investigated and Muñoz was obstructing or hindering prosecutions. According to López’s account, for several years the murders of people of diversity had been reported, who were assaulted and violated by a criminal structure that included PNC agents. However, when these cases reached Muñoz Andrade’s desk, the reports mysteriously disappeared.

In 2009, the last complaint made by Lopez against Michelle Mendoza’s mother reached a hearing. This time it was for negligence in the murder of a transvestite at the hands of police officers and the prosecutor, as in other cases, did not investigate; however, this time, she accused Lopez himself of being the murderer. For this reason, Lopez denounced Muñoz Andrade for selective and illegal persecution against him. In September of that year, the judge who was assigned to the case closed it, but not before strongly criticizing Muñoz and his unethical and unprofessional behavior.

  • PDH accuses Michelle Mendoza’s mother of directing network of police killers

Both Jorge Lopez and Mendoza’s ex-husband, Dent, accused Bertha Michelle’s mother of being part of a police network from her position as prosecutor of the MP for crimes against life, where they carried out illegal persecutions, kidnappings and murders.

In the Ordinary file of the PDH GUA 401-2007/DI of the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office, it is recorded that part of the network of corrupt police to which prosecutor Muñoz Andrade belonged were the ones who murdered three Salvadoran deputies of Parlacen and their driver, in February 2007, in the village of El Jocotillo. 

Three days after the assassination, four policemen were captured, who, according to the PDH report, belonged to the criminal structure of prosecutor Muñoz, which could be verified when Ulysses Dent, ex-partner of Michelle Mendoza, denounced that these same policemen had followed him and intimidated him on orders of Fernando Barillas, then spokesman for President Colom and Mendoza’s boyfriend. According to Dent himself, the persecution against him was due to the divorce proceeding he had filed against Michelle Mendoza. 

  • The Rosenberg case and Michelle Mendoza’s mother

According to information from La Prensa de Honduras, former prosecutor Claudia Martina Muñoz Andrade, mother of Bertha Michelle Mendoza Muñoz, attended the crime scene in the Rosenberg Case. However, she had to ignore the investigation because her daughter Bertha Michelle was in a “sentimental” relationship with the spokesperson of Alvaro Colom’s UNE presidency, Fernándo José Barillas Santa Cruz.

Attorney General Amilcar Velásquez subsequently made the decision to remove prosecutor Muñoz Andrade after the Patriot party revealed the sentimental relationship between her daughter and the spokesperson.

Muñoz Andrade’s abuse of power favoring Bertha Michelle Mendoza

According to Dent, in 2008 Mendoza’s mother gave her a car belonging to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for her daughter to use. She also claims that after the Public Prosecutor’s Office determined that prosecutor Muñoz Andrade presented false evidence in the case of the police officers and against Dent for violence against women, Attorney General Thelma Aldana decided to change her position and transfer her to another prosecutor’s office. Months later, Muñoz’s mother was removed from the Public Prosecutor’s Office on Aldana’s orders in 2010, due to alleged misuse of MP resources and abuse of power.

According to Dent, the case against her was open for more than five years, but was resolved in her favor once Mendoza’s mother was removed from the Public Prosecutor’s Office and lost her contacts. This would have caused Bertha Michelle to lose full custody of her daughter.

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