Escalating mass protest in Guatemala turned celebratory this week as President Otto Pérez Molina resigned, facing charges of criminal conspiracy, fraud and accepting bribes as the ring leader of a customs fraud.
Guatemala’s vibrant civil society deserves this moment of victory after decades of struggle against brutality and impunity. And their success echoes across regional borders, especially in neighboring Honduras where a similar mass movement against corruption is under way.
Nevertheless, the struggle against impunity is far from over. With national elections looming on Sunday, some fear that jubilation could be short-lived.
In this New York Times article, Eric Olsen, who worked alongside Global Exchange in supporting Mexican democracy in the 1990s, explains how elections could, ironically, reinforce the status quo:
“At their finest moment, Guatemalans are faced with this really difficult choice between candidates who may not lead to the kinds of changes that people have been fighting for… It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that a new president may try to impose a new attorney general and return to the status quo.”
This is a key moment; be alert to how we can support Guatemala’s brave and resilient resistance to illegitimate power.
Don’t forget: Global Exchange is currently planning a caravan for peace that will travel through Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States early next spring. Sign up here to receive news about the Caravan.