Global Exchange will be investigating, observing, and reporting on Guatemala’s historic (run-off) presidential elections.
Tune in here for updates and news.
The August 20th election is in the international spotlight because emergent democratic forces represented by the Semilla Movement and their candidate, Bernardo Arévalo, won a run-off spot in the general elections that took place last June and then successfully defended it against trumped-up legal attacks that sought to disqualify their party and close the door on democracy.
Hundreds of observers are expected to be in the country during the election.
Tension between Guatemala’s authoritarian ruling structures and the democratic impulses of its people are nothing new.
In 1944 (during the final days of WWII) Guatemala had a popular uprising that brought Bernardo Arevalo’s father, Juan Jose Arevalo Bermejo out of exile and into the Presidency, where he built a broad consensus, modernized education, established the first ever labor code and created the social security system that still exists today.
When Arévalo’s successor, President Jacobo Arbenz, sought to expand those gains with a land redistribution program he came up against an implacable oligarchy that welcomed the notorious CIA led coup of 1954 that snuffed democracy and led to generations of terror, repression, civil war, and the genocide of Indigenous communities –much of it with the direct or implicit support of the United States.
Things began to improve in Guatemala following the signing of the 1996 Peace Accords, but recent decades have seen an upsurge in criminal violence, environmental destruction, and rampant corruption, while the structures of extreme wealth and enforced poverty continue much the same as in1944
History may or may not be repeating itself as the candidacy of Bernardo Arevalo takes center stage, but there is no doubt the Movimiento Semilla has created high expectations and infectious positive energy throughout Guatemala and Latin America.
Our delegation is being convened by CESJUL, the Bogota, Colombia based legal training and human rights organization. They have assembled a stellar group of journalists, human rights specialists, scholars, and elected officials from Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and the United States.
Our observers will be just that, observers. And they will report on what they see. That’s where you come in. Working closely with [Prensa Comunitaria] the journalists on our team will deliver contextual analysis and up to the minute coverage of this hotly contested event.
For the latest on upcoming pre, during and post election webcasts and live updates please visit our webpage.
¡Viva la democracia!